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Valatar
Sep 26, 2011

A remarkable example of a pathetic species.


Lipstick Apathy

theironjef posted:

Oh man I was flipping through my copy of that the other day and it was so hilarious how much I had built up the art in my head. There's a Brom piece on the cover, so that's wonderful, but some of the stuff inside... wow. One thing about that book that always intrigued me were the little light-powered aliens that shot beams. They're introduced in a short section near the back, they don't really seem to fit the gothic dark theme, and I have always wondered... what are the odds they're a late addition to the book by the Simbieda? He did always seem to have a need to add a paladin-y obvious good guy in each book (Azverkan, Cosmo-Knight, etc.).

Those light people did always have a slightly tacked-on feel to them, yeah. Of course, then you have the literally cut and pasted section on vampires, so this is Palladium we're talking about after all. I didn't really mind the alien light people though, both because they were fairly disturbing in their own way in that they were hijacking humans and wiping their memories before running around being paladins, and because being a paladinish good guy in a world as hosed up as that one is pretty much a quick ticket to making a new character within five sessions after the armies of hell hunt you down like a dog. Not that anyone is ever exactly safe in Nightspawn, but being a glowing albino 24/7 sort of makes it tricky to keep a low profile while most other characters can shapeshift to pass as human when needed.

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Young Freud
Nov 25, 2006



Evil Mastermind posted:

I admit that I'm trying to be more positive about gaming and not spend time complaining about game bits I don't like (and also that I'm also way behind on Torg), but I am so glad the whole exponential advancement/huge-rear end value charts died out. I wasn't a fan when those were common, I can't stand them now.

I like the exponential systems because the alternative is RIFTS, where you quickly get to a point were if you aren't a superhuman or in powered armor, you're totally hosed. It's not even if you have a slim chance it's that you have no chance. I can't even take a crowbar to a tank's exposed sensors and damage them because of the way the game works.

Even game systems like R. Talsorian's Interlock, if you get someone who has over +10 points on a roll, you can't touch them. In fact, you might as well not even try to do Very Difficult (25) or Impossible (30) tasks if you're have 5 in attribute and +5 in skill because you'll never hit those numbers.

At least with exponential systems, you have a chance, even if it's a slim one, and that's the important factor. You always want PCs to hold out for the golden BB or the lucky shot.

Pththya-lyi
Nov 8, 2009

THUNDERDOME LOSER 2020

Savage Worlds has a Merits/Flaws system, with Disadvantages you can take at character creation. Some (like Outsider or Elderly) impose mechanical penalties, while others (like Cautious or Quirk) are basically a free benny-earning mechanism - all you have to do is roleplay your flaw! Quirk is especially bad because it can describe one of an infinite number of annoying habits; it can easily reward you for being obnoxious if the GM is too permissive.

Valatar
Sep 26, 2011

A remarkable example of a pathetic species.


Lipstick Apathy

Pththya-lyi posted:

Savage Worlds has a Merits/Flaws system, with Disadvantages you can take at character creation. Some (like Outsider or Elderly) impose mechanical penalties, while others (like Cautious or Quirk) are basically a free benny-earning mechanism - all you have to do is roleplay your flaw! Quirk is especially bad because it can describe one of an infinite number of annoying habits; it can easily reward you for being obnoxious if the GM is too permissive.

In general I prefer the 'get experience if you inflict the flaw on yourself' flaw system over the kind that gives you points at character creation for disadvantages that will likely be conveniently forgotten within a month. The GM needs to be firm to prevent a more spergy player from picking a flaw that will become tedious for everyone, but aside from that it incentivizes players to be the ones who bring up their characters' flaws rather than relying on a GM to remember to inflict it on the character. NWoD's flaw system works that way, and is one of the things that I feel make it mechanically superior to OWoD.

Young Freud
Nov 25, 2006



Valatar posted:

In general I prefer the 'get experience if you inflict the flaw on yourself' flaw system over the kind that gives you points at character creation for disadvantages that will likely be conveniently forgotten within a month. The GM needs to be firm to prevent a more spergy player from picking a flaw that will become tedious for everyone, but aside from that it incentivizes players to be the ones who bring up their characters' flaws rather than relying on a GM to remember to inflict it on the character. NWoD's flaw system works that way, and is one of the things that I feel make it mechanically superior to OWoD.

Yeah, I remembering reading something like that for FATE and how you could use them to power other traits and thought it was the greatest thing to do replicate traits like addictions and compulsions. I've been thinking about that for my cyberpunk heartbreaker, so if you to be able to use reflex booster to give you extra actions in combat, you got to do a line of coke off a hooker's back in the bathroom stall of a club before getting into the big firefight with the Yakuza. Maybe give bonuses to drugs that can only be gotten by burning those points, so if you want to be a human wrecking ball on PCP or some future combat drug, you can, but it'll cost you maybe more than it costs to invoke the flaw.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


Rifts Conversion Book 2: Pantheons of the Megaverse: Part Three: "Demigods are more human since they are frequently part human and usually have been raised within human (or D-Bee) society as a normal human."

The Rifts Priest
An Optional O.C.C.



I know it’s in the class depiction, but you can’t start with a Sword of Atlantis. Sorry!

So, priests are godly go-betweens, and usually just worship one god, though they tend to respect the whole pantheon they serve under. And they have special godly rules to follow!

It notes that mostly "the designer" (i.e. Siembieda) has deliberately left religion vague. It points out that most people of Lazlo, the Coalition States, and the New German Republic are effectively deists; they believe in an all-powerful, non-interventionist god. It notes that the Coalition States also have a lot of atheists... that certainly believe in "gods", but as malevolent supernatural entities instead of targets of worship. On the flip side, wilderness communities and the 'burbs are often breeding grounds for cults (often for false gods), witch hunts (with real priests as the targets), and general paranoia.

Clerical Knowledge & Abilities

Priests cast spells like a mystic, which is to say they can't learn or purchase spells, but get them as they level up from their god. They also get special powers from their god, but if they don't, they can get several or all of the abilities below:
  • Exorcism: A crummy ability; it takes 1d6 hours to exorcise somebody, and has a chance of success equal to 7% per level. Compare with the Exorcism psionic power, which takes 30 minutes, has a base chance of 28% + 7% per level, which any human character can obtain as a basic psionic power.
  • Healing Touch: Restores 1d8 S.D.C. or 1d4 M.D.C. every 30 seconds. Crummy in a fight, fantastic in noncombat, since it has no cost and you can fullheal people forever if you have enough time.
  • Remove Curse: This is another ritual that takes 1d6 hours. It's kind of weird that the time is random; it's a ritual, after all. One would think the priest would have it practiced. Even if they have to loop the same chant over and over... how do they know when it's done? Anyway, this has the same crappy 7% per level chance, and you can only do it once per curse, but since the Remove Curse spell is so expensive and this is "free", at least it's an alternative. After 5th level, it even starts to get more reliable than the spell.
  • Resurrection: This says it’s the only resurrection ability in Rifts, but I wouldn't bank on it. You have to be 5th level, and it has a 10% chance + 3% per level beyond that. Yes, that means it never goes beyond a 40% chance of success, and you only get one chance per corpse per priest. I suppose it beats nothin', but not by much.
  • Turn Dead: This lets you turn away animated dead, mummies, and ghouls. Apparently vampires, ghosts, and spectres can be kept at bay for "one or two melee rounds". Wow, way to be definitive when a priest's life is on the line!... your chance is only 20% + 5% per level beyond the first.
  • Prayer of Strength: This gives you bonuses against fear, stronger spells, bonuses on turn dead and exorcism, and a bunch of crummy other bonuses. Well, at least this gives a bonus on that crappy exorcism!... if you make the 20% + 7% chance per level of it working! So roll the percentile to see if you a bonus on your other percentile... :v:
  • Prayer of Communion: A 21% + 7% per level chance of gaining a 60% chance that you'll get an omen of good or bad luck or whatever. My head hurts. Isn't that more like a 14% + 4% chance? Math!
  • Prayer of Intervention: Gives you a choice of A) cast any spell your god knows with bonus levels (crappy chance, but at no cost, it's potentially entirely broken as an ability), B) can create a magic scroll of any spell known to your god, or C) supercharge your healing touch (if you have it, I guess?). Chances are pretty dodgy at low levels.
  • Miracles: These are direct appeals to your god that can grant you various powers like "Miracle of Luck" (big save and defense bonuses) or "Supernatural Strength" (what it says). Then there are Great Miracles, which can do any of your previous priest stuff at double power, create weather and earthquakes, heal the crippled or negate illnesses, and dispelling any magical effect or rift. The chance of getting a miracle off is abysmal - it starts at around 3%-24% and maxes out at 44%.
Whew! Unfortunately, that brings me to the first problem with the Priest class - they have no listing for the amount of P.P.E. they get, which means normally they'd default to 2d6 P.P.E. - and so barely be able to cast any spells above 1st or 2nd level. The errata gives us a higher amount, though it's not nearly as good as proper spellcasters.

The big issue is that the Priest is hapless at low levels - often only having 7% - 21% chance of success on a lot of powers, but by 10th or 11th level, they bust the game, their Prayer of Intervention allows them to cast any spell their patron (or patrons, depending on how you interpret the rules) can cast for free. For example, an 11th level Priest of Enki can cast any spell of any level, including spells of legend, or any water warlock spell... at 97% accuracy and with a zero P.P.E. cost. The errata does a lot of handwringing about how the god will punish them for throwing around too much magic, but never defines how much is too much. Balance by pass-agg GM nonsense, essentially. This book was frequently criticized for giving us the godling class, but the priest is potentially far more abusive at mid to high levels, only held in check by NPC finger-wagging.

But to wrap this up - priests are also super-good at dancing, languages, and math, and get at average spread of skills otherwise. Their equipment list is pretty sparse compared to most other classes, but there's nothing really missing. Also it says they avoid cybernetic implants, but I'm not sure why - if your powers come from a god and not yourself, why not stick a railgun in your butt?

Gods as Player Characters

So we're coming around to the demigod and godling classes, but not before a lot of handwringing and cautionary words first. It points out these are weaker than your usual gods, so it shouldn't be a big issue... but... it also suggests the possibility of an all-god game, where everybody plays gods or demigods. Wait, Rifts is actually suggesting a campaign structure? Unpossible!

Still, here's all the suggestions given to dork with players who dare to play with gods:
  • Gods can still get stomped by overwhelming force, and major factions will still roll them.
  • They're likely to have enemies looking to strike them down as soon as they show weakness, or aid any of the god's other enemies.
  • Gods in general don't fight to the death, and PC gods that do so are "not playing in character" (exact quote) and could get destroyed.
  • A god that fucks with mortal too often could get punished by their pantheon... or a vengeful band of angry mortals.
  • "As a being of great power, the character has great responsibilities toward others." It points out that gods should be active in being good guys (it assumes you're playing a good guy) but have to do so subtly lest they be mobbed by the needy or angry.
  • Gods are likely to get the attention and rivalry of other similarly powerful assholes who might preemptively gently caress with them.
  • It also suggests being extra hardassed in enforcing alignment strictures and shifts, though honestly since alignment doesn't affect much, who gives a poo poo?
Well. It ends in reassuring us we can have fun with playing gods, and as long as that works out, that's all that matters. See, it’s okay after all! As long as you fuckin' ride those powergamers.

On to the gods!


Worst part of being a god: the traditional pantheonic hairstyles.

The Godling R.C.C.
An Optional Player Character


It notes that godlings will be flavored by their pantheons, and will have big egos. They're also likely to be self-supremacists and consider most beings beneath them. Congratulations: you've chosen the Divine Jerk O.C.C.!

They get bonuses to all attributes, most notably strength, endurance, beauty, and speed. For those dreaming of having the thousands of M.D.C. possessed by NPC gods, well, gently caress you. Godlings start with an average of 200 M.D.C. (less than most dragon hatchlings) and ramp up to an average of around 675 M.D.C. by 15th level. At most, they'd have around 900 M.D.C., but that's an extreme one in twenty billion chance. That's not an exaggeration; I did the math.

What else do you get? Well, you get a crappy Horror Factor, for one. A godling can also see the invisible, takes half effect from poisons and drugs, nightvision, bonuses against magic and fear, and slow regeneration (about 1 M.D.C. every 4 seconds). They also get three of the following powers:
  • Turn invisible and see the invisible - so see double the invisible, then?
  • Energy Blast that starts at 1d6 and ramps up to a whopping 7d6. There are rifles that do more damage than that, and don't require you to be 14th level to do so. Crrrap.
  • Energy Aura that gives you 20 M.D.C. per level, three times a day. So yeah, you can get your force field knocked down and just instantly regenerate it. The better defensive power.
  • Super-Strong: Really does make you super-strong. Much better than blasts if you really want to deal damage, but you have to get in hugging range.
  • Super-Tough: Gives you an average of 78 M.D.C., about as much as putting on a decent suit of armor. Energy Aura is better by 2nd level, though I guess you could stack them to be the God of Taking Modestly More Damage.
  • Shape Shifter: Lets you turn into one "normal" animal for a few hours every day. You can take this twice to turn into any "normal" animal.
  • Impervious: You can be invulnerable to cold, fire, lightning, energy, poison/disease, mind control, or possession. Hint: take energy, since that's laser / plasma / ion / particle (over half the crap used by any high-tech foes).
  • Super-Swift: A tiny bonus to Physical Prowess and a big bonus to speed. Not nearly enough to outpace high-tech vehicles, though, and only really worth it if you're somehow maximizing your Dodge / Parry bonuses.
  • Super-Psionic Powers: A poo poo-ton of lesser psionic powers or all of one category of psionics plus some super psionic powers. Or just be a Burster!
  • Magic Powers: Lets you get all the magic powers of one magic class. Yes, you can take it twice to get double magic powers.
  • Fly: Fly a few hours every day, but SAMAS units will outrace and outgun you. Pass.
What you really want are the super-psionic and magic powers. This is where the Godling starts to break the game, and the only way it really does - classes like dragons or faeries already do most of the above things. About the only other thing that’s really worthwhile is Impervious to Energy, and that’s only presuming you want to skip casting the spell Impervious to Fuckin’ Energy every time you need it. But no other class so far can be a Burster / Ley Line Walker / Warlock, and be able to cast all the things. The godling isn't potent because of its attributes, M.D.C., or natural powers, but mostly on account of the fact it can seize the motherlode of supernatural power, only really rivaled by corner-cases like the phoenixi (Rifts World Book 4: Africa) who get mastery of an entire class of magic. Why take Fly, when you can cast the fly spell? Why take Energy Blast when you can cast
call lightning? What use is Super-Speed when you can cast superhuman speed or teleport?

