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Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


Tasoth posted:

They really messed up on the trimurti/tridevi. From what I know of Hinduism, while the three masculine gods are responsible for carrying out acts under their domains, they are actually powerless. The font of their power is their wives, from which what they can do flows. Not having Saraswati, Lakshmi and Parvati with Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva is wrong.

They really just were just ignorant of it or completely ignored it.

When I was doing this F&F I soon realized I was over my head as far as looking at Hinduism, and had to do some research about it to get some bearing. Even just calling it "Hinduism" seems wrong to me at this point, since it's really a grouping of closely related religions, rather than some monolithic faith. It's not like Christianity where most of the varying faiths hold a lot of the same basic tenets while differing heavily on interpretation, while the faiths in Hinduism are instead radically different, and to me feel like closely related but genuinely separate religions. Trying to slot them into the classic Greek / Norse polytheistic standard is a mess, and mostly just speaks to the ignorance of the RPG authors that have tried.

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Midjack
Dec 24, 2007





Alien Rope Burn posted:

Wait, nuclear war caused the Rifts? It's been implied, but never that explicitly stated, as far as I can recall. Also Indra is an rear end in a top hat to him for being a tubby, what a shock. Oh, and he's uncovered another world filled with mutant animals that blah blah blah it's the After the Bomb setting! It turns out he's a patron of furries and other animal-people hybrids.

I thought they flat out said it in one of the earlier books you reviewed, but I can't find the citation either.

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

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

This ad was in all my Silver Surfers.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


Midjack posted:

I thought they flat out said it in one of the earlier books you reviewed, but I can't find the citation either.

On further review, I did miss that the corebook mentions a "nuclear holocaust". That's because it's mentioned in the introduction, but not the history or setting information, so I missed it when double-checking for this review. Whups! :v:

Majuju
Dec 30, 2006

I had a beer with Stephen Miller once and now I like him.

Alien Rope Burn posted:

On further review, I did miss that the corebook mentions a "nuclear holocaust". That's because it's mentioned in the introduction, but not the history or setting information, so I missed it when double-checking for this review. Whups! :v:

Erin Tarn is a pretty bad historian, so it's not your fault.

Young Freud
Nov 25, 2006



Majuju posted:

Erin Tarn is a pretty bad historian, so it's not your fault.

RIFTS: Chaos Earth brings it down to a minor nuclear war between a thinly-veiled Colombia and Venezuela. The countries are unnamed, but they're South American countries with a history of antagonism with each other, one being ingenuously nuclear-armed (which Venezuela is pursuing) and the other American-backed (which Colombia has been since the '50s). Colombia stomps the gently caress out of Venezuela in a border skirmish turned major invasion when their newly-gifted Glitter Boys work better than hoped. Venezuela launches a nuclear attack on Colombia to stop the invasion. This causes the large number of souls being released that opens up the rifts.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


Rifts Conversion Book 2: Pantheons of the Megaverse: Part 20: "It always relates to killing or murdering somebody, 'Strike him down now!' or 'Kill her,' or 'He deserves to die! Kill!'"

Indian Gods of Evil

Gods that rank higher on the jerk scale.

Kali
Goddess of Death



eeevil… hasss tooo… accesssorrizzzze

So, Parvati used to turn into Kali, which was her mega battle form, but when she drank a demon's blood, and then I guess barfed up Kali as her own demon / god hybrid. Anyway, Siva took her as an additional wife, but Parvati was upset. Brahma let her exist because she liked killing (demons) but she got a bunch of awesome magic weapons and learned time magic and founded the thugees and guess what she betrayed the gods to the Splugorth. And now she's working with the Splugorth and Raksashas to destroy the Indian pantheon because that's what evil do. Apparently she is a "psychopathic being with the heart of a rabid dog and the mind of a serial killer", "She is a torturer, a cannibal and a vampire." Apparently she creeps out even evil people, but considering just how evil character gets in these books, I'm not sure simple torture or eating people gets you to that point. I think for the Splugorth those are activities that go with noontime tea, for example.

72K / 14K em dee cee, regens super fast, half damage from fire, has a special power to telepathically compel people to murder, high-level regular and temporal magic, teleportin'. ESP, and hypno-eyes. She has a magic sword that we are told has 10K M.D.C. and regens 1d4 x 100 M.D.C. a minute which will never matter, does impressive damage to good-aligned foes, and can shoot fire. She also has a magic demon's head that can throw status effects or a fireball, or tell lies to make you do evil stuff, or bite you and hang on. Seriously, there are rules for having a demon head stuck on you. Oh, and she has 10,000 evil demons known as Dakini.

This is, of course, a really simplified and literally demonized version of Kali common in western literature. In mythology she is a destroyer, yes, but as an embodiment of that cosmic principle, not because she's a bloodthirsty maniac. Of all the Indian gods, this is the most disappointing writeup, having no nuance or depth, just a monster with far more M.D.C. than nearly any assemblage of PCs can inflict.

Kubera
God of Greed



Some of these hats must make doorways difficult.

He's the god of wealth... well, greed, mostly, as it turns out. Apparently he was once the a king of "all demons", but when Brahma took over, Kubera infiltrated the pantheon by saying that Indra had unfairly cast him in with the demons. So he took over caretaking all of the pantheon's treasures and wealth. Then when the Splugorth invaded, he fled with as much as he could carry on his back and "rejoined the forces of evil". You know, because he's obviously super-trustworthy.

20K/4K mega-damage capacity, bleh regen, teleport, super thief, has all the earth magic, all the ESP, and a "dozen greatest rune weapons", not that they're detailed.

Not too far off from the actual mythology, except for the generic evil; he doesn't really need to steal so much, on account of being one of the wealthiest beings ever in the first place.

Yama
King of the Dead



Gun… ponytail… bone pauldrons… welcome to the 90s!

He once was a benevolent death god who guided the dead but then he turned evil. Why?

:iiam:

He thought about teaming up with the Four Horsemen, but he didn't. How exciting! Once he thought about doing something, but he didn't. Exciting, exciting stuff. Anyway he likes torture and murder, you know the drill by now. Boring! He's also looking to team up with Mictla (from the original Conversion Book) to take control of Hades from Modeus (also, the Conversion Book), and if they manage that, he'll make war on everything. But that won't happen for at least centuries, so gently caress it. Boring!

MDC 30,000 (6,000 on Earth), 10 feet tall, 400 pounds, runs 30 MPH, invisibleteleportraisedeadregenetc, knows all normal and necromantic spells, has all healing and physical psionics plus mind powers and shooting electricity. He has a magic mace, a magic bull, and a magic noose.

In mythology, Yama is said to be the first guy who died, and so he became king of the dead. Nice deal, calling first like that. He also judges people's karma and decides if they become kings or snails. He's basically the lord of justice and order and isn't really evil at all, making the writeup above super, super lazy.

Vritra
The Obstructor



T. Rex pokey-arms complete the horror.

A "dragon-god" but, it later calls him a "Demon Lord", because it can't make up its mind here. He caused a drought in a "fit of jealousy" (jealousy of what? of who? doesn't say!), so Indra killed him. But his followers resurrected him, somehow, and he's looking for revenge. He's apparently envious of the gods because they're "better than he". This is because (no reason given).

20k/10k, keen senses, invisibility, weak regen, raise zombies, teleports, all water spells, all basic psionics, and can create a magic drought that kills plants in 300 feet, and he's a pretty good brawler.

In mythology, he's just a big snake Indra punked once, though later he became a demon created by Tvashtri to avenge his son's murder at the hands of Indra. Indra punked that version too, though.

