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Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

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



Chapter 3, Part 2: How to Succeed in Kanly without really trying

I don’t think you can really grasp how a game handles characters by just reading through its character creation chapter, so I am making a couple of Dune characters. However, I am creating these characters before going through the next chapter, which details all of the traits and what they do.

Herbert wanted to portray a far future in which cultures from our history had synthesized beyond our imagining, so the Atreides entourage features characters with names like Duncan Idaho, Thufir Hawat, and Wellington Yueh. True to form, my characters have randomly generated and mismatched names.

House Minor Creation

First, we will generate a House Minor! The Imperium is a huge Byzantine space empire of intrigue, treachery, and naked greed, so what better choice than the most Machiavellian and Shakespearean House, the Moritani? The name of our House Minor is Mori, which is a coincidence. It came up as a randomly generated name for one of our characters, and true to Dune’s ethos, I like that it is ambiguously both Italian and Japanese.

House Mori is an ancient distaff line of the Moritani. Publicly, they’re very much onboard with the new Moritani way, leaving behind their history of treachery in order to focus on economic expansion. Privately, they’re well aware that the Count’s household is a mess, and not content to hope and pray that things will work out. They’re securing their holdings and long-term investments against misfortune, and cultivating their intelligence assets against infiltration by other Houses. Based on this backstory I just made up, I’ll pick the House Pretender archetype--a House that goes along with popular political trends, tries to expand its influence, and is poised to take over the Great House’s title if it collapses. That gives us these stats:

quote:

Status: 2
Wealth: 3 (Holdings +1)
Influence: 3 (Popularity +1, Authority -1)
Security: 2

Renown: 1
Assets: 10

We have 15 Development points with which to purchase a title, a fiefdom, and to improve these stats. (5 points per Attribute, 3 points per edge, Renown starts at 1 and can’t be raised, while leftovers go into Assets.) It doesn’t explain to us why it’s better, mechanically, to be a lord rather than a lowly magistrate, or to control an entire province instead of a city. It also still doesn’t explicitly define the Attribute edges, and skimming the later chapters hasn’t helped me. Oh, well. Spending my points, I get these final stats for my House Minor:

quote:

Name: Mori
Ancestry: Moritani
Homeworld: Grumman
Title: 4 (Lord Duke)
Fiefdom: 2 (The Free City of Ravanna)
Renown: 1
Assets: 10

Status: 2
Wealth: 3 (Holdings +2)
Influence: 3 (Popularity +1)
Security: 2 (Intelligence +1)

House Mori holds a grand title, but doesn’t control much physical territory--clearly we are all about the service-based economy. We’re rich as poo poo, politically influential, and we have a great intelligence network, which is good--our Great House betters aren’t especially fond of us. Now, on to creating actual characters.

Character Creation

Malik Richmond was born into a family that has spent generations serving as personal security to the Mori household. His forward-thinking parents had him trained as a Mentat, believing that a well-rounded advisor could accrue more influence with the nobility than his family had in the past. Malik, however, realized that he still needed credibility as a military man, and devoted himself to becoming a fearsome duelist. (Mentats are cool, and sword fights are cool. That’s as much thought as I put into this decision.) Malik has the following background packages:

Allegiance: Moritani
Conditioning Overlay: Mentat
Early Life: Dueling Instruction
House Service: Security Commander
Personal Calling: Arena Fighter

You can refer to my last update to see the charts of background packages and the stats they confer. Adding it all up, we get this:

Captain Malik Richmond posted:

Attributes:
Physique 2
Coordination 2 (Reaction +2)
Intellect 3 (Logic +1, Perception +2)
Charisma 2 (Willpower +1)
Prescience 0

Skills:
Administration 1 (Intelligence 2)
Armed Combat 2 (Dueling Arms 2)
Computation 2 (Straight-Line 2)
Culture 1 (Moritani 2)
Dodge 2
Equipment 1
Espionage 1 (Counter-Intelligence 1)
History 1 (Moritani 1)
Hunting Language 1 (Bhotani Jib 1)
Interrogation 2 (Questioning 2)
Mentat Trance 2 (Memorize 2)
Observation 3 (Inspection 1)
Politics 1
Propaganda 1 ( Misinformation 2)
Projection 3 (Approximation Analysis 3)
Racketeering 1
Ranged Combat 1 (Stunner 1)
Security 1 (Surveillance 1)
Subterfuge 2 (Mind Games 1, Equivocation 1)
World Knowledge 1 (Grumman 1)