Otherwise, gods are really good at math and weapons, and get an average spread of other skills. They also get a suit of armor with random M.D.C. (30-120), a lesser rune weapon (which sounds nice but isn’t really going to impress). You can also be between 5' and 20' tall, depending on how hard a time you want shopping for clothes.

Overall, the godling is either comparable to most other supernatural characters (like dragons or gargoyles), unless they're a dedicated spellcaster, in which case they rule all spellcasting forever and really do turn out to be overpowered! If you want to be a warrior god, well, sucks to be you, unless you war with magic.

The Demigod R.C.C.
An Optional Player Character


Demigods are like gods, only more human! Thanks, Rifts. Thanks. It also notes that demigods usually have one extra power similar to that of their godly parent. It's not entirely clear, but it's implied that power is chosen from the godling list.

Demigod attributes are mainly high for affinity, strength, beauty, and speed. Their M.D.C. is around 50-90 or so, with 7 extra per level, and they get some bonus P.P.E. and I.S.P. Their horror factor is one less than a godling, they take less damage from fire or cold, have the same regeneration, and minor bonuses against magic, psionics, fear, and comas. They get to choose one of the godling powers, and the choice ones to take are either full spellcasting or super psionics, in about that order. You can easily be a temporal wizard / shifter, glitter boy / techno-wizard, priest / ley line walker, etc.

The big deal of playing a demigod is that you can still choose an O.C.C. as long as it isn't one of the human augmentation ones - no borg, juicer, crazy, or robot demigods. Why? Well, none of that stuff works on them. But they can still be Glitter Boy pilots or Priests, so it’s not like it’s for balance’s sake. It also restricts some Heroes Unlimited classes, so no deal if you want to play a demigod aardvark or demigod robot. Now that I mention it, that’s rather disappointing. :( The big deal, for people wanting to break the game, is that it explicitly allows most of the Heroes Unlimited character types. So you can be a demigod mutant superhero that is also a wizard, or a demigod experimental superhero that is , and basically get super awesome powers that punch balance in the face and throw it off a cliff. Then those powers leap off the cliff and buttslam balance in the face! I don’t have time to explain the Heroes Unlimited conversions and how they work out, save to say that they don’t work out in the slightest.

It ends by noting they can become partial borgs, contradicting the paragraph just above it, but says they don't go in for surgery because they're suspicious of it!... because people want their godly juices, apparently? It also notes that normal mortals can be uplifted to become demigods or godlings, but how does this happen?

:iiam:

Oh, and godlings don't even take the most XP to level of the classes in this book - that goes to "Supernatural Minions", apparently to be detailed later.

The Godling and Demigod classes make up the most controversial portion of this book, but it’s a bit of a red herring, since there are a few really powerful classes later on, but tucked away in the portions of the book less likely to earn notice.

Next: Lousy excuses for blood sacrifice.

Alien Rope Burn fucked around with this message at 15:56 on Apr 2, 2014

theironjef
Aug 11, 2009

The archmage of unexpected stinks.



For some reason our GM always maintained that the single power a Demigod is supposed to get is drawn from the underlined powers that gods have later in the book, which was hilariously imbalanced. I assume this is because we had a first printing, since I don't think I've ever seen that list of Godling powers before.

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

Let your word be "Yes, Yes" or "No, No"; anything more than this comes from the evil one.



Introduction

The book itself opens with a foreword from Brian Herbert, a few paragraphs of him fondly recalling his father’s voracious need to write, his vivid descriptions of his ideas for the books, and his mother’s suggestions. He also takes the opportunity to plug his upcoming Dune sequels. gently caress him.

Moving on, the designer’s opening notes state outright that they expect you’re either a Dune fan looking forward to experiencing it as a roleplaying game, or a roleplaying fan looking forward to experiencing Dune. After the obligatory “what is a roleplaying game” section, it gets right to the business of telling you what kind of characters you’ll play, and what you will do. The PC party is called the “House Entourage,” and that’s not just pomposity a la Immortal or Everlasting. The expectation is that the PCs will be playing the members and advisors of a minor House, and grow in power and prestige. The book is also blunt about telling us that while playing Paul & the Gang and recreating scenes from the books is possible, we’ll have more fun telling our own stories. They must have finished this part before they did all that fancy market research! They even promise us that in addition to Bene Gesserit and other emblematic roles detailed in the corebook, future supplements will support playing characters like spice smugglers and water merchants. Hoo, boy.






Space hippies! Space pharaohs! Space cotton plantation owners! None of these books were ever published.

Dune uses the Icon system, the same rules as LUG’s Star Trek roleplaying game. It’s a d6-based system designed to be “simple, elegant, and easy-to-use” but “open-ended and flexible.” Colville thought it was “not very gamist” and “awful.” We’ll see. The bit of advice for the Narrator is good--rules provide structure, but you’re going to have to use your own judgment, because no one is playing a Dune game so they can spend all night looking up rules.

I guess it’s time to end this chapter but oh look, the Icon Link!



Innovative, and very late-90s. The chapter wraps up with a brief glossary of setting and game terms.

Next time on Dune: A shorter history than the one in the back of the novel.

BerkerkLurk
Jul 22, 2001

I could never sleep my way to the top 'cause my alarm clock always wakes me right up

Alien Rope Burn posted:

[*]Resurrection: This says it’s the only resurrection ability in Rifts, but I wouldn't bank on it. You have to be 5th level, and it has a 10% chance + 3% per level beyond that. Yes, that means it never goes beyond a 40% chance of success, and you only get one chance per corpse per priest. I suppose it beats nothin', but not by much.
Good instincts: off of the top of my head Air Warlocks from the Conversion Book get the Breath Of Life spell.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


theironjef posted:

I assume this is because we had a first printing, since I don't think I've ever seen that list of Godling powers before.

It's in my first printing copy.

BerkerkLurk posted:

Good instincts: off of the top of my head Air Warlocks from the Conversion Book get the Breath Of Life spell.

You can always bank on Rifts not keeping track of past mechanics. Or mechanics in general, really.

occamsnailfile
Nov 4, 2007



zamtrios so lonely

Grimey Drawer

Alien Rope Burn posted:

It's in my first printing copy.


You can always bank on Rifts not keeping track of past mechanics. Or mechanics in general, really.

Carella actually referenced several of the previous book mechanics in the later writeups, like, all over the place even--often without citations because obviously you have the whole line. Also because Palladium layout leaves little space for vital info. There were several points where stats on a magic weapon or other details were obviously truncated to one sentence to avoid overflow while they just rambled on and on in others. Thanks "editing god."

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


Yeah, I would "bank" on it. but you won't always win that bet if Siembieda isn't involved.

Also, I just looked and the Priest O.C.C. is mainly just a text-trimmed version of the Palladium Role-Playing Game class by the same name, which explains all the lovely percentile mechanics it's loaded with.

Hulk Smash!
Jul 14, 2004




Time for some obscure French game up in this joint!

Empire Galactique or Galactic Empire is a granddaddy of French RPG. It was originally published in 1984 with a second edition in 1987. The second edition – the one reviewed here – came in pocket book format of all things. One book for the players and another for the GM with several pocket book sized supplements and adventures later on. The whole line is a mish-mash of styles, from space-opera, to Dune, Ringworld and the Foundation series. Almost all the illustrations in the book are done by one guy by the name of Manchu and are what initially drew me to it. I had no idea who Manchu was but I dug his style back then. Kind of a cross between John Byrne and a poor man’s Moebius.

I remember finding this in a used book store as a teenager. It was buried in the trashy sci-fi section of a bargain bin and I bought it for $1. The problem was that what I bought was the GM guide and, no matter how many times I went back to that store, I could never find the player’s guide (which has character creation rules), so I never played it. I have tracked down the books I was missing since then though. I still never played it and this is frankly the first time I'm actually reading through it in an effort to understand the rules.

Introduction



The book opens with a bit of in-character action. The Adventurer Jason McCord (there’s a lot of names that I’m sure sounded cool to the French author back then, like Lili Remora, Aloysius Van Eflin and Sugar) is in a bind, he’s making his way through an alien jungle with a band of like-minded individuals and things are not going as planned, having been misled by his employer. Jason then reflects that the person he should be mad at is himself, or rather the person playing him for agreeing to play in this RPG (what a twist!). This is how the book eases into the then standard “what the hell in a role-playing game anyway?”

The explanation is pretty standard and then it goes into what is needed to play the game:

  • From 4 to 10 people
  • At least 3 hours’ time
  • Unplug the phone (because you don’t let real life distract you when playing for your life)
  • Some drinks and snacks
  • Maps, minis, space-music, general ambiance stuff
  • A bunch of d6
  • Character sheets
  • It notes that some people show up in costume but that it’s not necessary. However the GM may want to wear a mask to present the proper impartial face…

Off to a good start!

Next time: Character Creation


Pictured: The 6 character archetypes available.

Tasoth
Dec 12, 2011


One of those archetypes looks like Soviet peasant superhero and the other looks like proto-Midnighter. I'm already digging it from the art alone.

Mr. Maltose
Feb 16, 2011

The Guffless Girlverine


I like the dude in stripey Moebius pants. Hopefully there's more Giraud lookin' stuff in the book.

Hulk Smash!
Jul 14, 2004



Tasoth posted:

One of those archetypes looks like Soviet peasant superhero and the other looks like proto-Midnighter. I'm already digging it from the art alone.

Haha. Well, you're nowhere near the mark unfortunately :)



Character Creation

Galactic Empire has 6 stats. Each stat is represented as an icon that doesn’t do much besides add a visual component to it. The 6 main stats are:

Charm Charisma, magnetism, presence, etc.

Endurance How tough you are.

Intelligence Smarts.

Strength Physical prowess.

Will Force of will, also used for PSI talents later.

Agility Dexterity, agility, coordination, etc.

To generate stats the player rolls 6d6 + 30 and distributes the points among the stats. No stat can be lower than 2 or higher than 12. 7 being average. Completely non politically correct, the game gives the example of a 2 intelligence as being like “a retarded person who can barely count on his fingers.”

quote:

Example: We roll 6d6 + 30 and get a total of 51 points to distribute. This would give us an average of around 8/9 per stat which isn’t bad at all.

The next step listed is to generate the 8 derived attributes. These are the average of 3 of the main stats. The derived attributes are:

Beauty Physical appearance

Intuition Knowing when something’s not quite right

Mental Resistance Mental health, resistance to stress, The total of the 3 stats (not the average) is HP for verbal conflict, sanity. If it reaches 0, you become an NPC

Physical Resistance Being able to handle pain, damage. The total of the 3 stats (not the average) is the HP of the PC.

Reflexes Reaction speed.

Stealth Moving silently or unseen.

Adaptability Being able to adapt, melt with the crowd, etc.

Perception The 5 senses. Roll to hear a whisper or see at night, etc.

quote:

An average dude with 7 in Endurance, Agility and Strength would have a 7 physical resistance stat and a total of 21 HP.

Choosing a career

Annoyingly, the book only now talks about the available career archetypes. The problem is that you need at least a 7 in the stat associated with the career to apply for it and you might have spread your stats differently had you known at the start. Not a huge deal but this is the first mention of that stat requirement.

As mentioned in the previous post, there are 6 available career archetypes. They are numbered 1-6 and that number becomes important down the line. Choosing a career is important as it will influence which skills you have access to later on. Each career has a set list of skills that they have access to and when you go to school for that career you get a chance to learn about a random skill available to it. More on that in a bit.

The 6 careers are:


1. Adventurer

Adventurers are jack-of-all-trades. They are the only career that can learn a skill from any other career’s skill list. The downside is that they can die during the course of their career’s school year. Yep, you can die in character creation in this RPG.

The adventurer’s primary stat is Endurance


2. Priests

Priests are basically space-wizard. They are prohibited from using any weapon; they start weak but get stronger as they are the only class that can learn both the Telekinesis and Telepathy PSI powers.

The Priest’s primary stat is Will


3. Soldier

Soldiers are, well, soldiers. They are the master of melee and range combat.

The Soldier’s primary stat is Strength


4. Merchant

Merchants are smooth talkers, con artists, smugglers and such. Wearing the latest fashions, they are the group’s mouthpiece and are always looking to make a deal.

The Merchant’s primary stat is Charm


5. Navyborg

Navyborgs (cyborg navigators) are manipulators. They like to play behind the scenes, can remote control robotic devices and are more machine than man :wookie: The Navybog guild controls interstellar navigation.

The Navyborg’s primary stat is Agility


6. Tekno

Teknos are inventors, mechanics, mad scientists and Macgyver rolled into one. The book points out that the archetypical Tekno is this guy:


The Tekno’s primary stat is Intelligence

Career Schools

Career school is where you get your skills. Every career skill starts at 0. To go through a school year and find out which skill you may have a chance to improve, follow this process:

Entrance Exam
  • Your age is 18 at the start
  • Roll 2d6 and multiply the results by your career’s primary stat.
  • If the result is above 2xAge, you are admitted to the school (this is the entrance exam)
  • If the result is equal or lower, you are not admitted to this school and add 1 year to your age. You can reapply next year to this or a different school (using that new school’s primary stat if you do)

quote:

If you’re trying to get into Tekno school at 18, you’d roll 2d6 * INT and hope that the result is greater than 36. If not, you’d now be 19 and can try again or try for a different school like Navyborg where you’d then roll 2d6 * AGI instead but your target number would now be 38
Once you’re admitted to a school:

Learning Skills
  • Roll 1d6 (let’s say you roll a 3) and look up your career’s number (e.g. 4 for Merchant)
  • You can now try to learn either skill numbered 34 or 43
  • Roll 3d6 and add them. If the result is lower than your career’s main stat, you gain +1 to the chosen skill. If it’s above, you lost that year and learned nothing. If it’s equal, you gain +2 to the chosen skill
  • Repeat for 3 more years (4 years of school total)

quote:

Each skill has a 2 digit number associated with it. For example, every skill that has the number 5 in it can be learned by Navyborg. The skill 55 (Robotic Combat) can only be learned by Navyborg (and Adventurer but we’ll get to that after).