Next: Asura's Wrath

Doc Quantum
Sep 15, 2011


Some of the designs for the Indian gods remind me of the concept art Kirby did for Zelazny's Lord of Light. I wonder if whoever did these took inspiration from that.

occamsnailfile
Nov 4, 2007



zamtrios so lonely

Grimey Drawer

Ewell definitely has some Kirby in his inspirations though he also has a lot of manga in there. Mostly he often just gets really overcomplicated but always has that sort of 'techno-organic' style.

And yes, the writeups for the Indian gods are pretty lazy. I did have a World Religions class in the late 90s teach the same Brahma/Vishnu/Shiva triad though, so I wonder if that's just a common mistranslation or simplification. Sort of like how mother/maiden/crone became such a thing despite being made up by a 19th century poet. These days of course it's much easier to check sources than it was in the 90s, but it's amazing how many myths about myths continue to perpetuate.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


Young Freud posted:

RIFTS: Chaos Earth brings it down to a minor nuclear war between a thinly-veiled Colombia and Venezuela.

Yeah. Of course, bear in mind Chaos Earth was something of a retcon, given originally it was supposed to be an alternate continuity / game, but was popular enough that it was folded into Rifts canon. It makes more sense, though, given that Rifts doesn't have much discussion of radiation or cratered cities or the kind of things you'd expect to find after a massive nuclear exchange. It's certainly no Fallout.

quantumavenger posted:

Some of the designs for the Indian gods remind me of the concept art Kirby did for Zelazny's Lord of Light. I wonder if whoever did these took inspiration from that.

Could be! Knowing Siembieda, I wouldn't be surprised to see that kind of marching orders, given that he's a huge comic collector. What's weird is that you have these odd designs and yet the gods don't really have their power armor or flying chairs statted at all, they just have the same design blocks as any other god. It's probably the biggest art / writing disconnect in the book.

TombsGrave
Feb 15, 2008



In the 90's, everybody wanted to rip off Jack Kirby but were really ripping off Rob Liefeld, who claimed to be imitating/tributing Kirby but was blazing his own distinctively idiotic art trail. Jack Kirby's art has a complex austerity to it, consistently imaginative. Rob Liefeld has a toolkit that entirely compensates for his drawing inabilities (e.g. pauldrons to avoid drawing shoulders, one glowing eye so they don't have to match up, etc.) and keeps hitting the same three notes over and over again.

Let's just be thankful there's a relative lack of broccoli puff and literally-Wolverine hairstyles.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


TombsGrave posted:

Rob Liefeld has a toolkit that entirely compensates for his drawing inabilities (e.g. pauldrons to avoid drawing shoulders, one glowing eye so they don't have to match up, etc.) and keeps hitting the same three notes over and over again.

Well, there's an upcoming Rifts review I have waiting that has... an art style very reminiscent of Liefeld's "style". It's possibly some of the ugliest art to make it into a Rifts book. You will know it by the gritting of teeth.

Young Freud
Nov 25, 2006



Alien Rope Burn posted:

Well, there's an upcoming Rifts review I have waiting that has... an art style very reminiscent of Liefeld's "style". It's possibly some of the ugliest art to make it into a Rifts book. You will know it by the gritting of teeth.

Let me guess, Rifts Mercenaries? I remember it having some egregious Liefeld/Image Comics ripoff art.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


Young Freud posted:

Let me guess, Rifts Mercenaries? I remember it having some egregious Liefeld/Image Comics ripoff art.

Mr. Maltose
Feb 16, 2011

The Guffless Girlverine


Holy poo poo Adam X, where is your ballcap?

To be fair, the ability to set blood on fire by yelling the word burn at the top of your lungs is RIFTS as hell.

Young Freud
Nov 25, 2006



occamsnailfile posted:

Ewell definitely has some Kirby in his inspirations though he also has a lot of manga in there. Mostly he often just gets really overcomplicated but always has that sort of 'techno-organic' style.

I know Ewell as he was or still is a guest to anime conventions but I've taken from him that a lot of his inspirations comes from the Metal Hurlant stuff more than manga. I know he's specifically called out the whole giant cone hats as some from Moebius.

GimmickMan
Dec 27, 2011



RIFTS may be garbage but if I ever need art of various pantheons in glorious 80's animepunk designs I know where to look.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


Rifts Conversion Book 2: Pantheons of the Megaverse: Part 21: "A lecherous monster, he often lusts after mortal women, despite his monstrous appearance."

Indian Demons
(The Asuras)


We're told the "Hindu's term for demons is 'asuras'", basically hey hate mortals and are always fightin' the Indian gods, though sometimes the war is cold. It notes the Rakasha (from the Rifts Conversion Book) are also demons. Of course the real Asuras are more complicated in mythology, more akin to earthly or material spirits who were later demonized as sort of a force opposed to the gods. But yes, here they're just generic evil, genericing it up.

Ravana
King of Raksashas



Tiger head is always hogging the good neck.

So, Ravana is powerful enough to fight the mightier gods. So, then, what's the difference between a demon and a god? :iiam:

Once when Brahma was meditating Ravana punked Siva and Vishnu and since Brahma was projecting his essence elsewhere Ravana kidnapped them but as soon as Brahma woke up they busted out and then later showed up with Rama and Hanuman and killed the hell out of Ravana.

But Ravana "managed to send his life force to another dimension at the moment of death.", not that he has any such ability on his sheet (and he has a lot of abilities!). Ravana was going to attack the Indian gods but was beaten to the punch by the Splugorth, and didn't want to fight both the gods and Splugorth, and has been waiting for the Indian gods for find a new home so he can blow that up. He's really evil and really charming, despite looking like a and yet lacks any real motivation or personality.

80K / 30K, invisible, make zombies, teleport, regen, shapeshift into any form (so I guess he can become a toilet or a tree), all normal spells, knows all magic wards, circles, and symbols (except there are no magic symbols in Rifts), and has all psionic powers (so his power expands a lot depending on how many books you own). He has a bunch of flunky demons and no magic goodies.

If you'd guessed by now the mythological version is more nuanced, you'd be right. In the Ramayana, he's a rakashasa that devotes himself to the gods to gain immunity from divine intervention, then becomes a tyrant that's eventually killed by Vishnu, reincarnating as the mortal Rama to overcome his immunity to godly intervention. In other myths, Ravana is a devotee of the gods and a wise king. Either seems to be more interesting than "he's evil because he's a demon because demons are evil because- um- hm."

Kansa
The Arch-Demon



It’s a demon… possessed by… a demon?

He's the archenemy of Krishna, and tried to murder him a bunch of times, and then Krishna punched him to death. As you may have guessed based on Vritra and Ravana, his hatred was so strong that other demons could put him in a new body (somehow? somehow.), and now he's back and looking to kill Krishna because, I dunno, it says that on his sheet. He was once a man (or at least normaller-looking) but he's pretty unhappy with his hideous demon body.

25K/11K MDC, can fly around, invisibility, BIO-regenerate, teleport, leap real far (who cares? he can fly!), make zombies, and he's a super-thief, a high level spellcaster with summoning and portal spells, and has mind blockin' and all the ESP powers. He apparently has several rune weapons but doesn't use them, because... maybe he’s dumb?

He also has minion demons called Asurkan that his new body is based on, and they like the taste of human / d-bee blood and meat, of course, as humans are the delicacies of the Megaverse. They can fly, turn invisible, set themselves on fire (which resists energy attacks but doesn't actually do damage, for whatever reason), regen slooowly, and teleport badly. They also have some low-level fire and illusion magic. Oh, and you can’t play one, not that you wanted to.

In mythology, he was a demon killed by Vishnu, and after reincarnating as a human, has a prophecy told that the eighth child of his brother would kill him. And so he imprisons his brother with his wife, and they keep making babies and he keeps killing babies, because he apparently he never heard of solitary confinement. He loves his brother too much to kill him, but not his babies. Then the eighth child born was Krishna who would be secreted away, come back, and kill Kansa. The lesson is, as I understand it, is that being Kansa just sucked.