Traits:
Alertness 1, Dueling 2, Commendation 1, Mentat Awareness 2, Machine Logic 2, Sapho Addiction -2, Shield Fighting 1

Renown: Valor 1
Caste: 3 (Bondsman)

Karama: 3

Equipment: House uniform, ComNet transmitter, Knife, Needlegun, Solido projector, Solido recorder, Shigaware reels

Wow, that’s a lot of stuff! And I still have 5 free points to spend, plus any I gain from taking Disadvantages. Attributes are expensive. Skills are almost as expensive, and therefore a sucker’s choice. Instead, I’ll plow it all into advantages. I take Information Network at 2 points and Compounded of Whispers for 3 points. I’ll also take a 2-point Adversary. This nets me 2 more points, which I’ll spend to add 1 point to my Commendation and Information Network advantages by one. We also get to put a point in one category of Renown, and our Conditioning determines our caste and our starting equipment.

Malik’s Commendation represents a captaincy in Mori military intelligence. His top-notch Information Network consists of both merchants connected to the Moris’ economic interests and old-school spooks who like the cut of his Bhotani Jib.

Now for a very different type of character, Sofia Mori. Although she is part of the noble household, Sofia was an orphaned cousin, and have been overlooked and ignored if the Bene Gesserit sisterhood hadn’t seen something special in her. When the family offered up its daughters to be trained in the BG Way, Sofia was the one they wanted. She’s returned to the service of her own House to protect and educate her young relatives, while also advocating for Mori political interests. Sofia has the following background packages:

Allegiance: Moritani
Conditioning Overlay: Bene Gesserit Adept
Early Life: Noble Household
House Service: Diplomatic Spokesman
Personal Calling: Advocate

As with Malik, I just chose the packages that made sense for the character. It results in a much more focused skillset:

Lady Sofia Mori posted:

Attributes:
Physique 2 (Constitution +1)
Coordination 3 (Reaction +1)
Intellect 3 (Perception +2)
Charisma 3 (Presence +1)
Prescience 0

Administration 1
Athletics 1
BG Way 3 (Petit Betrayals 3)
Charm 1 (Seduction 1)
Culture 2 (BG Sisterhood 1, Moritani 1)
Diplomacy 2
Dodge 1 (Evade 2)
History 1 (Moritani 1)
Hunting Language 1 (Bhotani Jib 1, Chakobsa 1)
Law 1
Observation 1 (Study 2)
Politics 5 (Imperial 1, Moritani 1)
Propaganda 1
Ritual 2 (any 3)
Subterfuge 2 (Perjury 1)
Unarmed Combat 1 (Martial Training 2)
Voice 2
World Knowledge 1 (Grumman 1)

Traits: Alertness 1, Ally 2, Dual Allegiance -2, Magnanimous Appeal 3, Patron 2, Prana-bindu Conditioning 3, Weirding Combat 2

Renown: Justice 1
Caste: 4 (na-Familia)

Karama: 3

Equipment: House uniform, ComNet transmitter, Knife, BG filmbooks, BG robes

Sofia gets so many Politics specializations that I was able to increase the base trait to 5, making her a political genius. She also has a powerful ally (a Guild banker, let’s say) and a powerful Patron (a wise old Bene Gesserit sister). Her free points are spent on being Highborn (3) and part of a Prized Bloodline (2).

You’ve probably noticed that, while Dune works on a pretty simple Attribute+Skill system, it has a ton of skills, buries your PC in specializations, and has a lot of skills and traits that seem esoteric or highly situational. You’re right! I will mill through them in the next chapter.

That’s how you create Dune characters from scratch.


It's settled. We'll run this poo poo in FATE next time.

Archetypes

If assigning points to Observation 2 (Head Games 2, Peculiar Odors 3) is too much for you, you can grab one of the pre-generated characters and add your five free points. Bang, done. Some of them have a much more focused skillset than if you picked packages on a makes-sense basis, while others are spread just as thin as the made-from-scratch characters, with heaps of Skill 1 (Specialization 1)


We're not bald. Seriously, read the goddamn book. First chapter, first page.