So if our would be Tekno rolled a 3 he then would have a choice to try and learn either 36 Strategy (also available to career 3. Soldier) or 63 Mechanic (also available to a soldier)

Promotion Exam

Once you’ve done 4 consecutive years at a given school, there is a promotion exam. There are six ranks for each school (only the 1st 3 are available in this book). To go from rank 0 to 1 a PC must have at least 3 skills of the school above 0. To go from rank 1 to 2 they need 6 and from rank 2 to 3 they need 9.

If the player fails to meet the requirements for a promotion, they must try to re-enroll in the school using the entrance exam rules above – using their current age of course. Note that if a player chooses to they can apply to different schools over character creation and thus get a rank in multiple careers. Players are only allowed to start adventuring once they have successfully achieved at least rank 1 in one school.

There are no rules for when they must stop trying and actually get out of school beyond the fact that 1. They can’t reach higher than rank 3 in a school and 2. Starting at 50, there are aging rules which lower your stats.

quote:

Once our Tekno has at least 3 school skills at above 0, they are promoted to rank 1 – Apprentice. At 6 skills they would then be rank 2 – Repairman and rank 3 – Technician at 9 skills. The other 3 ranks are: 4 – Engineer, 5 – Designer and 6 – Architect. Soldiers get more conventional ranks like Lieutenant, Captain and Commander

What if I’m playing an Adventurer?

Adventurers are a bit of a special case. They learn the hard way, on the streets and spaceports. To find out which skills an Adventurer gets to try and learn, roll 2d6. The two numbers will then give which skills he got to choose from that year.

quote:

An Adventurer rolls a 2 and a 4. He would then get to choose from the normally Priest and Merchant reserved skills of 24 Disguise or 42 Alien Language (choice)

Adventurers don’t have ranks so instead, every 4 years, they roll 2d6 * Strength. If the result is higher than his current age, he’s good to go. If he rolls lower than his current age, he dies. This is the only class that can die during character creation.


Shooty laser

Next time: Skills & Combat Resolution and Experience

InfiniteJesters
Jan 26, 2012



REVVIN' UP THE ENGINE

LISTEN TO HER HOWLIN' ROAR

METAL UNDER TENSION

BEGGIN' YOU TO TOUCH AND GO

HIIIGHWAAAY TOOO THEEE DANGER ZONE

RIIIDE IIIINTOOOO THEEEE DANGER ZOOOOONE

Forums Barber
Jan 5, 2011


I'm so old I legitimately remember being in the middle of a HERO System game, that song coming on the radio, and one of the players wishing that, man, we should have hit record on the boombox, that song was AWESOME for a combat scene!

French Traveler looks interesting so far.

Hulk Smash!
Jul 14, 2004





Skill Test Resolution

This is a roll under system. Difficulty levels are (1 to 5)d6 rolled under Stat + Skill Level. Each skill has 3 possible stats tied to it. There’s a bit of an early narrative system where the player has to choose one of the three stats to use to accomplish an action.

quote:

For example: The skill Mechanic has Agility, Strength and Will listed as possible stats to use when making a check. When, say, fixing an engine you could say that you’ll use Strength to just hammer the thing into place, use Agility to fix the root cause of the issue by dismantling and rebuilding the engine or use Will to make proper repairs, knowing you will have to service the engine later.

To resolve an action in Galactic Empire, the player and the GM first have to figure out a few things.
1. The GM first has to define if the action is Easy, Normal or Hard.
2. The player has to decide which of the 3 stats for the skill he will use. This will define if the player:
  • Wants vague or temporary results or is taking his time
  • Wants normal results, takes the normal amount of time
  • Wants detailed or permanent results or wants to take less than usual time to complete the action


You then cross reference the difficulty on the table below to find the number of d6 needed to roll under the stat + skill level target number.





Some resolutions are made by rolling under either a straight stat or derived stat. This is always the same by rolling 2d6 against the stat/derived stat. The GM can modify the stat by up to +10//-10 to reflect difficulty.

quote:

the PC is trying to sneak through a guarded area. The GM rules that it’s dark enough that there are no modifiers. The PC then would roll 2d6 and try to roll under his Stealth derived stat


Unskilled use


If the player does not have a skill, he can still attempt it but as if he had a skill value of -3. If he succeeds, the skill value is then -2. Another success to -1 and so on. Once it reaches an actual value of 0 the skill stops increasing this way and only goes up with normal experience rules (below).


Combat Resolution


initiative


Even though initiative has to be taken into account, there is no initiative roll. The game mentions that initiative is solely up to the GMs discretion.


The GM is to take into account things like: are the PCs surprised? Do they trust their would-be opponent? Who has the higher ground? Are the players into the story? Have the players been contrarian (according to the GM) during the game? Yes? Too bad, rear end in a top hat, you just lost initiative. :psyduck:



A fearsome alien with a space-sword

Melee Combat


1. The first step is for the player to decide if he is Attacking (Strength), Riposting (Agility) or Parrying (Endurance)

2. Then the player decides if he’s aiming low, high or middle

3. Next he decides if he wants to attack to be Vague, Normal or Precise.

This will give the number of d6 to roll under stat+skill using the same table as above (just replace easy with low, normal with middle and difficult with high).

Damage is then calculated by looking up a table. The gist of it is that the more dice you roll and the closer you get to your target number without going over, the more damage you do. Damage points are mitigated by armour (if any) and are subtracted from Physical Resistance.

quote:

If a PC is using a club and does a high and precise attack (5d6) and rolls a 13 against his target number of, say, 14, he would then do 7 points of damage.

When riposting both opponents would roll their respective d6 and both apply the results (e.g. both could connect and inflict damage, only one or both miss). Parrying is an opposed check; the attacker has to succeed by a wider margin than the defender otherwise the attack is parried.


Pew-Pew guns.

Range Combat

This one is easy as it’s a straight up skill check against range combat skills. Damage is dependent on number of d6 rolled, same as melee combat.

Verbal Combat

The rules are the same as melee combat except that low, middle and high are replaced with friendly, neutral and hostile respectively. They represent the attitude of the target towards the verbal attacker. This system is used to resolve things like: bargaining for prices, lying convincingly, or dealing a sick burn.

The stat to use for verbal combat depends on the type of thing the PC is trying to accomplish. You would use Charm when seducing or cajoling a target, Will when challenging their faith in something and Intelligence when appealing to logic. Damage is resolved like any other combat but the “damage” points are taken away from Mental Resistance. When that reaches 0, the target is convinced of the argument, switches sides, or is shocked and mentally weakened.

Experience

Each time that a player succeeds in using a skill where he had to use 3, 4 or 5 d6, he writes 3, 4 or 5 (depending on the number of d6 used) next to the skill. At the end of the session, the player can choose to either:

Rolls the number d6 written down against the following: current level of the skill + the highest of the 3 possible stats associated with it. If he rolls above that value, the skill goes up by 1. Note that even if a skill has more than one number written next to it, only one increase is allowed. Extra numbers just mean extra attempts at increase.

Use those rolls in the same way but a success instead increases the number of destiny points he has by 1. What are destiny points? We have to read on to find that out.

Destiny Points

Each player start the game with a number of destiny points equal to the sum of his 6 primary stats. Destiny points can be used in the following way:

At any time, a player may replace the target number for a skill check by a number of destiny points of his choosing. Even for a skill for which he has no ranks in. It doesn’t say but I guess that, in theory, that would mean that anyone could be Telekinetic for a bit by spending destiny points…



Next time: PSI powers, Technology Levels and World Creation.

hectorgrey
Oct 14, 2011


That looks far cooler than any 1980's RPG has any right to be. That being said, I was very surprised by the D&D Rules Compendium too, to be fair...

occamsnailfile
Nov 4, 2007



zamtrios so lonely

Grimey Drawer

Rifts Conversion Book 2: Pantheons of the Megaverse: Part 4: The Aztec religion is often perceived as a bloodthirsty, cruel faith.

I knew this was my part but somehow I thought ARB's last post about lousy excuses for blood sacrifice were about Rifts PPE rituals. Which it wasn't. It's about this. The first of our pantheons.

So, we have the Aztecs. We got some of the Mayan stuff in Vampire Kingdoms but they were underpowered wimps compared to REAL GODS as presented now. Hell, the 15,000 MDC Celtic powerhouses in England were nothing compared to what we’re going to get. Uh, spoiler warning.

I actually like the Aztec/Mayan/other central American myth cycle, though I haven’t read it deeply in a while. Human sacrifice did happen, and :spergin: it was a complicated thing that we still don’t fully understand--obviously Christian missionaries were horrified by and exaggerated the practice while they went about enslaving and slaughtering native populations en masse, but it clearly did actually happen. The why is another matter; there’s the stated religious reason, which is to keep the sun from going out, and the practical reasons, which we just don’t know--it seemed at the least to be a way to cull excess warrior populations in an empire that had grown about as far as it could grow and which had a hereditary caste system so a warrior would breed more little warriors all wanting to war on stuff.

But that part isn’t really important. This is Rifts. There will be human sacrifice and it will be because the god in question is Miscreant or Diabolic alignment. It’s simple math, that is how alignment works.

Also if one wants to read a mystery set in England about a stolen Aztec mummy, I recommend A Scattering of Jades by Alex Irvine.

One may recall that Rifts has a thing about pyramids being mystically significant and the Aztecs sure did build them some pyramids. The Atlanteans taught them how of course, and were betrayed and murdered for their trouble.

The Mayans and Vampires have apparently successfully repelled attempts to retake the Yucatan region from the Aztec gods which--really, while it would take a few minutes for them to whittle one down, these guys could whip the poo poo out of several Mayans or Vampire Intelligences and perhaps it’s only the dimensional teleporting in and out that would make it too annoying to do. The Aztec gods are willing to accept the Vampire Kingdoms as tributaries but the VIs haven’t compared MDC numbers and realized that is their best choice yet. Also they actually view the Splugorth as a threat rather than potential allies, how refreshing. Despite the time of magic ending well before even the rise of the Aztec empire, they’re also mad at the Spanish. This is actually a bit of an issue with several of these pantheons, in that they came into existence or persisted long after the stated period in the setting in which beings of great magic could exist on Earth.


i unno, it’s a pretty good Breaux piece though

So, here we go, the actual god writeups. I will probably summarize heavily as a lot of these stat blocks can be assumed to include “has all sensitive and physical powers plus bio-regeneration of several MDC per second, plus all Wilderness skills at 98%” and similar crap. I’ll just comment on the overall and especially noteworthy stuff.

Tezcatlipoca

God of the night, war and magic. Bloodthirsty rear end in a top hat whose wrath had to be averted with sacrifice rather than the kind of god you pray to for granting wishes. Expelled Quetzalcoatl from the Aztec pantheon in myth, you’ve probably heard those (kind of apocryphal) stories about the Aztecs thinking Cortez was Q returning. Wants to conquer back all his stuff. Diabolic, 63,000 MDC at maximum but apparently only 12,600 to start with on Rifts Earth until he gets worshippers. Did he just leave a bunch of other people to not suffer without him somewhere else? Where did he spend his time? Also he has a Spd of 63 which is high but mostly just really specific--why does he need to be able to run exactly 43 mph? Like all gods he has a bunch of dumb class levels, 15th level ‘warrior’ (not a Rifts class), 12th level line walker and stone master. Half damage from ‘energy’ attacks so hey, if you didn’t pick Glitter Boy you’re 50% more screwed than usual.

He also has some specific special powers: transform into a human, jaguar, or bearman. Not a jaguarman as pictured above. The ‘power of corruption’ makes people save against a 19 or better or basically Limit Break in totally party-ruining ways. He’s vulnerable to silver and Millennium Tree weapons (good thing those don’t grow in the Americas) and can otherwise be damaged normally for as long as it takes for your arms to literally snap off from rolling dice over and over before wearing out his MDC. Oh, his full strength punch (one attack) does 6D6 MD. He has a bunch of spells and psi-powers as we should pretty much expect. It says he can rift in an army of 2,000 to 4,000 werejaguars and thousands of other monsters and such as minions, so I don’t know what his deal is with wanting Earth so much.

Also he has two artifact items: The Mirror Shield which has the power of knowing what is in a person’s mind, used for corrupting people. Also, he has “Tezcatlipoca’s sword” which is “actually a club with obsidian blades on the sides.” Palladium has games that happily list hundreds of swords and guns with illustrations, is it that hard to use the word “macuahuitl?” Anyway it does 2D6x10 which is better than the crappy punch but still will take a while to destroy anything near his own scale.

As the embodiment of the night, the deceiver, tester and smoking mirror who must be placated, I think Tezcatlipoca is interesting. As a villain (setting aside stat absurdity) he could be the kind of rear end in a top hat who screws with the PCs because he can, to test them, to try and expand his might--or tries to set them against his enemies for similar reasons. All this overwhelming bloodthirst just sort of drains out any interesting nuance from him though since he ultimately just seems to want to kill everything which would eventually include all his own worshippers.


Tlaloc


me-yow

Fearsome god of rain, bringer of both beneficial crop rain but also killing floods, lightning and disease. A lot of storm gods are kind of shifty and mercurial, which is sensible one supposes, but that given with the Siembiedan tendency to drench everything in blood means that he is a cruel godchild who delights in tormenting mortals with the ill effects of the weather--basically you, being a dick in Populous with the flood power. He was happy when Queztlcoatl got driven off, as that left him as primary rainmaker.

Okay, here it specifies what he did once mortals stopped paying attention to him: stayed near the Earth, invisible and watching from the clouds. He’d deliberately divert dangerous storms over former Aztec lands to torment the people who “abandoned” him, you know, by being brutally conquered. His rain powers are pretty pivotal in the whole quest to conquer and enslave the Vampire Kingdoms. He’s only Miscreant though. He just does this for giggles.