Kumbakarna the Giant


moooortaaall kommmbaaaat

This demon is Ravana's bro, and when he wakes up he's got the devil-munchies and goes around killing and eating until sated (after which he's just a jerk), but right now he's under a magic sleepy spell. But somebody might find his dimensional prison and wake him up, uh-oh!

60k/30k, 50' high, a "12th level warrior" (not a class), regens super-fast, resists energy attacks, immune to psionics, and can blow so hard everything has 50% chance of getting knocked, whether it's a faerie or giant robot. He has no magic or psionic powers, and probably can be punked by a reasonable team of competent wizards as a result.

In mythology, he's Ravana's badass brother who indeed ate a bunch of crap after being magically put to sleep, but honestly wasn't that bad a monster. He was a decent guy on his own, but his warrior's honor forced him to obey his more tyrannical brother. But at the same time, he worked to try and moderate his brother's cruelty.

Man, Hindu mythology is interesting! Too bad they threw so much of it out. :(

Next: Play the tortured soul of the one noble and good (insert species here).

Tasoth
Dec 12, 2011


If I remember correctly, Raksasha society was actually a model one as far as obeying the dictates of the gods go. The problem was that they were royal butts to everyone who wasn't a Raksasha. Except Vibhishana, who wasn't going to be a dick and joined Rama, being given kingship of Lanka after Rama's monkey army got done stomping on it.

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

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



Chapter 2: Great Houses

This chapter gives an overview of the Landsraad and the most powerful Great Houses. It also contains the rules for creating Houses Minor for the player characters, even before we get rules for creating the PCs themselves! This is intentional. The Dune series is very much about interorganizational rivalry, how people are shaped by the backgrounds, and the historical consequences of individual actions, and so Dune is way serious about playing people with meaningful connections instead of a gang of murderous hobos.

Collectively, the Great Houses are the oldest institution in the Imperium, older than the empery, the Guild, and the Bene Gesserit. Each of the Great Houses holds a siridar-fief over a planet they claim as their homeworld, at least one seat in the Landsraad council, and shares in CHOAM, the corporation which controls the Imperial economy. In return, they’re responsible for paying tithes and conscripts, upholding the Great Convention, and good stewardship of any privileges they’ve received from the emperor or CHOAM--additional fiefs, exclusive contracts, board memberships, etc. These interests are often much more important to a House’s power than the resources on their home planet. Arrakis is, of course, the most valuable fiefdom in the known universe.

(You know how on C-SPAN, Congress spends days arguing about what company in what state will get a contract to build $400 million worth of tanks the Army doesn’t need? Multiply that by 100, and you get the Landsraad and CHOAM. But you don’t have to think about all those excruciating details, because this is a story about psychic kung fu masters having knife-fights in the space desert.)


It’s chilly on Caladan.

A Great House has to uphold the Great Convention on its planetary fiefs, but that’s basic stuff like the caste system, general law and order, and the ban on nuclear weapons. While there’s a courtly, cosmopolitan high society that brings the nobles together, that leaves room for vast differences in their philosophies, which are reflected by even vaster differences in the kind of civilization one encounters from planet to planet. A Great House has free rein to make their homeworld a shining meritocracy, a worldwide slave plantation, or a wretched hive of scum and villainy.

Oh, and about that caste system, it’s called the faufreluches* and it governs Imperial society. At the top are the regis-familia, comprised of the Emperor, his court, and all the nobility of the Great and Minor Houses. Below them are na-familia, “named family,” which mostly includes the vassals and personal entourage of the Houses. Hey, wake up! These are your player characters: the swordmasters, mentats, assassins, and other experts who help a House succeed or fail. Characters from the books like Duncan Idaho and Piter de Vries are na-familia. Below them are merchants, artisans, peasants, slaves, and other people who probably won’t be important characters in a Dune game. Exactly what rights are assigned and denied to each caste is detailed in a later chapter.



*The etymology is beyond me; my best guess is a link to “mamluk.”

There are thousands of Great Houses in the Landsraad to represent the thousands of inhabited planets in the Imperium, but most of them are “backbenchers” who have few representatives and meager CHOAM holdings, and throw their vote behind one of the handful of Houses that are the real heavyweights. (This is not an interpretation I like, but I’ll whine more about that later.) The Emperor isn’t bound by Landsraad decisions, but it’s unwise for him to veto all their decisions with complete abandon. The power players of the Landsraad are listed here along with some of their Houses Minor, their ethos, notable members of their entourage, and their views on the other Houses.

A couple of notes: first, the art representing each house is notably bad. It’s well-executed, but it doesn’t illustrate its subjects with any meaning. Second, I thought I was a feminist, but after going through the House descriptions I realized I hadn’t said anything about sex and gender in Dune. The feudal system, even tens of thousands of years in the future, is patriarchal: only men can officially rule a House. However, the Bene Gesserit is an all-female order that literally controls the breeding of royal bloodlines, and more than one siridar-baron has had his own name fade from history because the BG decided he should only sire daughters to be absorbed by another bloodline with compatible genes.


Did you notice my just and honorable stubble?

The Atreides are the siridar-dukes of planet Caladan, an agricultural world known for really good wine. They’re supposedly descended from the mythical Atreus, but their reputation for leadership, courage, and morality is not in dispute. These guys are, like, the Gryffindor of Dune. They’re not a very rich House, but their insistence on just government gets a lot of other Houses to rally behind their political stance.

The Atreides are currently led by Duke Leto Atreides, and his entourage is an all-star team: Thufir Hawat (spymaster and mentat), Warmaster Gurney Halleck (best swordsman ever), swordsmaster Duncan Idaho (second-best swordsman ever), Dr. Yueh (Suk doctor), his concubine Lady Jessica (BG agent), and his son Paul, who was educated by all of these frighteningly competent people.

The Atreides respect the Corrinos while calling for reform, believe the Moritani are corrupt pawns, admire the Tseida and the Wallach, and would like to see all the Harkonnens put down like the venal beasts they are. Atreides Houses Minor include the Demios, Parthenope, and Spiridon.



You bought the Golden Lion Throne from Halloween Express?

The Padishah Emperors of House Corrino still rule the new Imperium they founded about 10,000 years ago. They rule by the maxim that “law is the ultimate science” meaning they’re the most Machiavellian motherfuckers around. You could also say they live by the policy “speak softly and carry a big stick,” because while they prefer to quell discontent with patient diplomacy, their benevolence always carries the implied threat of their unbeatable Sardakuar troops, which they employ only as a last resort. The responsibility of the Golden Lion Throne means that the emperor often has to put the interests of the Landsraad above taking as much as he can for himself, so the Corrinos have to deal with more grumbling from their Houses Minor than any other Great House. There’s a reason why House Corrino endures while its emperors aren’t particularly long-lived.

The current Padishah Emperor is Shaddam IV, whose father, by the way, died from poisoning. His closest advisors include Count Hasimir Fenring, a swordmaster and prodigy of the BG breeding program; Lady Margot, Fenring’s wife and a Bene Gesserit; Gaius Helen Mohiam, his Truthsayer and a Bene Gesserit Reverend Mother, and his five daughters.

The Corrinos admire the Atreides, but consider them enemies. They consider the Harkonnen useful if unreliable pawns, and the Moritani as more reliable pawns. They see the Wallachs as a House they can manipulate. Despite the Tseidas’ reputation for fairness, the Corrinos think of them...well, the way most people think of an organization of lawyers. Corrino Houses Minor include the Aingeru, Evangelos, and Schiavonna.



Baron Harkonnen: Fat.