House Adept: The Bene Gesserit sister protects the family that she serves while inspiring a mixture of fear and respect among virtually everyone. Although the BG are famed for their secret knowledge, the Adept’s strength is a combination of social skills and hand-to-hand combat prowess. Adepts aren’t meant to be fighting duels, but they can kick you in the spine through your stomach.


Did they pay Dourif for his likeness? Because come on.

House Assassin: In a universe of devious killers, the Assassins specialty is not so much in killing but in getting away with it. Although he’s not to be taken lightly in face-to-face combat, the Assassin is much more likely to kill you with a drone, or a dose of poison, or a drone covered in poison. Mechanically, this archetype is focused on knowledge and technical skills, with a dash of combat. The best part is the gear: flip-dart, hunter-seeker, maula pistol, shigawire garrotte, slip-tip, French tickler, black mambo, and other silly-sounding ways to kill people.


Maybe I should buy some old tab collars (Welcome back to the Butlerian Jihad)

Master Strategist: Strategist is a fairly generic title that doesn’t have the wow-factor of a swordmaster or a Bene Gesserit agent. On the other hand, there’s no doubt about what this guy actually does: lots of social and political skills. Still, as a Dune fan, I’d never play this guy instead of a Mentat.


Baron, I calculate a 93.2% I am the smuggest motherfucker here.

House Mentat: This Archetype assumes that you want to play a spymaster like Thufir Hawat, as opposed to an academic or a guy who is a glorified tax lawyer. A mixture of knowledge and skulduggery, that’s the Mentat. As you saw in my character creation example, the Mentat has some specialized skills that only they can ever have, like “Mentat Trance” and “Computation” which we’ll get into later.


My house has fig-leafed in photographs for untold millennia.

House Noble: It’s good to be the king. The Noble is the only Conditioning that has Caste 5, the royal class of Imperial society. The Noble’s skillset is a combination of diplomatic and dueling skills, which says a lot about the setting.


Do you see this bullshit? This is worse than the prop from Lynch's film.

House Swordmaster: Although he has some military intelligence skills, the Swordmaster’s thing is that he is a straight-up badass. Plenty of points in hand-to-hand and ranged combat skills, plus the Traits necessary to be a great duelist. The Swordmaster allows his Noble boss to say “I can see your point, but on the other hand, what if my buddy just stabs you to death?”



House Suk: The Suk is a deceptively diverse character class. Yes, he heals people, and he even has a built-in Disadvantage that forces him to be a pacifist. But his medical skills also make him a skilled (if scrupulously ethical) psychologist and interrogator.


Next time, on Dune: Those many strange and wonderful Characteristics.

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Kavak
Aug 23, 2009




Aw man, this is giving me flashbacks to my days with Last Unicorn's Star Trek games. System issues or not, those loving owned, and it's a real shame this got cut short.

JamieTheD
Nov 4, 2011

LPer, Reviewer, Mad Welshman

(Yes, that's a self portrait)

Kavak posted:

Aw man, this is giving me flashbacks to my days with Last Unicorn's Star Trek games. System issues or not, those loving owned, and it's a real shame this got cut short.

It is a real shame the Dune RPG got cut short, it's definitely an interesting book, and while the artwork isn't always great, it's consistent. Also, goldurnit, you reminded me I've never really had the chance to run either the LUG or the Decipher version of the Star Trek RPG, and that I'm unlikely to as well (my group wouldn't touch it)

theironjef
Aug 11, 2009

The archmage of unexpected stinks.



JamieTheD posted:

It is a real shame the Dune RPG got cut short, it's definitely an interesting book, and while the artwork isn't always great, it's consistent. Also, goldurnit, you reminded me I've never really had the chance to run either the LUG or the Decipher version of the Star Trek RPG, and that I'm unlikely to as well (my group wouldn't touch it)

Not too late to run Prime Directive. If you can get your group to play that, then they haven't read it AND you're an actual wizard.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


Rifts Mercenaries Part 11: "He used to love rail guns, but now he's in a missile-launcher phase."

The Shadow Warriors

These are secret Splugorth spies! Shhhh! Anyway, they're fake mercenaries that use their work to scout out North America, and have developed a lot of contacts in the southern regions. It's noted that they're relatively professional and don't engage in unnecessary violence or brutality. It's noted that individually they're some of the bestest soldiers, since they have both magic and robots, but against larger forces they have to rely on guerilla tactics. They've been operating around the Pecos Empire (Rifts World Book One: Vampire Kingdoms), which plays into most of their subplots.