36,000 total MDC, 7,200 base. Has some pretty impressive weather control abilities though most of his storms only last 3D6 minutes (?!). He also has a ‘breath of sickness’ power that requires a 17 or higher save versus magic to avoid a “wasting, painful disease.” This ailment costs 1d6 hit points per day and halves melee and combat bonuses and specifically affects even supernatural creatures like dragons that are normally listed as immune to disease. I suppose that environmentally sealed armor is no protection from Tlaloc-germs either. The text makes no mention of a cure but I imagine this would provide a use for some of those many different dumb disease-curing herbs from England. You know. If you brought those. He can also shoot lightning bolts. Honestly that disease-breath is pure gently caress-you, and he can do it six times a day. He also lacks Tezcatlipoca’s vulnerability to silver and Millennium weapons.

Huitzlipochtli

Here we have a god of war and the sun versus our previous god of war and the night. He is ‘not as cruel’ as the other two but still demands human sacrifices. He manages this while being Anarchist alignment. He likes war, will tell you about his weapons collection and such. He was even sad when the Aztecs all got conquered, but he isn’t burning with a vengeance to get it back--he feels their time on Earth is done, and they should move on. However, he’ll stay with his buddies and be loyal because that is what an Anarchist being would do. Also he’s a sun god and so kind of a huge threat to the Vampire Intelligences as well.


he seems to be missing a third or so of his torso

MDC 30,000 tops, which is kinda wimpy for a war god in this book. He hates guns and high tech weapons because the cool kids use swords. Also a 15th level ‘warrior’ again. He can radiate day-bright sunlight out to 300ft, causing 1d6x10 damage to vampires and other beings that suffer light penalties, and he can also focus these light powers at-will as lasers but disdains this as cowardly ranged weapon usage because he is an idiot who follows around a rapacious blood cult out of unquestioned family loyalty or something. Oh, and he has a magic snake club that does boom gun damage without ammo limits and can also shoot fire out to 1000ft but this apparently does not trigger his myopia or whatever makes him hate guns so much. :rolleyes:

Next: The like, one nice member of this group.

Quinn2win
Nov 9, 2011

Foolish child of man...
After reading all this,
do you still not understand?




Worldbook 3: Domains and Regents

Fair warning: A side box near the start of this chapter cautions that this is a huge amount of more or less unnecesary information about Tenra government and politics. Like hell if that's going to stop me from covering it, though.



A domain is the largest cohesive unit of territory in Tenra, containing multiple clans ruled by a single regent. True regents are those rulers acknowledged formally by the Priesthood, and are granted the title of Tsukasa, which becomes part of their name. If Shimeki Masataka becomes the formal regent of Iiba, then his name becomes Shinmeki Iiba-no-Tsukasa Masataka.

Except that there are two Priesthoods, both of them considering the other to be illegitimate, so no matter who you are, somebody doesn't recognize your rule.

Anyway, a domain is divided into fiefdoms, each of which is ruled by a vassal lord. You become a vassal lord by impressing your regent with your loyalty and prowess enough that he grants you some land and a title (same naming scheme as a regent, but Kami instead of Tsukasa). Vassal lords can have a great deal of power, but their position is precarious, with their underlings constantly plotting to overthrow them and claim their territory.



Regents and vassal lords are both served by legions of retainers, who serve their masters in exchange for favors of money, treasure or land. There are a number of official types of retainers:

  • Senior Elders (Shukurou/Karou): Experienced advisors and top administrative officials.
  • Lesser Elders (Chuurou/Wakarou): Experienced aides who aren't quite as awesome as the senior elders.
  • Scribes (Yuuhitsu): Secretaries and record-takers directly serving lords.
  • Ministers (Bugyou): Subordinates in charge of specific spheres of influence - temples and shrines, accounting, specific cities.
  • Watchers (Metsuke): Informants who keep an eye out for corruption or treason.
  • Minor Officials (Shoyaku): Chumps who probably think they have more power than they actually do.
  • Regional Authorities (Gundai/Daikan): Officials in charge of large swaths of rural territory.

Retainers who lose their positions, either due to espionage or the loss of their domain, often become ronin, wandering the land as hired swords. At least one member of a party will probably be one of these.


Here's a statblock for one of the retainers of the aforemetioned Shinmeki Iiba-no-tsukasa Masataka.

In addition to retainers, regents also get vassals! I am a little unclear on how these are different from retainers, but they get their own list:

  • Chief Vassals (Koushuu): Direct subordinates of the regent. Close friends and trusted advisors.
  • Clan Vassals (Ichimon): Blood relatives of the regent, who will inherit the domain if the regent dies.
  • Hereditary Vassals (Fudai): Leaders of powerful warrior families. Usually get their own castles at strategic locations.
  • Outsiders (Gaiyou): Vassals whose land was absorbed into the domain. Less loyal than hereditary vassals, and given less power accordingly.
  • Military Vassals (Gun'ekishuu): Part-time vassals conscripted in times of war. Losers, mostly.
  • Intermediary Vassals (Chuugen): Peasants.
  • Small Vassals (Komono): Even worse peasants.

Despite all the things I said, the class system doesn't have as much hold as it used to. Tenra is under miltary control, so a lot of influence comes from your personal strength. If someone calls you a dirty peasant, and you cut them in half with your bare hand, then that's probably a vaid counter-argument.

Capitals

The capital of a domain represents the domain's heart and soul. Each regent tries to make their capital bigger, grander, more elegant, more defensible than their neighbors in a massive international dick-waving contest. To this end, they employ Geomancers, who are practicitioners of a specialized branch of onmyoujutsu dedicated to the MYSTICAL ARTS OF URBAN PLANNING to bring out the latent potential of the city.


Urban planning wizards are a commonly-accepted phenomenon in Tenra Bansho Zero.

In your typical capital, most of the inhabitants are commoners of various professions, their homes segregated accordingly. As these cities grow, they attract all sorts of legitimate immigrants - and with them come drunken gamblers, lawless drifters, and yakuza. The term "yakuza" here actually just means "someone who doesn't pay taxes and isn't on the official registry", but some of them do set up the sort of crime syndicates more associated with the term in the real world. Despite al these problems, a lot of farmers will give up their farming life to try and make it big in the capital - enough that some lords periodically round up former farmers and ship them back to their farms by force.

The Country

Out in the farmland is about 80% of Tenra's population. A domain's wealth is estimated in produced koku, a measurement of the amount of rice a person eats in one year. More koku, larger supportable popoulation, larger military. Accordingly, farmers are surprisingly high on the social ladder, just below warriors.

Which is not to say that it's fun to be a farmer. Taxes on crops are severe, the work is grueling, and constant trials beset even the most fortunate farms. The farming communities deal with the hardships of the lifestyle with periodic massive festivals of drinking, feasting and carousing.

Farming villages are run by landowners, who rent plots of land out to farmers in exchange for collecting taxes from them and delivering those taxes to the local lord. A successful landlord can potentially also be running a small military force by conscripting his farmers into an army, but this is rare - in the event of a war, the landowners themselves make up most of the lowest ranks of the domain's military force. If a landowner isn't able to fight for their lord, then they have to make up the deficit financially, meaning even steeper taxes.

Every now and then, the peasantry gets fed up with this way of life and revolts. Sometimes several villages will band together and try to rise up against their regent directly, demanding concessions such as reduced taxes. More often than not, this results in even harsher taxes on the offending villages to serve as an example to others.

Travel



Tenra has a good, healthy road system, which is part of the reason for its strong network of transportation and communication. The major roads connecting major cities are generally pretty safe, but the further you get from the main thoroughfares, the more dangerous it gets. Bandits plague the less-traveled parts of the land, and pirates raid merchant ships in popular sea-lanes.

Wandering drifters are not uncommon in Tenra, but they aren't well regarded, either. Common folk look on them with scorn, and regents tend to see them as dangerous, unpredictable murder-hobos. Being a wanderer can accordingly be difficult, but it also means you don't pay taxes or have obligations to local lords - the trials of the lifestyle are weighed against the freedom it grants.

Major highways connect most of the biggest domains in Tenra, although the Phantom Star resulted in a lot of damage to some of the older ones. Also, between domains there are border checkpoints, where only people with special travel passes can go through. There are standard travel passes given out by local governments, temple passes issued by certain religious sects, and Heaven Passes given out by the Priesthood that allow absolute free movement within Tenra.

Again, though, there are two Priesthoods, so there will always be someone who doesn't think your pass is legitimate.

NEXT: The Karma System.

InfiniteJesters
Jan 26, 2012


ProfessorProf posted:


Despite all the things I said, the class system doesn't have as much hold as it used to. Tenra is under miltary control, so a lot of influence comes from your personal strength. If someone calls you a dirty peasant, and you cut them in half with your bare hand, then that's probably a vaid counter-argument.


Imagine how BAR TABS are settled in Tenra. :v:

oriongates
Mar 14, 2013

Validate Me!






Vox Part 3: Nox

Now onto the GM section. Now if you thought that things were confusing before...


Forward

The mood for this section is set by an "in-character" sidebar written by a doctor examining the disorder known as Vox, which has become widespread and epidemic. The note indicates it's around 2020-30 or so and Vox started affecting about 1% of the population (a hell of a lot of people really) and this grew by 1% every 17 years, first being notice roughly 40 years ago. Although Vox is apparently not conclusively blamed for this governments have collapsed and billions of people have died since this doctor has been investigating the phenomena.

This seems to be document from the future of the "Oversight" setting which we'll cover later.

Admin Handbook

The chapter begins by letting us know the general philosophy of the game's mysteries: "the truth is out there"...but you won't get to find it. Essentially the "truth" of Voices and reality is not going to be established and should be hinted at to the players but it should not be revealed.

Then we zoom out and the cosmology gets...explained?

Apparently at the beginning of time there was a singular, omnipresent entity: The One. For reasons no one is capable of knowing the One decided to divide itself. Half of the One splintered into Chaos, each bit dividing further and further.

The second half remained intact and was Order, the Demiurge. A single, sentient entity that seems to be the closest thing to a "god" in the universe.

It is immensely unclear whether the "universe" as we know it is an aspect of the fractured half or the Demiurge. Both are stated to have become "reality" but neither is defined beyond the vaguest terms.

:confused: :confused:

There are two groups who each have beliefs about the One, namely whether the division was an act of creation or an attempted suicide. Who these groups are, whether they're human or otherwise, and where they got this information from is not defined.

Both groups however have noticed that the bits of the splintered half occasionally "come together" and rejoin, becoming closer to the original entity in the process.

The Demiurge is very "territorial", it does not want to divide or become less than it currently is and will do whatever it takes to ensure this doesn't happen. The Demiurge knows that if any entity becomes strong enough to challenge it then it would basically be the end of the universe. So it makes sure that the bits of chaos don't accumulate and grow bigger or badder.

For the history of the universe humanity has been kept in the dark by the Demiurge and those who serve it, with the Truth kept hidden from them.

However, throughout its history humanity has discovered some kind of link to the Truth, often in the form of Voices. This frightens the Demiurge who always makes sure that such prophets or visionaries are "taken down" by the rest of humanity.

Now theology really starts to go through the wringer...

Now, apparently the legend of the tower of Babel was sort of right, but not quite. It was a project mean to be a "gate to God" or the path to becoming gods. The text refers to genesis and the words of the serpent who claims that God is afraid that humanity will eat of the tree of knowledge and will become like god, knowing the Truth. Oh and the tree, it was Yggdrasil, the tree that leads to the heavens.

Essentially it is an event where humanity became closer to Godhood, before the Demiurge managed to break them apart, divide them and weaken them again. It has happened many times throughout history and each time the Demiurge has defeated them.

Here we get a pretty clear statement as to what Voices are. They are not imaginary (well, there's that mystery gone), but they are also not gods or aliens or ghosts. They're part of the Persona's own mind, trying to reestablish contact with itself and connect and merge once more.

Meanwhile the Demiurge uses its agents to try and undermine those who hear Voices, convincing them that what they hear isn't real, or just kill them.

Now, that's actually fairly clear...except that this "backstory" isn't actually mentioned in any of Vox's four Settings. Perhaps this a fifth, default setting? Or maybe its some kind of truth behind each of the four settings. It's unclear.

:psyboom:

-----------------------------------

Apotheosis

The Demiurge background continues here. Each of the PCs contains a little "spark" of the original One, and if they manage to "integrate" and rejoin with that spark they may be able to to it again. As more and more sparks, or Voices are merged you become something more than human.

PCs are Apoths (I've got to say, that's a terrible name), people mean to change the way things are, and possibly lead humanity to a new stage of being. Which is of course exactly what the Demiurge doesn't want and the universe will attempt to discredit or destroy Apoths.

Apoths typically appear when something needs fixing or repairing, often starting or ending wars or revolutions. The text seems to imply that the Demiurge might allow them around when it needs things changed briefly, only to eliminate them before things can change too much.

By the way, I'm sparing you a lot of college-roomate philosophizing. Let me give you a taste of stuff I'm trimming:

quote:

Who's to say that it wouldn't be good to have an Apoth live on, changing minds, awakening the whole world to a new reality, casting down old beliefs, and raising all existence up into open warfar against the universe itself, tearing down all that is in order to see what lies beyond the veil? Unity consciousness, all for one and one for all, forever and ever. Well, lots of people would probably say that wasn't good. Because once you pull back the curtain, rip the tablecloth out from under the dishes, there's no going back. isn't it safer to keep your hands inside the car at all times? To color inside the lines? To keep your mind shut?


So basically, the Demiurge is the Man and the Man is keeping you down, dude. :350:

Oh, and apparently Apoths are also called aeonites, because apparently the first things Chaos splintered into were called Aeons.

Apoths tend to be polymaths and are usually very broadly skilled (definitely not the case for a starting PC, but perhaps this is meant to change over time). But basically an Apoth can do anything the GM decides is appropriate for them to do. Perhaps they can take Qualities that let them see the future, tell truth from lies, etc.