House Harkonnen was exiled from the Landsraad at its inception, but earned its way back in through a series of business deals so shrewd, and so lucrative, that they eventually not only regained their siridar-barony but forced the other Great Houses to grudgingly award them the fiefdom of Arrakis. So this makes them the scrappy underdog who overcame the odds, right? No. Think more like if Joffrey Baratheon had Draco Malfoy’s baby. From their polluted homeworld of Giedi Prime, the Harkonnens rule a commercial empire based on ruthless exploitation, dehumanizing slavery, and sickening decadence. They’re feared and loathed for their hideous riches and hideous practices, and the Harkonnens, in turn, seem to enjoy being hated by those they consider their natural prey.

The Harkonnen are currently led by Baron Vladimir Harkonnen, a brilliant and megalomaniacal tyrant. He has no heir, probably owing to the fact that he’s a morbidly obese pedophile. His closest advisor is a psychopathic mentat-assassin named Piter de Vries. He’s also supported by his possible heirs, Glossu Rabban, best known for murdering his own father with his bare hands, and Feyd-Rautha, best known for being portrayed by Sting in tiny shiny panties.

The Harkonnens want to kill all the Atreides. Painfully. They conspire with the Corrinos to remove the Atreides, but of course they plan to betray him. They consider the Moritani allies, believing that their vision is limited. They’re suspicious of the Tseida, and hate the Wallachs for supporting the Atreides. Harkonnen Houses Minor include the Ivilonette, Ruymandiaz, and Truscantos.


The Moritani got their fief by guarding Buckingham Palace, I suppose.

Now we get to the Houses that were created for this game! First on deck, the Moritani are descended from an ancient order of assassins. They reached a crisis point when House Ginaz unsuccessfully tried to indict their House for using a fake Suk doctor to assassinate the members of House D’artanna. The Emperor sanctioned a War of Assassins, and the Moritani soon elicited a response along the lines of “Holy loving poo poo” for wiping out House Ginaz, known for producing the best swordmasters in the universe, in record time.

That said, the Moritani don’t seem so bad. Now that they have undisputed control over their home planet of Grumman, they’re mainly focused on putting their house in order, no pun intended. They’re trying to shake their reputation as an assassin cult, but their decision to withdraw from the public eye while they focus on internal development has worked against that effort. Their economic development is accompanied by military buildup, but it seems to be focused on internal security.

The leader of the Moritani is technically Count Ferdinand, but he’s succumbed to dementia and is essentially locked away while his son, na-Count Tycho di Moritani, rules as regent. He’s advised by Delbreth Umbrico, a Swordmaster-Mentat, and his mother Lady Redolyn, a Bene Gesserit trainee. Tycho has his own appointed advisor, a “tall, swarthy monolith” named Pradisek, who probably wears a turban and calls himself a vizier. Tycho also has two sisters who are all too aware that if anything happens to Tycho, one of them could birth the Moritani heir.

The Moritani regard the Atreides as “friends of our enemies.” They’re grateful to the Emperor for allowing their revenge, but that doesn’t mean they’re dumb enough to trust him. They look for ways to manipulate the Harkonnens and the Wallach, and they’re on friendly terms with the Tseida, whom they trust to represent them. Moritani Houses Minor include the Laurentii, Kazimierz, and Prinzporio, all of which are renowned for being difficult to type.



I’m Leonard J. Crabs, and I approve this box of flashing shapes and colors.

House Tseida is also called the House of the Phoenix, and they’re a weird bird. The House actually evolved out of a highly bureaucratic theocracy which enforced the Butlerian prohibitions with extreme prejudice, and emerged as a Great House with the help of the then-Emperor and the Spacing Guild. They are, to put it bluntly, a House comprised of lawyers, who transformed their ancient bureaucracy into a service-based economy centered on legal services. If you’re a badass Swordmaster Assassin but today you have to attend a CHOAM board meeting to argue over all that boring C-SPAN bullshit I warned you about, you want to hire a Tseida diplomat. Otherwise the Harkonnens will sue the space-pants off of you and you’ll have no place to hide your space-daggers. The Tseida have strong ties with the Spacing Guild, from whom they learned to develop a facade of political neutrality. Well, in fact they do seem to be politically neutral on issues besides “We should make poo poo-tons of spice-dollars.”

The Tseida are currently ruled by the Marquise Catriona Tseida, who acts as regent until her nephew Iorgu is of legal age. She is advised by her mother Ilema (who is a Bene Gesserit like all the other politically powerful moms), a Mentat-Suk named Dorian Mu, and Hiro Okusa, a crotchety Swordmaster who carries around a blunt kendo stick to beat people with. Iorgu is being trained by all these people as well as his aunt Catriona, who helps him spy on court affairs.

The Tseida are on friendly terms with the Atreides and Wallach. All their interactions with the Moritani come with a “don’t blame us, we’re just their lawyers” disclaimer. They’re on good terms with the Emperor but don’t like him meddling in their affairs, and dislike the Harkonnen propensity for slippery legal schemes. Tseida Houses Minor include the Ikeni, Sunnivas, and Wyrkiru.



The Moritani assassins are no match for our SCUBA LASERS!

House Wallach is relatively young at only 5,000 years old, but they were founded by an extraordinarily loyal and successful Imperial general. Their founder, Maximillian Banarc, was so grateful to receive the fiefdom of Wallach VII that he named his newfound House after it. The Wallachs have mellowed to become a House of even-tempered scholar-soldiers, but their military tradition (and their ties to the Emperor) remain strong enough that they send their scions to be trained on Salusa Secundus. They also benefit from a close, mysterious relationship with the Bene Gesserit, who accepted the offer to headquarter their order on Wallach IX.

The leader of the Wallachs is Baron Wolfram von Wallach, a contemplative old soldier who, when not practicing statecraft, spends his time writing his memoirs and beating up his soldiers three at a time. Gotta keep fit, you know. The old general has sired many children, but currently claims Christhaad von Silgaimar as his only heir. His entourage includes his concubine, Lady Gersha, who is the mother of his son and a very gifted architect. Ha ha, just kidding, she’s a Bene Gesserit. He also has Olifer Mangrove, a Mentat with a silly name.

The Wallachs are decent guys, all told. They’re friendly to the Atreides and the Corrino, cordial with the Tseida, and they despise the Harkonnen and the Moritani. Wallach Houses Minor include the Brugge, Ottovaar, and Roinesprit.

House Minor Creation

Houses Minor are lesser branches of a Great House who manage regions of the parent House’s homeworld and/or subsidiaries of their CHOAM interests. They answer to the planetary law of their homeworld, and form a planetary “Sysselraad” that answers to their parent House. And, of course, they squabble among themselves for a greater share of the power, wealth, and influence controlled by the Great House that spawned them.

The rules for House Minor creation are pretty simple, and really aren’t hampered by not having created characters or seen the rules for using the House traits yet. They are hampered by being haphazardly explained. A House Minor has 8 traits. First is Holdings, consisting of Fiefdom and Title, both rated 1-5. Then comes Renown and Assets, which are rated differently. Last are the four House Attributes, also rated 1-5, and each of which includes two sub-attributes, or edges.





Fiefdom determines the size of your fief, from a city district to a continental “subfief.”

Title is the rank of the head of your House, ranging from magistrate to Baron. What’s the value of being a Baron rather than a Magistrate? Unexplained!

Renown is your House’s fame and prestige. It affects your interactions with other Houses, including a roll just to see if anyone’s even heard of you. Renown starts at 1, and can’t be increased at creation.

Assets covers anything you can leverage to succeed in a venture, including not only cash, but things like favours from Guild bureaucrats and expendable sleeper agents. We’ll use these to initiate “House Ventures” during downtime between sessions. Assets starts at 10, and will fluctuate up and down depending on our success.

Status is your “privilege and favour” with your governing Great House, and determines your ability to undermine rival Houses Minor or get support for your ventures from your Great House. Status is divided between Aegis and Favour, which are not explained.