For some reason their Sponsorship trait is 0, the minimum, and lists their backers as the Splugorth, even though the mercenary company rules specifically call out that requires a maximum Sponsorship trait of 6. Whups.

These characters rely a lot on awareness of Rifts World Book Two: Atlantis. So does my review, because :effort:


Grey, Myriam, Soll-Thull, and Anaconda.
  • Commander Grey (Headhunter): A human slave who was enhanced by the Splugorth's bio-wizardry, Grey is a willing devotee of the Splugorth and practically worships them. He's a pretty decent guy for the most part, but would eat a dish of live assorted babies if the Splugorth ordered him to. He also has super-big eyes that give him magic vision, can shoot lightning, and has knuckle blades that are not at all like Wolverine, I'm sure.
  • Captain Myriam (Blind Warrior Woman): An Altarian Warrior, she's distinguished herself by murdering dragons (somehow), but isn't really loyal to the Splugorth in the slightest. Instead, she's gathering her own information to find some means to destroy Splynncryth and Atlantis, and is willing to make deals with anyone or do anything to achieve this. She's also had some clone kids in North America secretly, but has left them on their own, which it notes could be means to introduce Altarian NPCs or PCs.
  • Soll-Thull (Brodkil): After the Shadow Warriors were hired to defeat his band of Brodkil bandits, he took their offer to join, and has become their generically loudmouthed thug since. He's super-loyal because... uh, because! "He used to love rail guns, but now he's in a missile launcher phase."
  • Anaconda (Kittani Espionage Agent): Yes, she's a spy, despite the fact she's an ape with a giant brain. I'm sure she must wear some really large hats to blend in. She's really on the lookout for Naruni and Mechanoids, since the Naruni are competitors and the Mechanoids nearly wiped out the Kittani.
So we have "255-410" other soldiers, which is quite the bizarrely specific estimate, and 400 support personnel. It notes most of their weaponry is Triax and Atlantis, and for some reason notes that players might work out their Triax weaponry was made in Europe... but I don't know how, since Triax weaponry is also sold in North America. Whups.

Kevin Siembieda steps in to give us some plot hooks. We start out with the Pecos Empire trying to wipe them out... presumably because the Shadow Warriors get hired to take out bandits, but that isn't stated explicitly. The Pecos Empire might summon a monster, harass locals, or... hit Coalition troops... or fight vampires... okay, this is tangenting pretty far from the Shadow Warriors. It notes that if the bandits get saved by PCs from trouble (summoned monster, vampire, etc.), they might get invited to hang out in their huge camps to party. But people might not like them if they party with bandits! What a pickle the PCs are in now!

There's another hook where the Shadow Warriors encounter Splugorth slavers not from Atlantis, but a rival Splugorth, and is looking to drive them out. Vampires also might get involved because gently caress it, why not? Also, the slavers may have kidnapped a loved one, like a Splugorth do.

Then there's the Shadow Warriors finding out about Wormwood, so the PCs have to wipe out the Shadow Warriors to keep the Splugorth from invading Wormwood!... well, that is, wipe out a company of 650+ operatives, including at least 50 soldiers in power armor, 10 full conversion borgs, 10 wizards, 23 brodkil, 10 crazies, 20 juicers, 20 headhunters, 20 wolfen, 5 psychics... etc. This isn't possible sort of a magical plot nuke or something that wipes out a county-sized area or a Coalition-sized army, but I guess the PCs can die trying!

And that's the last of the mercenary companies! Finally, you have all the NPCs necessary to show your PCs up. I did some rough math to see what it would be like to roll an NPC like Larsen as a PC. The odds are something like less than a one in ten billion with conservative estimates. And yet Palladium loves to talk about how random rolls make better characters.

I wonder if they ever random roll any of these NPCs?

Next: The Golden Age was fuckin' dumb.

occamsnailfile
Nov 4, 2007



zamtrios so lonely

Grimey Drawer

quote:

Then there's the Shadow Warriors finding out about Wormwood, so the PCs have to wipe out the Shadow Warriors to keep the Splugorth from invading Wormwood!... well, that is, wipe out a company of 650+ operatives, including at least 50 soldiers in power armor, 10 full conversion borgs, 10 wizards, 23 brodkil, 10 crazies, 20 juicers, 20 headhunters, 20 wolfen, 5 psychics... etc. This isn't possible sort of a magical plot nuke or something that wipes out a county-sized area or a Coalition-sized army, but I guess the PCs can die trying!