Each time the PCs manage to Merge with a Voice one of the Voices Core Qualities becomes part of the PCs (as an Average [0] Quality). Whenever this happens there is a 1 in 6 chance of a Surge, giving you a new Quality in addition to the Quality that you've absorbed from the Voice. A short table (3d6) is provided with possible Surge Qualities. Presumably these new Qualities are also Average [0], it's not stated.

Most of these Qualities are psychic abilities (clairvoyance, clairaudience, dowsing, empathy, precognition, psychometry), some are just exceptional or unusual human traits (photographic memory, musical prodigy, intuition, speed reading, and synaesthesia).

The game does mention that in order to avoid an over-abundance of Qualities eventually the players should "fuse" multiple Qualities together to produce a single Quality with a larger penumbra.

Finally there's a smaller table of extremely supernatural Qualities the GM might hand out if he decides he wants something less subtle. This is things like TK, invisibility, levitation, teleportation, resurrection, etc.

----------------------------------------

Karma Chameleons

Here we get even more bizarre philosophy and cosmology, as well as plenty of new vocabulary words.

Did you know the passing of a soul to another body is called Metempsychosis? Also, because you are breathing the same air molecules breathed by Socrates it's not unbelievable that thought, memory and personality work the same way!

Reality and time is cyclical, like an etch-a-sketch. The same material is used to create new things over and over again only to be dissolved and rendered back into raw nothingness and the whole thing starts again, unless you know the Truth!

Ignorance is what chains you to Maya, the illusion of reality (just insert "man" after everything I say and you'll know how this all sounds in my head).

Next we're told about how time is real, but perception is reality and reality is illusion and did you know that if you take LSD time can seem meaningless and in near death experiences you can relive your life in a single moment?

Also there's polydimensional time where you have always already "done" and "been" everything and everwhere you will ever do or be. But you can't perceive this except on the quantum level of your thoughts where your synapses will occasionally "align" with states that they "will" occupy in the "future" (quotation marks are the book's).

Basically it's talking about deja-vu, which players can trigger via spending Karma Dice. The GM rolls 2d6 and consults a chart.

2: Jamais Vu You have the experience of encountering something familiar yet feeling as though it is unknown or new.
3-4: Deja Senti This is where you have no idea what will happen or be said, but you "feel" you've seen it before. Basically what most people know as deja-vu.
5-7: Deja Vu For the next few seconds you know what will happen or be said, but of course you can change it by saying or doing something different.
8-9Deja Vecu This is the feeling that an experience is familiar, but more distant than deja vu, as though some other person has lived through the experience, sort of like a past life memory.
10-11 Deja Visite You feel like a new place is familiar, and may find your way around without a problem.
12 Cryptomnesia This is the feeling that what is happening now has never happened before but it is in fact something that has happened before (such as writing a song someone else has already exactly written).

Now, to be clear, this is the only explanation for the events given. It is never made clear what exactly the benefit of Deja Vu is meant to be, why players would want to spend Karma on it and how the GM is meant to come up with the "future" off the top of their heads.

We've got more :words: about Synchronicity (where you spend Karma for helpful coincidences) which mostly amounts to talking about how weird coincidences can totally happen in real life and Jung said blah blah blah blah. It's a bit too dense to be interesting and too :fap: to actually be useful.

Did you know on August 8th, 2008 a baby named Eden was born at 8:08 AM who weighed 8 pounds and 8 ounces (man).

Also more vocabulary words: Apophenia (the experience of seeing patterns in random data) and Pareidolia (seeing faces in inanimate objects such as household objects or clouds).

-------------------------------------------------------

Finding Yourself

This is basically a chapter introducing you to the concepts of Jungian psychology and how completely relevant it is to the game.

This is basically about how to integrate your Voices with your Persona, seeing them as Complexes that block the path to Individuation and Anima and Shadow and Syzygsdug paaaah!

I'm sorry, but this section is really really dense and every other word is capitalized.

We're also presented with Tarot-style Archetypes which, in Vox Tradition, are renamed for no apparent reason. For instance the Hierophant is the Praeceptor, the High Priestess is Antistia, the charioteer is an Agitator, The Strength is Fortitudo (and is also called the Strongman).

-----------------------------------------------------------

Legion

This is the "adversaries" Chapter. It includes rules for Minions (identical of S7S) and different ranks of "power" for opponents (the highest of whom may have Voices of their own).

Archons are those who knowingl serve the Demiurge. They are aware of the Truth and seek to prevent anyone else from learning of it. They don't actually know what the Truth is, just that it exists and something similar to the Demiurge exists. Some Archons think they're serving the creator of the world, others know the world is an illusion but it's best illusion you can hope for.

There are several hundred Archons and they operate in pairs. Archons have all had Voices which they have viciously purged, often leaving them with several extra Qualities. They also get a huge 10 Karma Dice every session, in addition to the GM's dice. Basically their main power is that the universe is literally on their side.

Orders are essentially conspiracies that run things from the shadows trying to discover or hide the Truth.

There are two main ones: Lux Aeterna and Nuit

Lux Aeterna is the more "positive" of the two. They're goals are to protect the ignorant (but keep them ignorant). If the ignorant learn the truth they're to be guided towards awareness and learning the importance of unity and obedience. The needs of the many, etc.

Basically they're all about small sacrifices for the greater good. They might ever-so-slowly ready the masses for the Truth but until then, ignorance is their best protection.

Their leader is called "The Man" and he looks like the Colonel of KFC fame.


Like their counterpart, Nuit believes in keeping humanity ignorant. However, they feel it's better that the masses never learn of the Truth. Rather than providing incremental knowledge or leading those who stumble onto it they seek to cloud any discoveries and, if necessary, eliminate anyone who learns of the Truth. Voice especially are to be purged.

Neither Order specifically serves the Demiurge, although both may have secret Archons among their ranks.

-------------------------------------

Next We've got the four "settings" for Vox, and the best part of the book.

Hulk Smash!
Jul 14, 2004





PSI Powers

Using PSI powers is the province of Priests (and lucky Adventurers) in Galactic Empire. There are three powers available, they all have different effects depending on the player’s skill rank and they are mostly very vague in what they actually can do.

Using PSI powers works by rolling a number of d6 against a target number of Will+Skill rank. Each use of a power drains 1 point of Will per single use/minute of usage. So it gets harder and harder to succeed the more you use PSI. Will is regained fully after a good night’s sleep.

Telekinesis

Each skill rank (1 through 6) allows progressively heavier object manipulation and for longer durations. Attempting higher ranked manipulation will require rolling more d6 against the TN. The base rule is that the player must see the object he is moving. After that it uses this list of what can be done by rank:
  • Rank 1: 1 minute, 10g, 3d6
  • Rank 2: 2 minutes, 100g, 3d6
  • Rank 3: 3 minutes, 1kg, 4d6
  • Rank 4: 4 minutes, 10kg, 4d6
  • Rank 5: 5 minutes, 100kg, 5d6
  • Rank 6: 6 minutes, Self, 5d6
So at rank 6 you can fly/levitate at walking speed for up to 6 minutes.

Telepathy

Telepathy powers also have 6 skill ranks and variable d6 to roll depending on what you’re doing. The ranks are:
  • Rank 1: Mental Shield (3d6) Shield you mind from other telepaths of rank 4 or lower.
  • Rank 2: Empathy (3d6) Feel emotions, if someone’s lying, if you’re being watched.
  • Rank 3: Read Thoughts (4d6). Read surface thoughts from others.
  • Rank 4: Probe Mind (4d6) Read thoughts and also talk via mindlink to others.
  • Rank 5: Mind Control (5d6) Make someone do anything as long as it doesn’t endanger their lives.
  • Rank 6: Mental Assault (5d6) Take complete control over someone else’s body.

Awareness

Awareness allows a PSI user to have some control over their bodies. Again, 6 ranks with different effects/d6 to roll:
  • Rank 1: Thermal Control (3d6) Ignore heat/cold from + to – 50 Celsius.
  • Rank 2: Recuperate (3d6) Heal shock (non-lethal) 4 times faster than normal
  • Rank 3: Suspended Animation (4d6) Enter a sleep-like trance with no need to breathe, eat or drink for a number of days equal to his STR score
  • Rank 4: Regenerate (4d6) Heal trauma in hours instead of days and days instead of weeks
  • Rank 5: Superendurance (5d6) When rolling against Endurance you may add your Will score to the TN
  • Rank 6: Superstrength (5d6) When rolling against Strength you may add your Will score to the TN.

And that’s it for PSI rules. Keep in mind that Priests cannot carry weapons so they’ll have to rely on these powers for attack and defense.

Technology Levels


Tech level 4 shuttle.

There are 6 recognized technology levels across the Empire. The region it spans is so vast that it has many worlds for each tech level. The Empire itself (and its capital world) is considered tech level 6, the highest possible. Below is a brief description of each tech levels as well as examples of what one might expect to find to use for melee weapons, ranged weapons, transportation, communication, armor and computers (my favourite bit).

Tech Level 1: Stone Age

The most primitive cultures, tools are barely modified versions of what can be found naturally and myths and superstitions still rule society.

Melee Weapon: A stick
Ranged Weapon: A rock
Transportation: A pack animal
Communication: A torch
Armor: Animal furs/leathers
Computers: Your fingers

Tech Level 2: Pre-Industrial Age

Roughly the equivalent of the ancient world to the medieval era.

Melee Weapon: A sword
Ranged Weapon: A bow
Transportation: Horse, chariot, sail
Communication: A mirror, oil lamp, writing
Armor: Metal armor
Computers: Abacus

Tech Level 3: Industrial Era

About from the Renaissance to WWII in our-world terms.

Melee Weapon: Sword, knife, bayonet
Ranged Weapon: Pistol, Rifle
Transportation: Cars, boats, trains, planes
Communication: Radio, Phone
Armor: Bullet proof vest
Computers: Pocket calculator

Tech Level 4: Interplanetary Travel Age

This is from roughly now (well, 1987 I suppose) to the near future. Travel among the solar system is feasible and common place.

Melee Weapon: Stun Gun
Ranged Weapon: Laser Rifle
Transportation: Glider (below), space shuttles, jets
Communication: Solar-system ranged transmitter
Armor: Armored exo-suit
Computers: “This computer is vehicle based or in a large room and is much too big and heavy to carry around by one person, weighing 30kg or more” :allears:


Glider

Tech Level 5: Interstellar Travel Era

Travelling to other solar systems is common place as is colonizing worlds.

Melee Weapon: Stunner
Ranged Weapon: Paralyzer (the first gun picture in post 1)
Transportation: Bubble
Communication: Interstellar communication
Armor: Antilaser suit
Computers: “This tech level’s computer is much more powerful than the one from tech level 4. It fits in a suitcase or similar sized container and can be plugged-in anywhere. It only weighs 5kg” :allears:

Tech Level 6: Intergalactic Travel Era

Travelling across the known galaxy is common place.

Melee Weapon: “Karatapoigne” which roughly translates to “Karate fist”. It’s a bracelet that creates shockwaves in the target’s body when you hit.
Ranged Weapon: Antigrav gun (creates different gravities within the target’s body which is… messy).
Transportation: Antigrav Bubble (below)
Communication: Intergalactic communication
Armor: Force fields
Computers: As good as a tech level 5 computer but the size of a pack of cigarettes.


Antigrav bubble

next time: Generating Worlds and space travel

occamsnailfile
Nov 4, 2007



zamtrios so lonely

Grimey Drawer

Rifts Conversion Book 2: Pantheons of the Megaverse: Part 5: Feathered Santa is coming to town!

Quetzalcoatl the Rebel


he’s like a kindly grandpa...if your grandpa had washboard abs and was really, really into feathers

Quetzalcoatl was an elder Kukulcan dragon that ascended to godhood...okay, sure, anything can happen in the wild world of Rifts. It just leaves us with more questions about what ‘gods’ are exactly, we know they need worship to get fully-powered but...eh. Anyway, Big Q was air and rain and medicine and art and science and agriculture and astrology. Man, learn to delegate. “He only ever demanded the sacrifice of plants,” also hummingbirds and butterflies and also lots of holiday sacrifices involving him and other gods used humans, just not on the scale of the others.

While Quetzalcoatl was busy being such a good guy and teaching humanity so much neat stuff, he completely failed to notice how this was breeding resentment in the seething blood-drinkers around him. Tezcatlipoca used his magic of corruption on Quetzalcoatl and made him go all drunk-mad, and when he woke up he walked of shame right on out of creation, taking Xolotl with him, promising to return.

He came back twice, once during the 17th century, finding the enslaved remnants of the Aztecs. Supposedly he and Tezcatlipoca fought, and T was badly injured and had to flee. This was of course during the period when magic very nearly didn’t exist on Earth. Q left again after this and wandered the dimensions, meeting many other deities and beings and generally being a tourist until he found out that Tezcatlipoca & crew are trying to carve their way back into Earth. :(

Quetzalcoatl is that rare good-aligned being that is actually stronger than his evilest counterpart. Of course, he’s outnumbered, but he has 70K MDC at his peak, tons of magic and healing powers, levels that have no meaning in Rifts XP charts, and no special artifact weapons or powers with limited saves. Tezcatlipoca has about a 40% chance of succeeding with his Corruption magic and can try it twice a day, so Q may spend a lot of time with the rosaries. On the upside, the bad guys don’t know he’s in town and they’re trying to eat/dominate some other bad guys first.

Xolotl


feathered lassie

Xolotl here is symbol of magic and magicians. Wikipedia says he was a symbol of fire and death. Eh, caster supremacy rite? He and Quetzalcoatl are said to be brothers, but this is just a ‘brotherhood of spirit’ since Q is actually an ascended dragon. They like to go on adventures together but can end up causing more problems than they solve since stuff like beating up Mictla lead to Asmodeus gaining control of Hades. This is a revision of the story in Conversion book one, where ‘Modeus’ and Mictla were fighting over ‘Hades’ since apparently all the demonic underworlds are one place and Mictla conceded. Asmodeus, as statted there, is very MDC-heavy (90,000) but lacks the enormous bags of tricks of later gods and is vulnerable to sunlight and silver basically all weird stuff Rifts PCs will start carrying around--he just has d-teleport escape hatch of course. :doh:

But enough about him! On to magical dog-god. He is Quetzalcoatl’s loyal companion who scouts ahead and is fascinated by dog-boys and other such creations of the the gene-splicers, who coulda thunk it, people who look like him? (except for the multiple canine races on Palladium world of course) So he thinks they’d be good worshippers and maybe wants to liberate them all PETA-style to make him a cult. :stare:

Comparatively, he’s a weakling, with 13,000 MDC. Aztecs must not have had much use for their magicians. No real magical abilities of note, just knows “all spells” from level 1-15 at 14th level. They at least gave Q Temporal magic, let a magic dog know some elemental spells maybe? Not that these statblocks aren’t overcomplex already.