Wealth measures your overall financial resources, including cash, revenues, investments, infrastructure, contracts, everything. It’s divided between Holdings and Stockpiles, again unexplained.

Influence is your political sway among both fellow nobles and your subjects. It’s divided between Authority and Popularity which are unexplained but at least fairly self-explanatory.

Security is the power of your army and your intelligence network. It’s divided between Military and Intelligence, also unexplained, but also self-explanatory.

Creating a House is actually pretty easy. After choosing a Great House, a name, and a rough idea of your background, you pick from one of several archetypes, which gives you a package of Attributes. Then you get 15 development points to spend. Fief and Title are purchased up from 0 on a one-for-one basis. Increasing an Attribute costs five points, while increasing an Edge costs 3 points. (It appears your Edges can be +/-1 of the base Attribute.) Any leftovers go into your Assets.

House Defender: Champions the Great House philosophy and defends them at personal cost. Status 3, Wealth 2, Influence 2, Security 3 (Military +1)

House Favourite: Implements Great House policy with great enthusiasm, supporting the status quo and earning political favor. Status 3 (Favor +1), Wealth 2, Influence 3 (Popularity -1), Security 2.

House Pretender: Goes along with the current political trends, hoping to replace the ruling House if the line should fail. Status 2 (Favor -1), Wealth 3 (Holdings +1), Influence 3 (Popularity +1, Authority -1), Security 2.

House Pawn: Slavishly supports the Great House, hoping to earn favour through unwavering support. Status 4 (Aegis +1), Wealth 2, Influence 2 (Popularity -1), Security 1.

House Reformer: Supports reform out of a genuine belief in changing things for the better. Status 2 (Favor -1), Wealth 2 (Stockpiles -1), Influence 3 (Popularity +1, Authority +1), Security 3.

House Sleeper: Secretly supports another Great House, undermining its parent House from within. Status 2, Wealth 3 (Stockpiles +1), Influence 2 (Authority -1, Popularity -1), Security 3 (Intelligence +1).



So, uh, how is it possible to have both edges at +1 or -1? Can you take a -1 to get points to spend elsewhere? What’s the difference between Status 2 (Favor -1) and Status 1 (Aegis +1)? I have no loving idea.

Setting the mechanics aside, I really don't like this interpretation of how Houses Minor work. It's canon that there are many inhabited worlds in the Imperium and each Great House has a homeworld, but not, if I recall, that almost every inhabitable planet has a Great House or that Houses Minor are bound to their patron's homeworld, especially when the degree of their nobility ranges down to being magistrates of city districts. So there are thousands of Great Houses, only a handful of whom really matter, but all of them and their extended families are part of the highest caste? If I can be a distant relative of the Emperor and just be a civil servant in Space Pittsburgh? What does that mean for the Houses Minor of one of a thousand insignificant Great Houses? The ostensible purpose of these assumptions is to allow the PCs leeway to adventure all over the Imperium--even in the book, Duke Leto spends a lot of time in meetings--but I think the purpose would have been served just as well by saying that the Houses Minor govern planets or companies of their own.



Houses Minor are the nadir of Imperial nobility, but they're still wealthy beyond the dreams of the common people, and they more-or-less conduct themselves like miniature versions of the Great Houses. They have to steward their resources shrewdly or come to ruin, and a lot of that responsibility falls upon the House Vassals, the royal entourage of experts who are situated below the regis-familia and above whole agencies of professionals, soldiers, and laborers. The nobles and the House Vassals are the PCs.

There are three basic divisions of a House’s administration. Honestly, they give you more detail than necessary, but it’s useful for players who want to know where they fit into the House and ignorable for those who don’t. First is House Affairs, which covers fief government, representation in the Sysselraad, and managing the royal household and their retainers. The first two are boring C-SPAN crap, but the last is about making sure your kitchen staff don’t poison your Caladanian wine and your valet doesn’t plant a killer drone in the nursery. (I really, really wish they’d just state this bluntly, but that’s why Houses are riddled with Bene Gesserit although it’s an open secret they have agendas of their own. The BG is a clan of lady space ninjas. You’re a noble in a Byzantine space empire where cold-blooded murder is legal and your enemies want to knife your heirs in their cribs. Solution? Marry a lady space ninja.)

Mercantile Enterprises is straightforward. Managing agriculture, mining, manufacturing, service-based industries, managing CHOAM holdings, paying tithes to your Great House, meeting production quotas, more C-SPAN crap.

Household Security, ooh, that’s the good stuff. This overlaps with House Affairs, since it covers both military and intelligence operations ranging from your Warmaster conducting full-scale land war all the way down to your Swordmaster training your personal bodyguard. Houses Minor only rarely declare war on each other, but they do sometimes have to quell rebellion. Intelligence networks, on the other hand, are needed by every House, managed by Spymasters and Masters of Assassins.


Next time, on Dune: Swordmaster 4/Mentat 3/Assassin 3/Arcane Archer 5

Humbug Scoolbus
Apr 25, 2008

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


Clapping Larry

Alien Rope Burn posted:

[So, then, what's the difference between a demon and a god?

Branding :colbert:

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:

We're told the "Hindu's term for demons is 'asuras'", basically hey hate mortals and are always fightin' the Indian gods, though sometimes the war is cold. It notes the Rakasha (from the Rifts Conversion Book) are also demons. Of course the real Asuras are more complicated in mythology, more akin to earthly or material spirits who were later demonized as sort of a force opposed to the gods. But yes, here they're just generic evil, genericing it up.
Asuras are always angry at the gods because Vishnu cheated them out of Amrita, the nectar of immortality, after they did the most dangerous part of churning the Sea of Milk. They haven't been on good terms with the devas ever since.

Dairy products are really important in Hindu mythology.

They're often called the "jealous gods," because they are celestial in nature but not above the pettier passions of human nature the way the greater gods are.

occamsnailfile
Nov 4, 2007



zamtrios so lonely

Grimey Drawer

Cardiovorax posted:

Asuras are always angry at the gods because Vishnu cheated them out of Amrita, the nectar of immortality, after they did the most dangerous part of churning the Sea of Milk. They haven't been on good terms with the devas ever since.

Dairy products are really important in Hindu mythology.

They're often called the "jealous gods," because they are celestial in nature but not above the pettier passions of human nature the way the greater gods are.

All this talk is making me wish there was an Indian-mythology supplement that wasn't Arrows of Indra, oy.

AmiYumi
Oct 10, 2005

I FORGOT TO HAIL KING TORG


It is baffling how much more accurate to the mythology Shin Megami Tensei interpretations of these deities are than the Rifts versions.

theironjef
Aug 11, 2009

The archmage of unexpected stinks.