This makes this band of Splugorth-sponsored chumps smarter than the Splugorth themselves (all of them) and also all of Earth, pre- and post-Rifts. Which says something about the flimsiness of Wormwood's protections, but that is a really poor choice of hook.

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.

theironjef posted:

Not too late to run Prime Directive. If you can get your group to play that, then they haven't read it AND you're an actual wizard.

I have a dumb soft spot for Prime Directive's setting if only because their rationalization for why Original Series Klingons and movie klingons look different makes more sense than the explanation we eventually got.

(Basically: Klingons are an Empire. They are all still called Klingons, they're just different species, under one banner. with the human-looking Klingons being one client race and the the klingons from the movies being another.)

Also there were Klingon gorilla-bears.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


Rifts Mercenaries Part 12: "The main reason for this is that tanks are obsolete when compared to giant robots or even the power armor."

New Equipment

We get a short fiction bit by Carella where a guy has stolen power suits from Larsen's Brigade, they detective this out, and they're going to kill him!... or maybe not, it's unclear. It mentions that there are a number of new independent arms manufacturers, which this section is about. Well, mostly about the things they manufacture. Organizations and people in Rifts often don't matter beyond what crappy poo poo they people, we know all about Northern Gun's product line, but we won't find out about the actual company for another twenty years.

Yes, it's time for the bulk of the book: robots and war machines. It notes that the GM can restrict these if they want! Mother May I?

Golden Age Weaponsmiths

It's noted Carella came up with the name and idea, but Kevin is writing the actual text there. The basic idea is that you have a company that's taking old, out-of-date pre-Rifts military equipment and renovating it to be functional in the world of Rifts. Fair enough, Siembieda's take on it is a little out of touch, which has made this a primary point of mockery when it comes to Rifts Mercenaries.

See, Kevin notes most countries had S.D.C. military equipment in mothballs... why they would keep that stuff around about a century past its due date, I don't know. It seems extraordinarily wasteful. But they did, and it directs us to Palladium's Compendium of Contemporary Weapons for more details. Which is fuckin' hilarious, because that's a 1993-era book, meaning all the equipment would be over a century out of date before the Rifts. Of course, they'd done a new edition of the Compendium a year before, so they have reason to push it even if it doesn't make a world of sense. It also, in random Siembieda fashion, notes that military characters from the 20th century could be rifted in and have all sorts of fun finding out their equipment is totally useless. Wow, that sounds like a blast. He notes that a 20th century tank has about 10-20 M.D.C., but looking at the Compendium, that's more like 8-12. But hey, who says you have to know your own system and the very books you yourself wrote? Fascists, that's who!

(Also, bear in mind making old tanks into S.D.C. means a patient crowd of people could beat a tank apart with their fists.)

So Golden Age Weaponsmiths raided National Guard depots and (numerous military bases mentioned by name), and built up in Alabama to give themselves a central location away from the Coalition oversight. They also have strong ties with the Black Market, which we'll get details on about 18 years after this book's release. We get mercenary stats for them, but it reminds us they aren't a real merc company.

Retooling Old Weapons

It notes that most firearms can't be made into mega-damage weapons without magic, but impresses upon us that they're still useful for hunting game or unarmored humans. Also, some places don't allow M.D. weapons, but allow S.D. weapons... for some reason. One would think as long a you're confiscating weapons, you may as well nab them all. In any case, grenade launchers and missile launchers and rocket launchers all can be upgraded with M.D. ammo.


Just like Golden Age Weaponsmiths, this book upgrades old art to M.D.C., too!

Retrofitting Pre-Rifts Vehicles

This consists of bolting on M.D.C. armor and M.D. ammo (or just replacing the guns with new weapons). Then we get this:

Kevin Siembieda, Everyone! posted:

There are very few tanks in service on Rifts Earth. The main reason is that tanks are obsolete when compared to giant robots or even the power armor. Tanks are not as fast, mobile, or versatile. With the collapse of civilization, forests & wilderness have taken over the well-paved roads of the past and there are few places where tanks can operate free of obstruction (the west of the old American Empire is the most ideal for tanks).

:jerkbag:

In any case, they tend to run on gas, not nuclear power, since it's generally not worth spending that much money on these paper tigers.