Xipe Totec

Oh boy, the God of Flaying, this guy won’t be a one-note villain for sure! Let’s see...yes, this is the ‘kill you and wear your skin like a coat for fertility’ god. Evil, sadistic, likes to think up new and cruel ways to demand sacrifice in order to gain his blessings. He apparently has possession powers that he likes to use to drive people to do crimes. And not just getting sushi without paying.

He stayed on Earth while everyone else left and created secret sacrifice cults to sustain himself, providing fodder for Beyond the Supernatural characters for centuries. “Some rumors suggest he may even have influenced Adolf Hitler.” :smug: During the time of Rifts he was able to shield some enclaves of his followers and now they’re quietly active in various southwestern and even Mexican areas, often recruiting various destructive monsters.

He’s listed at 30K MDC, starting at ‘6,000 on Rifts Earth’ despite already being established and having a cult network. Oh well. Has the power to make land in 1000 mile radius either fertile or infertile--it doesn’t say for how long--but that it can be countered by water and air magic or other fertilities. Knows the usual crapload of spells and has a magic knife that is for sacrificing but can do 6d6+6 MD.


this is the picture they put in for ‘guy in a cloak of human skin’

Xochiquetzal

Goddess of Beauty, goddess of flowers and love, has been married to both Tlaloc and Tezcatlipoca, but secretly loves Queztalcoatl who is her son in the myth cycle. I mean I know they’re doing that ascended dragon thing but c’mon. Treated like and object and not a person and not happy about it. Currently married to Tezcatlipoca but secretly hates him and Tlaloc both and is trying to sabotage their plans with the Vampires. Of course, with her 6,000 MDC 10th level line walker powers she might not make much headway. She doesn’t even have any psionics. C’mon guys, she needs at least that hide-aura one so she can avoid sense lies. I mean aside from level and general MDC overage it’s entirely possible for PCs to be more powerful than she is.


i am waiting for that stupid song from Pocahontas to break out

Cihuacoatl

Earth Goddess, Mother of the gods. Earth and fertility. Cruel bitch, like most Aztec deities in this book. Apparently she was terrible because she would eat the corpses of the dead in order to create new life and this lead to later sacrifice rituals. In general she doesn’t do much with humans, lets her kids do that. She’s wandered around the Megaverse and taken over a dimension of Nagas and can call up a big army of those, and she got into a fight with Herakles who decided a two-headed snake woman had to be a monster and attacked. Inconclusive battle but now she hates all the Greeks and has been quietly gathering intel and planning to attack them.


snake people apparently judge godhood by number of snakes rather than size

She will also aid Tezcatlipoca in taking over Mexico but really she thinks the Splugorth are the real friends she wants and she visits Atlantis all the time. According to “malicious rumors,” she and Lord Splynncryth have become “more than friends.” No it actually says that. :suicide:

That said, she’s weaker than Tezcatlipoca with 50K MDC and only has a hypnotic gaze with a -4 to push opponents into passive stillness until they get attacked. She can also summon snakes, and presumably gate in her fabled naga legion. She can also summon earth elementals at will, and can summon 4,000 naga warriors ‘at one time’, which I don’t know if that’s ‘can just gate them in from wherever while they were in the middle of shaving or something’ or ‘can open a rift for readied forces’. Fortunately for something, they’re primitives without guns. They appear to be statted in the Indian pantheon section so we’ll leave that for the future. :allears:

Tlazoteotl

Goddess of Sin. Oh this is sure to be a mature and reasoned examination. “Eater of Impurity,” her priests absolved men who committed impure acts. So get-out-of-adultery-free cards for all. Wait though, here’s her Rifts characterization: “She is a perverted creature who loved to see the terrible crimes mortals committed when driven by passion.” :sigh: She likes to arrange twisted series of events, creating soap operas out of peoples’ lives to see the emotional fallout. Because ladies are all about their storeys amirite? She is a deceiver and temptress and not a stereotypical evil temptress or anything, and she stayed on Earth being a secret sex agent all over the world, causing trouble during the time of un-Rifts. She doesn’t actively hang out with the main pantheon, she just wanders around causing trouble. Maybe...with your PCs? :monocle:

This is a really simplistic rendition of a fairly complex and interesting figure, which is not a surprise for Rifts exactly but still annoys me more than some of the others because it is so thoughtlessly reductive. But then, if there’s one thing Palladium wants to deal with less than actual religion, it’s sexuality.

She’s not very god-strong anyway, 8,500 MDC, needless Diabolic alignment. She will very literally try to make a deal with captors using ‘feminine wiles’ and is a limitless shapeshifter. Obviously. Also, she can know the intimate desires, fears, and intense goals of anyone she makes eye contact with. No save. Outside of that she has a relatively limited slate of powers, being a long list of specific spells and psi-powers, so mostly she’s just a shapeshifting jerk. :troll:

That’s it for the ‘real’ Aztec pantheon. There are a ton of other figures who weren’t addressed but this is true for all the pantheons in this book. Still, leaving out cool stuff like ‘Xiuhcoatl’ is a sad oversight. As an opening shot, they suck. They’re all the bad colonial stereotypes about the Aztecs are horrible bloodthirsty assholes and most of these gods are complete dicks for no reason. I mean, even with the crueler aspects of Aztec ritual, all of these gods had positive and negative aspects and it feels like these were just stripped away to attach unbeatable statblocks to beings who may choose to dick around the PCs. The only positive I see here is that they’re actually at least generally hostile to the Vampire Intelligences and any talk of ‘alliance’ is basically a pretext for eventual conquest.

Please feel free to elaborate further on Aztec myth in the comments as it’s an interesting topic that’s being treated very badly here. Not so great for a first shot at a pantheon of NPCs.

Next: We get the pretender Aztecs, the Sons of Quetzalcoatl!

Zereth
Jul 8, 2003




occamsnailfile posted:

Rifts Conversion Book 2: Pantheons of the Megaverse: Part 5: Feathered Santa is coming to town!


Comparatively, he’s a weakling, with 13,000 MDC. Aztecs must not have had much use for their magicians. No real magical abilities of note, just knows “all spells” from level 1-15 at 14th level. They at least gave Q Temporal magic, let a magic dog know some elemental spells maybe? Not that these statblocks aren’t overcomplex already.
Are elemental and temporal spells not part of "all spells"? That sure sounds like he knows every spell from every spellcasting discipline anywhere.

occamsnailfile
Nov 4, 2007



zamtrios so lonely

Grimey Drawer

Zereth posted:

Are elemental and temporal spells not part of "all spells"? That sure sounds like he knows every spell from every spellcasting discipline anywhere.

I would generally think that "all spells" written that way refers to the Core book only, as they use the unqualified term "spells" for a lot of other entries like "knows all spells 1-5" and then further specify "knows all air warlock spells" or something similar if that's what they mean. It's ambiguous though. Oh, Rifts.

Punting
Sep 9, 2007
I am very witty: nit-witty, dim-witty, and half-witty.



It's not really that ambiguous though, there's only 15 levels of spells in Rifts (assuming I remember correctly), so if he knows 'all spells 1-15' that's pretty much all spells.

Tasoth
Dec 12, 2011


Queztlcoatl has this weird long torso, short leg thing going on. I think it might be that the artist didn't draw him rotating around his hips as he climbing the stairs. Also, Chiuacoatl is either a male-to-female transsexual or every god drat day is leg day. Her legs are buff as poo poo.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


Zereth posted:

Are elemental and temporal spells not part of "all spells"? That sure sounds like he knows every spell from every spellcasting discipline anywhere.

Generally it seems to be implied - due to it being explicit about certain characters getting Fire spells or Temporal spells - that "spells" just refers to the corebook magic unless it says otherwise. You could argue that point but I think the intent is clear, even if it isn't outright stated.

And also, yes, let's give credit for Hitler to an Aztec god, super-classy. Maybe that makes him the godfather the Coalition? I imagine him popping onto Earth, seeing the Coalition, being like "Huh. My work here is already done! Carry on!" and then leaving forever.

occamsnailfile
Nov 4, 2007



zamtrios so lonely

Grimey Drawer

Rifts Conversion Book 2: Pantheons of the Megaverse: Part 6: Characters who are almost certainly written by CJ Carella

The Sons of Quetzalcoatl

I actually like this aspect of the book, which has pretenders to the names of various gods--since who can say what a god is in a universe this crowded with dimensional-teleporting superbeings really. In this case as a contrast to their ichorous namesakes, we have a tousled band of do-gooding underdogs (sometimes literally dogs...c’mon, you’re not surprised that fake Xolotl is a dog boy right?) who help fight the vampires and are actually not secretly assholes like Reid’s Rangers.

Basically it all started with a different Kukulcan dragon named Corellion (no relation) got mistaken for Quetzalcoatl because all dragons look alike or something, and he slowly rounded up a band of like-minded heroes who grudgingly all took on the names of other Aztec gods, and boy won’t that be funny when the real ones find out? They work out of the ruins of Old Acapulco and run daring guerilla raids and apparently evacuate human refugees to a “safe place in the south.” They also have spies in the vampire network, including at least one good-aligned vamp.

They aren’t very good at math, having “about a dozen main members” which includes three line walkers, five techno-wizards, several robot pilots, three juicers, and two partial conversion borgs, also 3 SAMAS units, 2 Titan robots, 1 Triax Ulti-Max and a Forager Battlebot. And they have about 100 militia. Sounds like they’re ready to intimidate some blood cartels. :drac:

Fake Queztalcoatl/Corellion is an adult Kukulcan dragon (buy Conversion One!) which is on the wimpier end of the dragon scale but still 2,000 MDC and able to bite a truck in half, assuming it’s not a reinforced truck. His “sweetheart” was murdered by a pack of wild vampires and he has sworn vengeance, vengeance!! Apparently he’s killed hundreds of vampires and three Intelligences even, which is fairly impressive given the tiresome escapology of major Rifts villains. He is old friends with Aristophanes/Nahualli and they started this crazy little operation together.



He’s a 12th level air warlock and “sorcerer,” is that a class? I can’t even remember anymore. He has all the dragon stuff and seven attacks a round and his breath attack is a 2D6 round paralysis with no listed save, though the range is only 100 feet! :haw: Has a bunch of the ridiculous equipment you use to fight Palladium vampires like a wood-shooting railgun and all that, actually not a jerk and genuinely trying to help people.

Nahualli the Sorcerer


i can’t resist showing this belly shirt

Actually a True Atlantean named Aristophanes. He’s a Stone Master, you know that class back from Vampire Kingdoms that just about ‘NPC CLASS’ stamped all over it in red letters? It’s good he’s an actual NPC. Apparently back in the day he and some Atlantean bros were fighting a Vampire Intelligence and he lost his nerve and they got killed and he’s sworn vengeance. He’s really worried about chickening out again but Corellion knows this and basically plans around the possibility. Also, “Nahualli” is a general word for an Aztec religious practitioner and is often translated as ‘magician’ or whatever but ‘priest’ is about as accurate and either way they’re using it as his name rather than a title.

Janelle

Hey, the group’s pink ranger! Kukulcan hatchling out for adventure and secretly in love with Corellion because :shlick: “Somehow” she picked up the accent and vocabulary of a Valley Girl just in case she wasn’t already enough The Chick. She got in over her head and got hurt once and got yelled at by Corellion for ten whole minutes and the attention made her so happy she may just keep taking these stupid risks. :sigh:

Cihuateto the vampire


i think this ‘vampire’ thing may be a cover for ‘rampant heroin problem’

A former vampire hunter, turned by a master vampire as punishment, tortured and such for years, now released by a mysterious stranger who gave her a special black ring that makes her immune to mind control. She joined the Sons and has infiltrated Mexico City and risen up the ranks, collecting info to help destroy them. Her backstory sucks but as a double agent she could be interesting.

Huitzilpochtli, Warrior of the Sons

Warrior of the Sons, haw haw don’t you get it. He’s a full-conversion cyborg who used to be a fairly wealthy merchant until he got nearly killed. Now on a quest for revenge, working to destroy the vampires. He joined Reid’s Rangers for a while but left after getting into an argument with one of the various obvious psychopaths running that group. He apparently was ‘very close’ to Cihuateto before she left for Mexico City, of course he was. His armor is painted to resemble the real Huitzilpochtli and otherwise he is just a full-conversion borg with very expensive modifications and equipment.

Xolotl, dog boy


Rin Tin Tin has a gun

Xolotol ran away from Lone Star and was an early recruit. His psi-stalker handler decided to desert and the pack didn’t know what was going on until the Coalition was hunting them down. He barely escaped and somehow got all the way down to the other end of Mexico where the Sons recruited him. He’s been adopted as fake-Quetzalcoatl’s companion Xolotl though he doesn’t know any magic and his name is actually Ricky. Still, he’s willing enough to go along and isn’t a bad dog.


That’s it for the sons. I will cautiously say that I like them for being ambitious fakers and underdogs trying to actually do something right, like not just fighting all the time but trying to build a safe community away from the vampires. The only really powerful member is Corellion, the others exist more or less within the same framework as PCs can achieve though they have more gear and such. The only real downside to them is that they already feel like a pack of adventurers so adding PCs to their mix might not make them stand out too much, but just based on stats these guys aren’t going to overshadow most parties terribly. The downside is interacting with Rifts Vampires which are boring as hell.

The fake-gods theme is a little weak, especially with natives who have lived through the total catastrophe of Rifts which came after colonialism and various other attempts to eliminate the pantheon--and they still just immediately start venerating any feathered serpent they see.