Episode 17 of System Mastery is now live. We discuss Don't Look Back: Terror is Never Far Behind. It's the weirdest resolution system I've ever seen, certainly the first one that requires the players to determine absolute values of skill rolls. Fun times. Well no. No fun times. http://systemmasterypodcast.com/2014/04/22/system-mastery-17-dont-look-back-terror-is-never-far-behind/

Kaza42
Oct 3, 2013

Blood and Souls and all that

Well, it's been two months, so I guess it's time for some more

Death and Resurrection
Many RPGs, especially fantasy games, have ways for characters to come back from the dead. Given that this game deals with real-world religions and beliefs, it's going to be tricky to handle the afterlife and resurrection without offending anyone. Bear in mind that the author identifies as an atheist. Now, with that introduction, let's dig in!
What happens to you when you die depends on your beliefs. Theists go to heaven or hell, based on their virtue. Atheists just stay dead, but can be cryonically preserved and revived with mad science. Buddhists and other characters of eastern philosophy may reincarnate after death. In order to get around the issue of adventuring with a baby who doesn't even have a PhD yet, the game offers this loophole:

quote:

Characters are not necessarily resurrected in a temporally linear way; a character's reincarnation may be walking around years or decades before they even die, conveniently allowing them to meet up with the rest of the party at an age where they can participate in the adventure.
So, let's just acknowledge that buddhism and other non-western relgions/philosophies are going to be footnotes at best and examine what happens to theists (which are apparently all abrahamic and believe in heaven and hell). If you go to Heaven, your allies can bargain directly with God, who will agree to bring you back to life in exchange for a certain number of good deeds. If you go to Hell, your allies can just buy your soul back from the Devil for just straight money.
It is at this point that I recall a passage from earlier in the book, in the summary of Apologists.

quote:

APOLOGISTS try to rationalize faith in God to an ever more dubious world. In their spare time, they act as the healers of most parties. When their faith is strong, they can be one of the team's most important spellcasters, but when they lose faith due to repeated rational attacks, their power goes with it. Most likely cause of death: caught between horns of trilemma.
WHY IS THE WORLD "EVER MORE DUBIOUS"!? Hell, why are there any atheists at all? There is literal, definite proof of the existence of God in this setting. He works actual, verifiable miracles, brings souls back from the dead, enacts laws on the world that are enforced, and apparently is free to chat with anybody who asks! :psyduck:
While most games written by atheists tend to treat religion in a dismissive fashion that is at best moderately offensive, this game has managed to be both dismissive of religion AND clearly stating that it is correct. Maybe this is why there are no non-christian religions in the world? If anyone can just call up God and the Devil, then the world would come down to Christians (assuming that God confirms Christianity is the correct religion) and people who don't want to worship God. The only way Agnostics or Atheists make sense in this world is if they are either undecided or unwilling to OBEY God, rather than being undecided/against the EXISTENCE of God.


So, in this sub-chapter alone the game about philosophy and rational debate has decisively ended any questions regarding the existence of God. While this may leave more room for other discussions, it's a shame that a game where abstract concepts are able to effect the real world and your skill at philosophy and rationality are powerful weapons doesn't really include one of the biggest such debates from the real world. Still, I feel the need to say that for all it's flaws, I still find this a charming game (albeit one solidly written from a West Coast Sheltered Academic standpoint). Hopefully the next section (Spells) will make up for what has come before it. Be prepared for puns, obscure math/physics references, bafflingly narrow use cases, a political class that pokes fun at nearly everyone while making them feel correct, and the Become Pope spell. Hopefully sooner than two months.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


Cardiovorax posted:

They're often called the "jealous gods," because they are celestial in nature but not above the pettier passions of human nature the way the greater gods are.

Yeah. The contemporary version seems to paint them as sinful spirits embodying the negative sides of emotion, but that's still more interesting than "supernatural evil what is evil because hell". Of course, historically they're much more varied - even some gods like Varuna were originally labelled Asura before the term became, well, demonized.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


Rifts Conversion Book 2: Pantheons of the Megaverse: Part 22: "In modern times, a Dakini might take on the appearance of a prostitute, murdering would-be customers."

Nagas (Optional R.C.C.)


Supernatural creature + gun = instant Rifts!

Nagas are snaky folk that apparently love lakes and rivers and hate deserts, and a lot of them serve Indian gods or demons, though some of them follow the Aztec gods. They aren't necessarily evil or good, and used to live on Earth, but left when the magic went away. But now they're comin' back, because who doesn’t like a good post-apocalyptic hellscape with innumerable warring factions?

As characters, they're mainly strong, agile, and fast, but have good attributes overall. They're about as tough as an armored human, get great senses, swim 80% (so does that mean that 1 time out of 5 jumps in a lake they drown?), climb really well, regenerate slow, and have a bite that slows people down. Most are warriors (doesn't seem efficient for a society, but wh'ev), the next chunk are spellcasters, and fewer numbers are builders, farmers, or laborers. But they all know how to fight.

Daityas (Optional R.C.C.)


Project Runway got a little weirder after the apocalypse.

These are a evil mer-people that live an underwater city called Hiranyapura which can teleport anywhere and travel between dimensions, so don't be surprised when a city lands on your bedroom. They're supposedly like gargoyles in that they're associated with demons, but aren't really demons. They disdain technology, because they're idiots in that sense, I guess. Oh, and they're slavers and get along with the Splugorth because slavers love competition and middle(mer)men, I suppose.

You can play a average daitya or a royal daitya. What's the difference? Well, royal daitya are smarter, more determined, stronger, prettier, faster, are twice as magical, get a magic bracelet that lets them fly, and have five times the hit points of average daitya. Because gently caress balance, yeah? "But", some of you familiar with Palladium may ask, "Certainly average daitya must level faster, right?" Nope. They level at the same rate.

Otherwise, they have undersea senses, are "powerful swimmers" but have no Swim skill, are resistant to cold and poison and pressure, get some basic psionic powers, have a weak bite, and have scratchy shark-skin that does S.D.C. damage, which is a bit pointless when they can just bite a human in half top to bottom with their teeth.

Dakini
Servants of Kali (optional R.C.C.)



Well, at least if it chases you... high heels, huh?

These are blood-suppin' monsters that serve Kali and like causing pain and trouble and inconvenience, you know the drill by now. They can shapechange to look like beautiful women, but are terrible conversationalists and generally reveal their demonic nature after only brief chats. Also sometimes they disguise themeselves as whooores and chomp a john. A monster that turns itself into a beautiful woman to murder men walks into a bar… stop me if you’ve heard this one before.

Oh, and you can play a "super rare!" good one, though the rest of your race will hate you (despite having no way to sense alignment) and try and kill you and you have to drink terrible-tasting animal blood. Also psi-stalkers are your "natural enemies", but dakini can kick the poo poo out of your average psi-stalker, so I wouldn't sweat it too much.

They're strong, tough, agile, and pretty (even without their disguise?). They're middlingly tough for supernatural creatures, regen slowly, can regrow limbs, resist fire damage, turn invisible, speak any language, and turn into a human woman. Also they have long claws and a bunch of survival skills.

Kravyads The Devourers

No art for pigs.

These are "hulking humanoids with boar-like tusks", so Indian orcs, and they love eating human flesh, which makes me think they have a really limited palate. Some enterprising human needs to introduce them to a bacon explosion or a double down, I think they'd love those. They're just kind of dumb, strong mooks. Unlike the other creatures here, you're apparently not allowed to play these because they're too dumb and savage, but their average Intelligence is 4.5, which is about as smart as the bottom 2% of the perfectly playable Palladium humans.

So, average M.D.C. for a supernatural critter, they can see in the dark, turn invisible (again? it's like every supernatural creature says "gently caress light"), regens slow, regrows limbs, takes half damage from energy, and knows all languages. THey also have claws and tusks and are skilled in wilderness stuff, except for land navigation of 45%, so they're lost about half the time.

Next: The Evil Immortals!... you know, different than all the evil immortals previously mentioned.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


Rifts Conversion Book 2: Pantheons of the Megaverse: Part 23: "Creearg is becoming progressively more murderous and short-tempered - he is through taking crap from anybody."

The Evil Immortals


Why have one neck when you can buy them in bulk?

This is a group of Neuron Beasts (see my writeup of the Rifts Sourcebook) that have been mistaken for the Indian deities because they have... uh... four arms? One might think their lack of legs might be a tipoff from most depictions of Indian deities, but... maybe all the depictions were blown up by ley lines or a wizard or a wizard on ley lines. (But then, how would they know about the bonus arms, etc…) And so they formed the fake pantheon known as the Evil Immortals. That's right, they put "Evil" in their name, because they learned their organizational skills from sixties supervillains, I suppose. They're led by "Shiva the Annihilator", a neuron beast who is actually the pawn of Devy'Orhal, an alien intelligence. They're afraid of real gods, but hunt down vampires to "eliminate the competition".