Zereth
Jul 8, 2003




occamsnailfile posted:

I would generally think that "all spells" written that way refers to the Core book only, as they use the unqualified term "spells" for a lot of other entries like "knows all spells 1-5" and then further specify "knows all air warlock spells" or something similar if that's what they mean. It's ambiguous though. Oh, Rifts.
Oh, if it uses "All spells" and then "All [specific type] spells" in the same character writeup I can see that meaning "from the core book". I guess we can blame this one on Rifts!

J Miracle
Mar 25, 2010
It took 32 years, but I finally figured out push-ups!

I love the repeated Rifts trope of "group of badasses decides to go all in on acting like figures from local mythology."

Young Freud
Nov 25, 2006



J Miracle posted:

I love the repeated Rifts trope of "group of badasses decides to go all in on acting like figures from local mythology."

Rifts is like peak murderhobo.

The players are so overpowered to everyone in the Rifts wilderness, that with their weapons that can incinerate a person, their family, and their house in one shot and armor that makes them the equivalent of walking tanks (or literal walking tanks), it must be a temptation to be God. Because there's a conflict in every human heart, between the rational and irration, between good and evil. And good does not always triumph. Sometimes, the dark side overcomes what Lincoln called the better angels of our nature.

Green Intern
Dec 29, 2008

Loon, Crazy and Laughable



Sometimes there is a struggle between using your awesome Glitterboy armor for its intended purpose and being a total wimp who hates fun.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


Rifts Conversion Book 2: Pantheons of the Megaverse: Part Seven: "A heroic mortal, especially a being of magic like a tattooed man, or a powerhouse like a juicer, might catch her fancy (having an Physical Beauty of 16 + helps)."

The Pantheon of Sumer

Being some of the most ancientest gods, it details that the Sumerian gods were birthed from evil "Gods of Darkness" akin to the Old Ones (those guys again). Ancient supernatural evils created them as assistants, but they rebelled and defeated them (note to potential gods - don’t create personal servants ever, it never works out). Humanity was super happy that the Gods of Darkness were gone, and were happy to worship the "Gods of Light". The original rebels were Anu, Enlil, Enki, and Marduk. It notes that they were worshipped by the Babylonians and Macedonians, but then were eventually overtaken by Persian and Muslim faiths.

Then we get the political standing of the Babylonian pantheon!
  • They're rivals with the Egyptian and Persian pantheons, but their leaders ultimately see themselves as allies under the "Gods of Light" label despite some personal feuds between lesser gods. On the other hand, Ahirman of the Persian gods wants to release the Babylonian Gods of Darkness, which is a super-good plan that can't backfire at all. Lastly, they have a strong alliance with the Greek pantheon, seeing them as fellow "rebel gods".
  • The Pantheon of Sumer always fights against alien intelligences and vampire intelligences, seeing them as akin to their corrupt parents.
  • The Splugorth are considered foes, but Marduk sees them a too organized and dangerous to fight unless the pantheon is really pressed to do so.

Anu
The Sky God



The blobfather.

Anu was the original leader of the Sumerian gods, and oversees the seasons, stars, and the sky. He's "closer to an alien intelligence" and didn't participate directly in the rebellion, and as a result, Marduk took over when he wouldn't fight. He's bummed out about not being in charge, but is resigned to his fate, or may just be :effort:. He doesn't take humans seriously, though he does respect Atlanteans, dragons, and immortals of various sorts. Unlike most gods, he doesn't need worshippers to manifest in a given plane, but seems to be weaker without them.

He seems to be the missing link between alien intelligences and the gods in this book. Usually, he's a mammoth "fleshy mound" with tentacles that all have glowing eyes on the ends. He can take on a humanoid form, but weighs 25 tons (despite being 6' tall), has grey skin and stars for eyes, and is really bad at pretending to be human. Despite his "Unprincipled" alignment, has no trouble with murdering somebody for being annoying.

He has a frankly ridiculous amount of M.D.C. 70K, half that on Earth, though it doesn't say where he has to be to get his full M.D.C. Mostly he's superhumanly tough, strong-willed, and just plain strong. He can see just about anything, including invisible creatures and "creatures from the fourth dimension", regenerates about 7 M.D.C. a second, can turn udnead, teleport or dimensionally travel, and can fragment himself into "1d4" essences that can possess mortals (but apparently doesn't do it much anymore). So, does he roll that 1d4 every time he uses the power...? Oh, and he can summon and control air elementals, cast any normal spell, has all the sensitive and super psi-powers, and has all the abilities of a ley line walker or shifter. Oh, and he can generate a psi-sword on each one of his tentacles.

After my review of the Egyptian gods, I have to note he makes them look like a bunch of sissies. Of course, in the actual mythology, he isn't a supernatural intelligence, was a sort of god of Justice who created the stars as soldiers to punish evil :black101:, and has more personal connections with other gods in the pantheon rather than the aloof megaooze we see here.

Enlil,
The Wind God



”Behold… the gourdsword!”

Enlil was the creation of Anu, who took a fragment of his essence, a greater air elemental, a human's mind, and mixed them up in a giant godly salad tumbler. Originally, Enlil was the enforcer for Anu, Apsu, and Tiamat, inflicting weathery disasters on "cities that refused to pay tribute" (what tribute does an all-powerful supernatural intelligence want, though...?). Apparently Apsu and Tiamat (those are Gods of Darkness) tried to destroy their godly creations, Enlil stayed neutral, which is why Marduk is the boss of him and Anu and Enki, who apparently make up the "High Council of Sumer" that advises Marduk.

In any case, he really hates alien intelligences, and often sneaks into Atlantis to just murder the gently caress out of Splynncryth's minions, and hopes one day he gets to lead an attack against Atlantis. That being said, he's moody and fickle and sometimes helps mortals and sometimes throws disasters on them for being too noisy. (No, really.)

Let's see... he has a potential M.D.C. of 63K (though only 12K on Rifts Earth, with about a 4/sec regeneration rate), he can control weather, summon lesser air elementals, fly around, is resistant to energy attacks, teleport, dimensional dancin', and he can pick pockets at 98%. "An elder god took my wallet?" He can cast any air warlock spell, and a number of low and mid-level normal spells. He has all the sensitive psionic powers, plus some super mental powers and hydrokinesis. Apparently he can get together an army of air elementals, but only with his pantheon's permission. Oh, and he has the "Sword of the Sky", which is an ancient (but good) rune weapon that can cast various water elemental spells, shoot lightning bolts, and does double damage against supernatural intelligences, which sounds impressive until you realize it still only does the damage of a Boom Gun.

The mythical Enlil was actually created from the exhausted breaths of the gods An and Ki (not part of this writeup) after they hosed. In mythology, he raped a goddess named Ninlil, and they were both sent to the underworld as punishment. After she had his baby, Enlil was then further "punished" by having to gently caress Ninlil until she birthed three more babies, thusly creating the deities of the underworld. And that's why it's okay sometimes for games to have a little bit of inaccuracy in their mythology. Also he invented the mattock, which is a thing.

Enki
God of Magic



”C’mon, shake my smokin’ hand."

The god of water, magic, and civilization, Enki seems like a pretty vital god. In any case, of the first human-ish gods created, he was the most human-ish, and liked humans and had a super-conscience. So he was one of the active rebel gods, and cast the insanely big spell that put Apsu to sleep, and then threw him into another dimension. Apparently he has a wife named Damkina who is never detailed or statted.

So he's visited Tolkeen and Lazlo in disguise, and is really fond of them and excited about techno-wizardry. He's inclined to protect them from the Coalition, but only secretly, because he's worried the Gods of Darkness will target them if they know he's partial to those places. He's got an nonspecific kind of "father aura", like Optimus Prime, though he often disguises himself as a powerful wizard. In Lazlo, he's only shared the fact that he's a god with Erin Tarn :rolleyes:, though Plato suspects his true nature. I wonder if this will all come into play when the Coalition finally does attack Tolkeen in the metaplot? No.

So! Numbers! 74K M.D.C. / 14K on Earth, regens 4/sec, can turn invisible, "swim with the speed and agility of a dolphin" (no numbers mind, just that description), teleport, travel between dimensions, can heal with a touch or create a special super-strength anti-magic cloud. He knows how to pilot any boat... and hovercraft... and can cast any normal spell, spell of legend, or water warlock spell. Oh, and he has all of the sensitive and physical psionic powers. He doesn't use any gear, no doubt with a smug expression, and can turn into "a creature with the front parts of a goat and the tail of a fish".

In the original myths, he's kind of an almighty creator god (apparently his dominion over water also extends to semen, seriously), and he really does put Abzu (Apsu in this book) to sleep to keep him from killing all the younger gods. Oh, and his symbols were the goat and fish, so being a fishgoat is loosely tied to the original mythology, where he became the basis for Capricorn. Oh and he fucks his daughter (Ninsar, goddess of plants) to father Ninkurra (goddess of pastures). He also fucks Ninkurra, and she gives birth to the spider-god Uttu. Apparently at that point he stops loving his own descendants. For whatever reason, Carella declined to include this in his writeup.

Marduk
Lord of the Gods



Headcap, half-shirt, skirt… that’s deific style.

So Marduk is the big deal rebel god who’s top of the pantheon. He fought Tiamat in one-on-one combat, using his magic net to hold her down, then "forced her jaws open with powerful winds and telekinesis" (this is not something you can do with those powers) and shot arrows down her gullet, after which they threw her in godly space/time prison. After the battle he claimed his loot - the Tablets of Destiny, which increase his power and let him see the future. Also, he's a god of cities and order. He's big friends with a bunch of dragons, but Tiamat has tried to spread a nasty rumor that he slays dragons instead, even though he flubbed slaying Tiamat herself.

After Earth got its magic back on, Marduk has paid attention to it, and is worried about the Splugorth, who are "distant cousins" of Apsu and Tiamat. He's gathering a strike team of godlings and dragons to sabotage Atlantis, looking to soften them up for an eventual invasion in several centuries. He knows all about the Mechanoids, Four Horsemen, and Zazshan, thanks to the Tablets of Destiny. Not that he's seemingly doing anything about the above... and he has 50 secret names so good luck using his true name against him... wait, what magic requires true names in Rifts...?

Numbers! He has 80K M.D.C., 16K on Earth, though he loses about 25% of that if the doesn't have the Tablets of Destiny. He has a lot of the standard powers, is insanely strong, teleport, dimensions, regenerates, invisible, turn dead, healing touch, and can shoot special wind blasts that do 66% of the damage a boom gun does. He knows kung fu and how to gut and scale a fish. He can cast any air or water spell, all normal spells and spells of legend, and has all sensitive psionic powers. Oh, and he has underlings including godlings, Scorpion people, elementals, spirits of light, and plain old worshippers.

He has a magic rod that can summon weather and cause ley line storms, a spear that can summon lightning or return after being thrown, a magic net that causes penaliies and makes it much harder to teleport, a magic bow, and the Tablets of Destiny.

In mythology, he's the chief god of Babylon, but didn't do much loving of note. Oh, and he saw to the creation of humanity so they could bear the burdens of the world so the gods could live in leisure. Whatta guy!

Ishtar
Goddess of Love & War



Physical Beauty 27

Ishtar's in charge of fertility, love, war, and bloodshed. Just FYI. She's cheery and peppy despite all that, but is rash, impulsive, lecherous, and apparently spiteful. And, unlike some other gods, she's given an alignment to fit - Anarchist. She mainly fights the evil gods more out of spite than any goodly qualities.

So Ishtar married Tammuz, but just sleeps around all the time, because goddess of love, I guess? Then one point Ishtar kicked Lilith out of a temple to take it over, and then decided - I guess - to become queen of the underworld, but Ishtar was ambushed by Lilith's patron god, Ereshkigal, the actual queen of the underworld who captured and tortured Ishtar. Eventually Ishtar was allowed to leave, but only if she could find another god to make her place in the torture zone. So she finds her husband celebrating her death with a party, is like oh gently caress no, and throws Tammuz into the underworld.

Eventually she felt bad about it and rescued Tammuz.

Apparently she flirts with muscle men and magic men all the time, and when spurned, she'll punish them, but often feels bad about her temper and goes to tries to make up. Fickle women never know what they want, amirite? When she has an affair, she usually gives a bunch of aid to her beau, but eventually gets bored and moves on. She has had affairs with dozens of major gods, and if people knew just how many gods she's hosed, there would be scandals.

So! M.D.C. is 43K (8K on Earth), about 2/sec regen, is ridiculously beautiful, teleport, healing touch, can cook super-well, has a bunch of mind-bending psychic powers, mid-range spellcasting. She has a "Sword of Victory" that does extra damage to vampires, dragons, demons, and Splugorth, a "Spear of Vengeance" that returns after being thrown (presumably a lesser-known Spear of Vengeance), and 1K M.D.C. magic armor. For a goddess of war, she's a remarkably weak combatant for a god, not that the writeup emphasizes much other than her bedroom habits.

Oh, and the original Ishtar seduced beasts, and that's how we have domesticated animals. :v: Tammuz did blow off her death, but when he's being dragged off, his sister (Geshtinanna) begs to and goes in in place instead for half the year each year, and that's why we have the seasons. Oh, and she hosed a tiny bird, why not?

Tammuz of the Soil


Physical Beauty 25

A god of fertility and prosperity, Tammuz is also the handsomest deity. If he decided to, he could probably get millions of Earthly followers... exactly why isn't clear. Presumably because he's so dashing and gets all the unisex boners. He's a friendly party guy, but is kind of a doormat for the other gods and seeks praise.

Anyway, he and Ishtar had a big romance and got married, but she got bored with him and started having affairs. He was pretty pissed, but Ishtar was way more powerful and he also didn't want to piss off her "dad", Anu. After his big underworld torture adventure, they opted to just have an open marriage, and both of them gently caress whoever they like, and sometimes each other. Anu and Marduk apparently find the whole thing scandalous. For Marduk that makes enough sense - being a god of order - but Anu? Anu's a big tentacley blobby thing who doesn't really understand the two-legged folks very well. Not sure why he cares.

He's actually slim on powers other than the usual teleportation, and has a special aura where he can make crops grow super-good. He also is a "8th level dryad". I think they meant "druid". He can cast all water warlock spell and "dryad magic". I think they mean herbalism, since it refers to Rifts England. Shockingly, he has no psionics, and his M.D.C. is 30K / 6K on Earth.

In mythology, Tammuz is kind of a death-rebirth deity that symbolizes the seasons, but not too much to add that hasn't been detailed under Ishtar.

Etc.

Compared to my previous review of the Egyptian Gods in Rifts World Book Four: Africa, the Babylonian pantheon is much closer to their original depictions. Though the details have been adjusted, and they hew closely to the existing mechanics for gods, none are as unrecognizable as some of Siembieda's previous depictions. Carella at least clearly did his research, and it shows. However, this is a profound simplification of the mythology, as most RPG depictions of old pantheons tend to be. That being said, I'm content in that it has 100% less tiny bird loving.

You still have the problem that any godly duel is going to take an eternity at the table. It's funny that they developed M.D.C. to scale up for giant robots and not run into this very issue, and then... run into the same issue again. Maybe it would be better if gods had Mega-Mega Damage? As it is, they're still insane to run on a practical level; each god has literally dozens to hundreds of powers, far too many for any GM to keep track of, and turning fights between them into Calvinball contests.

Next: Evil gods who are evil because they are evil.

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.

Alien Rope Burn posted:

Apparently she flirts with muscle men and magic men all the time, and when spurned, she'll punish them, but often feels bad about her temper and goes to tries to make up. Fickle women never know what they want, amirite? When she has an affair, she usually gives a bunch of aid to her beau, but eventually gets bored and moves on. She has had affairs with dozens of major gods, and if people knew just how many gods she's hosed, there would be scandals.
Accurate to the myth, for once. Mythological Ishtar was notorious for her many lovers and how they always seemed to come to bad ends. She famously tried to murder Gilgamesh with the Bull of Heaven when she came on to him and he turned her down, citing how being loved by her was usually detrimental to your health.

quote:

Listen to me while I tell the tale of your lovers. There was Tammuz, the lover of your youth, for him you decreed wailing, year after year. You loved the many-coloured Lilac-breasted Roller, but still you struck and broke his wing. You have loved the lion tremendous in strength: seven pits you dug for him, and seven. You have loved the stallion magnificent in battle, and for him you decreed the whip and spur and a thong. You have loved the shepherd of the flock; he made meal-cake for you day after day, he killed kids for your sake. You struck and turned him into a wolf; now his own herd-boys chase him away, his own hounds worry his flanks."

Her response? Give me that bull or zombie apocalypse.

quote:

If you refuse to give me the Bull of Heaven then I will break in the doors of hell and smash the bolts; there will be mixing of people, those above with those from the lower depths. I shall bring up the dead to eat food like the living; and the hosts of the dead will outnumber the living.

Sumerian myth is the most hardcore myth.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


Cardiovorax posted:

Accurate to the myth, for once. Mythological Ishtar was notorious for her many lovers and how they always seemed to come to bad ends. She famously tried to murder Gilgamesh with the Bull of Heaven when she came on to him and he turned her down, citing how being loved by her was usually detrimental to your health.

Yes. The thing is, when you go through toe pantheons there's a.... let's say a dearth of respectable female deities even amongst the "good" pantheons. And you can point to myth, but Pantheons of the Megaverse isn't shy about changing what it wants to change, so it gets a wearying when you've gone through the whole book.

Rifts Conversion Book 2: Pantheons of the Megaverse: Part Eight: "When angry or upset, she tends to forget herself and takes a bite of anything around her."

Babylonian Gods of Darkness

Apsu, Of The Abyss


The most sinister laundry stain.

It turns out that Apsu isn't a real deity, as we know by now, but an alien intelligence. At this point, the difference seems academic, but there you have it. He's powerful enough to spank a Splugorth, and had tortured entire dimensions in the past. After all, how else is a multidimensional force of pure malevolence going to pass the time?

Apsu tried to work slowly on Earth in ancient times, opting to create god-slaves to build a civilization so he could eventually take on (old-timey) Atlantis. Apsu's advisor, Mummu, advised him to kill off his godly creations when they started to get mouthy, but took too long trying to weed out the rebels from the loyalists, and that gave the rebellion enough time to get their poo poo together. Enki cast the biggest sleep spell ever, even though legends would later say Enki killed Apsu (which, it turns out, he couldn't manage), but instead threw him in godly San Quentin.

Some demon lords have tried to get him out, but with no luck; most creatures with the power to release him are sensible enough to realize that's a bad idea. He's likely to go on a tear across entire dimensions if and when he wakes up and wreck several existences. Not exactly a “morning god”. Still, he's somewhat aware of events on Earth through dreams, and the conflict is starting to wake him up. Once he's up, he'll be able to send a fragment to Earth to try find a way to free himself. In any case, he's evil, evil, evil, and basically has no other personality traits other than being evil.

Numbers: 250K M.D.C. (95K on first awakening), regen 4/sec, is a 40' darkness blob, is probably the strongest thing I've seen at Physical Strength 70, invisibility, teleports, takes 1/10 damage from physical attacks, and 1/4 from energy attacks; only magic and psionics do normal damage. Oh, and he can't be killed unless you bring him down to -1000 M.D.C. He has a special engulf attack that digests people and hinders teleports, can cast any normal spell, spell of legend, or temporal spell, and also knows about bio-wizardry, but not how to make rune weapons. He also has all sensitive psionic powers and some mental super-psionic powers.

In mythology, he's just a primal god of freshwater (the proper name is 'Abzu") who gets chumped by Enki, who takes much of its power. So this is probably the biggest divergence from mythology so far, though Abzu is such a vague entity in real myth that giving it an actual role is going to change it no matter what.

Tiamat


Snaketopus vs. Megascorpion.

Rifts Conversion Book 2: Pantheons of the Megaverse posted:

Evil Apsu had a powerful partner, a giant serpent who called herself Tiamat.

Of course. :v:

She argued with Apsu against turning on the lesser god, because she felt they could still be manipulated. However, when Enlil defeated Apsu, Tiamat went on the war path, only to get beaten by Marduk. She had to retreat and heal for centuries afterward, in contradiction to her actual states. Now, she's working to get her revenge, quietly sending agents to Earth and trying to find another evil force to win support from. Anyway, she likes to eat flesh and emotions! How she does the former is obvious, how she does the latter is puzzling. Though she gets along with Ahriman, the both of them are too egotistical to truly ally.

So, 60K or 30K M.D.C., you know the deal by now, teleport, can raise the dead or turn the dead, has a healing touch (healing nuzzle? she ain't got no arms...), a weakening poison stinger, and has a killing breath that weakens, but wind powers like Marduk's will reflect her attack back on her. She also has tentacles that sprout out of her head. It's notable to list she can't shapeshift at all - she's always a 300' serpent. Oh, and she can sumon gallu bulls, galla demons (whatever those are?), or scorpion people to aid her.

In mythology she as the primal god of saltwater, and created a bunch of evil monsters to challenge the gods after Apsu's defeat that aren't in the game. Her dead body became rivers and stars and stuff like that.

Mummu, The Maker


Did not make that suit of armor, ironic.

Man, it's going to hard to take this guy seriously as an antagonist; that name is just rather unfortunate in this day and age. Anyway, he's the god of craftmanship, and mostly just sided with Darkness because it seemed to be the winning team. When they lost, he surrendered to Enki, but has held a grudge since. When Tiamat contacted him about becoming a double agent, he agreed to spy on the Pantheon of Sumer. He's started learned more about Earth's technology to aid Tiamat, and also has started making contact with Lord Splynncryth's minions, and may become a spy for or against them; he's innately selfish and will basically be looking for the better deal either way.

Digits are go- 35K M.D.C. (6K on Earth), 2k/sec regen, can teleport around or turn invisible, super-good at all technological skills, knows all stone magic, but is a mid-range spellcaster otherwise. No psionics. He has a crew of builders, including techno-wizards. He has a special red SAMAS armor which he has enchanted with techno-wizard enchantments, which is now wanted by the Coalition for copyright infringement.

He's pretty true to what little mythology he has, though he's sometimes supposed to be a primal representation of the mind and abstract ideas instead of a two-legged nerdgod. In the original myth, though, he's locked away rather than coopted.

Kingu, The Chosen


Hoping to pose hard enough to end up on a Clanbook cover.

So Kingu was a demon who served Tiamat, and was originally given the Tablets of Destiny. When they were defeated, Tiamat took Kingu's corpse, and merged it with a vampire intelligence, because why not reinvest in a proven failure? In any case, he’s outlooking for revenge on Marduk. Also, he's a demon-vampire, which is a thing. He's looking to try and take over the Yucatan and enslave the vampire intelligences there, and maybe team up with Camatotz (from wayyy back in Rifts World Book One: Vampire Kingdoms. Anyway, he's monstrous and tries to act all cool but often will just murder or torture things on the slightest pretense.

Since he's not a god proper, he just has 9K M.D.C. wherever, can smell blood or shapechange like a vampire, and has most of the vampire weaknesses. Sunlight weakens him rather than kills him, however, and he can only create secondary vampires through his biting. He's generally a low-level spellcaster, but he gets all the vampire psionics.

In mythology, he wasn't much different, a thug-god who served Tiamat and was given the Tablets to defeat Marduk. He didn't, and that was the end of his story. No vampire angle, of course.

Ereshkigal
Goddess of the Underworld



Horror Factor 17

Another creation of Apsu, she was "in charge of the souls of the dead". Now, that sort of thing makes her position curious, since Rifts never properly discusses what happens to people after they die, or even if there's an afterlife at all. That being said, even though she tortured Ishtar and Tammuz, she hasn't seen any retribution because... um... reasons?

In any case, she pretends to be neutral but is really working against the Patheon of Sumer in exchange for payoffs from Tiamat. She's pretty much just a megalomanical sadist who wants more people to "imprison in her hellish dimension", and wants to expand into (across?) Hades. Her dimension is one big trap, and is easy to travel to, but blocks dimensional rifts and interferes with teleportation. Apparently it also weakens gods, but it doesn't say how much.

Anyway, 40K M.D.C., 8K on Earth, 7/sec regen, can animate and turn undead, teleport around, heal with her touch, and has a bunch of spy and knowledge skills. Mostly she knows all necromantic magic, minor normal spells, and has all healing psionics ("but uses them for torture"). She has scorpion people and "galla" as servants, whoever those are.

In mythology, she's more of a proto-Hades than the S&M queen we see here, but she mostly figures into the myths of other gods rather than being a central character on her own.

Nergal, Prince of Discord


Childhood nickname: “Piggsley”.

He's a god of violence, plague, and destruction, and the desert sun. Nobody really likes him, but he's married to Erishkigal and got pardoned from serving Apsu on account of her. Then he went on to serve Tiamat, and has followed her to Rifts Earth. However, he's thinks Earth needs more wars, and so has been sending agents to try and spark a conflict between the Coalition States and nearby magic kingdoms, or to aid the Gargoyles and Brodkil against the NGR. Oh, and he's a big sadist who likes bullying others, to the point where he'll toy with foes instead of killing them, which allows them to get away. Oh, and when evenly matched, he'll immediately flee. He's basically the 80s cartoon villain of the Babylonian set. Run awayyyyy!

Number counting: 18K / 3K M.D.C., regens 1 per 2 secs, teleports, can animate the dead, and is a wilderness scout kinda guy. He only has basic spellcasting, mostly tending towards mind control, and no psionics. He apparently carries a bunch of fancy weapons and has 1000 M.D.C. armor.

Wikipedia posted:

According to the rabbins, his emblem was a cock and Nergal means a "dunghill cock".

Rooster, that is. He's similar to (but before) Ares, though he's less of a cartoon character than this writeup in the myths.

Lilith - Bringer of Misery


Evil Seductress Archetype #14,352

Once, she was a Dar'ota, but was turned by Apsu and Tiamat into a powerful demon. After they lost the war, she has traveled around basically causing death, because why not, I guess. She often seeks to cause war, because why not, I guess. And once she caused a nuclear war that destroyed a whole world, because why not, I guess.

(Dar'ota are one of those species that love causing suffering because, even though it's not like they feed off psychic misery waves or anything; they're just blood-drinkers.)

In any case, she's very mercenary, and has a rivalry with Jahi where they compete to seduce and murder the same guy. (Which makes sense, because they’re essentially the same lame character in different pantheons.) Oh, and she'll probably help out Nergal, because yay war and suffering, why not, I guess.

About 2K M.D.C., invisible, slow regen, crappy teleports, shape shift into "any humanoid female form", has roguish skills, crappy illusion magic and sensitive psionic powers. Apparently when she loses her temper she goes from pretty (relative, given the illustration to fanged uglyface.

The mythology of Lilith is more problematic, since most sources come to the conclusion that "Lilitu" wasn't really a part of Mesopatamian mythology, but was inserted by later writers and historians. As such, having her in a Bablyonian pantheon makes the authors here the victims of fakelore, but it probably wasn't apparent at the time this book was written. Either way, the interpretation of Lilith is immensely dull compared to the Hebrew mythology, where she's just an evil thing that does evil because she is evil, etc.

Etc.

Wow. This section was a lot worse than the Gods of Light. I'm willing to accept one boring sadist out of a pantheon, but Mummu's the only real exception to the "evil for evil's sake" crowd here, and is vastly more interesting as a result. Mummu taking the wrong side and then blaming others for the consequences is a very human motivation, whereas most of the others are just villainous caricatures that are less nuanced than a Silver Age comic book villain.

Ugggh let's wrap this pantheon up.

Next: Brokings forever.

Alien Rope Burn fucked around with this message at 13:41 on Apr 7, 2014

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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.

Alien Rope Burn posted:

Yes. The thing is, when you go through toe pantheons there's a.... let's say a dearth of respectable female deities even amongst the "good" pantheons. And you can point to myth, but Pantheons of the Megaverse isn't shy about changing what it wants to change, so it gets a wearying when you've gone through the whole book.
I know, I just think it's a cool myth and I wanted to tell people about it. :shobon:

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