There are 17 evil immortals, all of which who gain bonus power from Devy'Orhal (though they don't know that). Instead, they're told to go around and build cults and mysterious pyramids but have no clue of Shiva and Devy’Orhal’s secret plan-

-wait, what the gently caress? Neuron beasts have an Intelligence of 30, which is the maximum Intelligence you can have in Rifts. So what I'm hearing is 16 of the smartest creatures on the planet, gifted with ESP and wizardry, can't put two and two together. I don't care how supposedly scared they are of Shiva the Annilhilator, they can work this out. :arghfist:

So the Evil Immortals are regular neuron beasts with bigger numbers, mainly in their physical attributes, MDC, PPE, and ISP. Shiva has even bigger numbers, like 1873 M.D.C., probably determined from a dartboard. Oh, and Shiva's real name is "Creearg", which I think was also determined from a dartboard. A dartboard with letters on it.

Then we have Devy'Orhal, who is an alien intelligence locked up in the same place as Ahirman, and he wants to build an empire using magic pyramids to tear India from the Earth’s dimensional pull and make it a transdimensional hell like the Yucatan (see Rifts World Book 1: Vampire Kingdoms). It's evil, sadistic, bloodthirsty, etc. 65K MDC, invisibility, half energy damage, regeneration, can "create 6 essence fragments", knows all spell, elemental, and necromantic spells, all ESP powers, and can make a psychic sword, and and and it looks like a giant twelve-legged spider with clampy claws on the end and its head on the underside.

This is probably the worst of the fake pantheons, and a sour note to end on for the Indian pantheons... seriously, four arms, that’s all it takes?.. yeah. It’s pretty :effort:

Next: Gods of Maritime Gangsters!

occamsnailfile
Nov 4, 2007



zamtrios so lonely

Grimey Drawer

Rifts Conversion Book 2: Pantheons of the Megaverse: Part 24: "Together, the Aesir and the Vanir are called Asgardians, after their home dimension of Asgard"

Norse myth is taught far less often in schools but probably beats out Greek for gamer-culture love. After all, they were fierce warrior-gods of the Vikings, while the Greeks just had all those lousy philosophers. The Norse pantheon as we generally know of it consisted of two pantheons that had a war and joined together--this happens a lot in myths I guess, as tribal groups collected the gods of their neighbors. Anyway the two here are the Aesir (generally war gods) who had subdued the Vanir (generally fertility gods).

One famous myth of Norse mythology is that of Ragnarok, the final conflict when all the gods get up and fight all the monsters and all of them all die. Strangely enough, the time of Rifts is not considered to have been that time. I suppose that’s because the Asgardians all lived and Earth is pretty far from repopulated which is something the myth specified would happen. Instead, having seen the massive destruction wrought by the Mechanoids, Odin fears they might be the true face of the flood, since Fenrir and the Midgard serpent aren’t two-legged and could ally with them.

The Asgardians also conflicted with the Greeks during the Roman conquest of Germany, where Thor and Herakles had a fight and Thor lost, thus permitting Roman conquest. :iamafag: Later the Norse attacked Olympus directly when the Romans started being all Christian and then decided that destroying them would grind both pantheons to dust, so they’ve never spoken again. They also fought the Celtic gods and mostly lost (somehow; the numbers don’t back this up) during the Viking raids on Ireland and England, and got kicked firmly the hell out of North America by Native American deities not appearing in this book.

This section suggests godly involvement in human affairs for a very long time past when the setting states such would not have been possible, along with suggesting that human history was ultimately settled by these huge assholes wrestling in the sky as a literal thing. Let’s just say it’s kind of problematic for a number of reasons.

Also the Norse hate the Splugorth because the Splugorth try to raid Asgard, they hate vampires because they are too boring to suffer unliving, and they like warriors.

Odin the All-Father

Odin was a fairly typical leader-father-god figure, fickle and difficult to please for long. Even his most fervent worshippers couldn’t trust him completely. He hung himself from Yggdrasil the world-tree for nine days and gave up one eye to gain immense mystical knowledge. In recent years he’s become obsessed with Ragnarok, since he knows it’s his doom/destiny to die in battle that way. To his thinking, the time of rifts was in fact simply heralding the battle to come, rather than being the end in and of itself as many humans see it. He was also alarmed by the arrival of the Four Horsemen in Africa because A) he knew about that and B) he is totally into the bible man. It mentions they were “stopped by other means,” and I can’t recall if there’s mention of that anywhere else--it seems like something that would have stood out to me.


an insufficiency of legs

God numbers: 86K/17.2K MDC, 20th level line walker, diabolist, shifter, necromancer (‘rarely uses it’), and temporal wizard. Super-keen vision, turn dead, higher regeneration than average, a big paragraph about his shapeshifting that’s like all the other shapeshifting gods, and it mentions that he can speak and read all languages twice. Can summon 4D6 Valkyries per minute, and has an army of over 10,000. That’s a lot of minutes of summoning. Also can call up several hundred thousand warriors of Valhalla in a few weeks. I don’t think they think about these abilities that they offhandedly mention at all. In Rifts, several hundred thousand of anything with MDC is extremely powerful, since despite their big numbers, even god-figures like these are tied to a set of rules with strictly limited attack numbers and defenses. In England, Bres having an army of Formorians had a similar effect, in that his stupid giants outnumbered all the other populations of the island combined.

They also do Odin’s special magical gear, like his chainmail! Wait what? It has 2,000 MDC for whatever reason. Then there’s Gungnir the spear of course, and it is ‘so powerful it can shatter other weapons, even enchanted ones’ :smuggo: Does boom-gun damage, double to the usual evil suspects and triple to giants, especially Norse giants. It can auto-hit once per round, and this seems to be possible to combine with its special weapon-breaking attack which is normally -3 to hit--you have to make a save vs. magic at 16 or higher or your poo poo breaks, magic and holy weapons get +2 and lesser rune weapons get +6. Greater and above rune weapons can’t be broken but may be disarmed. Gungnir also casts some magical teleportation spells because ??

There’s also the ring Draupnir which grants some bonuses to saving throws and makes nine copies of itself every ninth night, which all work identically but don’t make further copies. And there’s Odin’s throne, which can be used for scrying across any dimensional space that isn’t protected against such. The author (presumably Carella) likes Odin a lot, you can tell. His horse and ravens are also individually statted.

Sleipnir is an eight-legged horse, son of a great horse and Loki who had transformed himself into a mare. You know, these things happen. 2K MDC, runs/flies 150 MPH which isn’t all that impressive. They also mention Odin’s ravens but not their names (Huginn and Muninn with some variations on spelling) and they fly around spying for their master, and also giving hints and guiding people around though they rarely speak. They’re weak enough to blast into a puff of feathers with one shot of a pretty powerful weapon but that’s just not sporting.


Tyr

I’m really surprised they didn’t mention Thor next. Tyr is a god of the inflexible-code kind of justice, giver of laws and binder of oaths. He will always keep his word, he’s very dour, and his code of honor has not been updated since its genesis among Norse tribesmen. So human sacrifice and duels to the death are fine, though what we know of Viking law was more enlightened than most ‘historical’ RPGs are willing to understand. Tyr most famously lost his hand when the gods were trying to bind Fenrir the wolf--Fenrir agreed to the binding only if one of the gods would put a hand in his mouth, and Tyr agreed. When they broke the bargain to release the wolf, it bit off Tyr’s hand. He has not replaced it with some kind of rune-cybernetics or anything and this seems like a tragic missed opportunity in the zany world of Rifts.

Numbers-wise, he’s 50K/10K, “Principled (but violent, brutal and deadly)”, warrior and sorcerer with most of the usual god-abilities at 80-98%. He’s mostly solitary, no armies of ghost warriors, but he does have his Silver Spear which is telepathically linked to Heimdall (not sure if typo or some mythical connection I forgot about), 2D6x10 damage and magically returning, casts some spells. And an Axe of justice that just barely manages to fit its 6D6 damage on the one line of the page they had left.


Thor Odinson

I don’t know why they had to list this epithet in the title heading. All the Norse gods had tons of them. The text asserts that Thor was the most popular historically. I really don’t know if this is true, it’s plausible. He is brave, straightforward and brutal, a perfect Norseman in other words. Plus he wasn’t all grim like his brother Tyr, he drank and feasted and otherwise partied hard. Thor is not always the sharpest knife in the drawer, however, and his temper and impulsiveness could get him into trouble, especially when Loki was involved. Thor “often travels to Rifts Earth, seeking new challenges.” :ohdear:

He dislikes magicians because they don’t fight properly up in each others’ faces, has 56.5K MDC, and is again 20th level. Siembieda or somebody seems to use 20th level as some kind of ‘uber-maximum’ for beings beyond mortal ken, it’s just weird since there’s no rules support for it but he won’t just say ‘max-level warrior’ or something. Thor has a specific physical weakness as well, which is that he has a fragment of whetstone embedded in his skull from a fight, and hitting him in just the right spot (-4) can knock off two of his attacks and leave him generally at -2 for 3D4 rounds. That’s actually a pretty serious downside.

Otherwise regular god stuff, until we get to Mjolnir, his hammer, which is as long as most of the rest of his statblock combined. Basically it’s a warhammer with a short handle, a defect in its creation. Otherwise it does a lot of things: Is indestructible, 4D6x10 MDC, double to a lot of supernaturals and evils, including gargoyles for some reason. It can auto-hit 4X daily, call lightning, and gets really hot when it returns so you better be wearing special gloves. Thor’s belt of might is also mentioned, and it adds 55 MD to all his attacks, as are his gloves that let him catch the hammer and hold rune weapons of opposing alignment if he wanted. :shrug:


that cool guy on the cover, that was a trick. what you actually get is kevin long thor.

That’s probably enough for one long post. Those three are pretty major in Norse myth and Rifts hasn’t really done them any wrong.

theironjef
Aug 11, 2009

The archmage of unexpected stinks.



Alien Rope Burn posted:

This is probably the worst of the fake pantheons, and a sour note to end on for the Indian pantheons... seriously, four arms, that’s all it takes?.. yeah. It’s pretty :effort:

Next: Gods of Maritime Gangsters!

On the other hand, this is a rare occurence of new art for an old Rifts monster. I figure that the new artists hate having to look at one old lovely comic-book muscle picture with a sea urchin for a head for reference and just say "gently caress it, I'm inventing the Quick-Flex Alien." So generally, they draw one pencil piece once and then never revisit that species again, from Azverkan to Zem'bahk. Go Neuron Beasts! Maybe next week we'll see another drawing of a Witchling or a Hawrk'Duk.

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.

occamsnailfile posted:

That’s probably enough for one long post. Those three are pretty major in Norse myth and Rifts hasn’t really done them any wrong.
Do they mention that Thor is a fertility god, not a god of war, and that Mjöllnir is a metaphor for his penis? Because that's what everybody gets wrong.

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

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

So what's the significance of that part of the myth where the handle's too short?

Rulebook Heavily
Sep 18, 2010

by FactsAreUseless


Cardiovorax posted:

Do they mention that Thor is a fertility god, not a god of war, and that Mjöllnir is a metaphor for his penis? Because that's what everybody gets wrong.

They may not be mentioning that because that's utterly wrong and Thor was absolutely a god of joy in battle. (And also fertility. He could be both. But mostly the former.)

Seriously, I'm seeing this misapprehension more lately. Where is it even coming from?

e: Like newsflash, here's how the Norse depicted a penis:



This is Freyr. gently caress phallic symbolism, just slap a dong on him if that's what you want to say.

Rulebook Heavily fucked around with this message at 14:54 on Apr 28, 2014

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

FATAL & Friends
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Cardiovorax posted:

Do they mention that Thor is a fertility god, not a god of war, and that Mjöllnir is a metaphor for his penis? Because that's what everybody gets wrong.

...okay, I am pretty sure you want to cite this because the Norse did have a phallic fertility god but that dude's name was Freyr, I am pretty sure.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


theironjef posted:

On the other hand, this is a rare occurence of new art for an old Rifts monster. I figure that the new artists hate having to look at one old lovely comic-book muscle picture with a sea urchin for a head for reference and just say "gently caress it, I'm inventing the Quick-Flex Alien." So generally, they draw one pencil piece once and then never revisit that species again, from Azverkan to Zem'bahk. Go Neuron Beasts! Maybe next week we'll see another drawing of a Witchling or a Hawrk'Duk.

Yeah, I had to go back and make sure that was a new piece of art, and it certainly is! A few older races keep getting revised, like the Simvan or Brodkil or Xixitetechxixcivccxxx. The Sowki get a fair amount of love in this book, for whatever reason. But most are just fired and forgotten. Heck, some poor saps, like the Kravyads above, don't even get one piece of art.

Regarding the Quick-Flex, I admit that if I had a chance to make game material out of random Jim Lawson doodles, I'd totally do that, so that gets a pass as far as I'm concerned. But there's a later race that gets invented because they had art of some random D-bee by Tim Truman originally used way, way back in the original corebook, but they were never statted, so then they become an official race around forty or fifty books into the game line. Talk about scraping that barrel clean!

Alien Rope Burn fucked around with this message at 15:02 on Apr 28, 2014

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


Whups, double-posted, so instead I'll also point out with three Thor illustrations, I can only imagine there was some jockeying to see who got to be the "real" Thor artist. The coolest is Zeleznik, but I imagine because gods can't be cyborgs, it didn't fly for Siembieda.

Alien Rope Burn fucked around with this message at 15:06 on Apr 28, 2014

unseenlibrarian
Jun 4, 2012

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

Alien Rope Burn posted:

Whups, double-posted, so instead I'll also point out with three Thor illustrations, I can only imagine there was some jockeying to see who got to be the "real" Thor artist. The coolest is Zeleznik, but I imagine because gods can't be cyborgs, it didn't fly for Siembieda.

Poor Nuada Airgetlám, he -can't exist-.

theironjef
Aug 11, 2009

The archmage of unexpected stinks.



Alien Rope Burn posted:

Regarding the Quick-Flex, I admit that if I had a chance to make game material out of random Jim Lawson doodles, I'd totally do that, so that gets a pass as far as I'm concerned. But there's a later race that gets invented because they had art of some random D-bee by Tim Truman originally used way, way back in the original corebook, but they were never statted, so then they become an official race around forty or fifty books into the game line. Talk about scraping that barrel clean!

I've always wondered if the Quick-Flex was even supposed to be a d-bee. Like I picture Simbieda (I think he's got primary credit for Coalition War Campaign) looking at a stack of Jim Lawson and Ramon Perez pieces and getting to that guy. "Huh, he's got a bunch of crosses and chains all over him, so I guess maybe he's some kind of holy man biker? Forgot to draw a nose though. I'll just add a few slits here, and boom, D-Bee!"

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Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


I dread the idea that I'll get far enough in Rifts books to cover Coalition War Campaign.

Though it's not a D-bee, one of my favorite artistic foibles was in an upcoming book where there's a juicer NPC, and so to illustrate this juicer NPC, Siembieda literally takes one of Long's pieces, redraws the hair, adds some bullet scars to his armor, credits it to "Long / Siembieda" and calls it a day.

It becomes pretty clear why Kevin Long quit / was fired after awhile*.

* Whether or not Long was quit or fired is unclear, since folks at Palladium can never make up their mind on what happened.

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