So, he brings up some common vehicles that can be converted, like the M48A3 Main Battle Tank... which, uh, was being phased out at the time this book was written. Certainly, you're not going to find many of them in the US as of 2014, given even the National Guard has moved on to using the M60A3 Patton. If you want to find the M48A3 Patton, you'd be better off finding them in the Middle East, where they're still in usage in places like Turkey as of 2014. He brings up the M2 Bradley, which as of 2014 the army is seeking a replacement for. The idea that you'll find scads of vehicles dating back to the 1950s lying around in 2098 is just bizarre. He doesn't even mention tanks that were contemporary to 1994, like the M1 Abrams.

We get a bunch of numbers for vehicles, which bizarrely includes commerical jet liners... which would certainly change a lot of things about trade and travel in Rifts if some city-states actually got them running, but are just a statblock footnote in these book. Certainly, getting workable combat jets would do a lot to change the face of Rifts warfare (as we'll see later), but they're barely worth a mention here.

There are prices, since they'll often let folks Bring Your Own Tank (or jet, or whatever) and retrofit it. It also includes "Rush Jobs", but doesn't tell us what sort of time the work takes, and we get "Illegal Customizing", where they're remove the serial numbers and marks from stolen goods, including Coalition weaponry. Because, you know, the Coalition can't totally tell you stole their poo poo. "Gosh, that Spider Skull Walker doesn't have a serial number and it's got hot pink trim, it can't be one of ours." Of course, the Coalition isn't thrilled with them, but Golden Age makes a point of staying out of the Coalition's way.

We get a lot of prices for small advantages like improved engines, new weapons and weapon mounts, a ram prow (damage values not included), "flashing lights (like the police)", anti-theft, sensor systems, a 75% accurate road atlas (no idea how the gently caress they keep that updated), radios, etc. It notes they still make S.D.C. vehicles and sell them super cheap, as well as common parts for all sorts of modern or ancient vehicles. They often don't question their buyers, but if they know the person is a wanted criminal (what that means in Rifts is anybody's guess), they may direct them to the Black Market. You know, that guy around the corner with a tank in his trenchcoat? That guy. :rolleyes:

Next: Northern Guns.

RocknRollaAyatollah
Nov 26, 2008



Lipstick Apathy

Alien Rope Burn posted:


Just like Golden Age Weaponsmiths, this book upgrades old art to M.D.C., too!

I like that the best they could come up with for a Chaos Earth era tank/apc stat or art wise is the Bradley. Maybe Siembieda or some of the writers were in the Army in the 80's or had a really outdated copy of Jane's. They could have at least made it the "M20" or something and made it sleaker.

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

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

Half of the fun of Rifts reviews is posters who can point out exactly what anime or book about WWII they stole the design from.

It's also continually amazing to me how I kind of wanted Cthulhutech to be like Rifts but not stupid and crazy, and it ended up just being stupid and crazy. "Oh, Psi-Stalkers and Nightbanes are cool but this is a mess. Maybe I'll try Cthulhutech...oh hey, Tagers are cool but this is a mess."

ThisIsNoZaku
Apr 22, 2013

Pew Pew Pew!


Halloween Jack posted:

Half of the fun of Rifts reviews is posters who can point out exactly what anime or book about WWII they stole the design from.

It's also continually amazing to me how I kind of wanted Cthulhutech to be like Rifts but not stupid and crazy, and it ended up just being stupid and crazy. "Oh, Psi-Stalkers and Nightbanes are cool but this is a mess. Maybe I'll try Cthulhutech...oh hey, Tagers are cool but this is a mess."

CthuluTech is less stupid and crazy than Rifts, but only somewhat, and is also puerile and gross.

Young Freud
Nov 25, 2006



Alien Rope Burn posted:

So Golden Age Weaponsmiths raided National Guard depots and (numerous military bases mentioned by name), and built up in Alabama to give themselves a central location away from the Coalition oversight. They also have strong ties with the Black Market, which we'll get details on about 18 years after this book's release. We get mercenary stats for them, but it reminds us they aren't a real merc company.

I'm not sure if it's intentional or not, but Alabama as their central base isn't without reason, since Alabama is home to the Anniston depot, where a majority of the Army's armored vehicles are overhauled and repaired.

Also, Siembedia hadn't nailed down the date of the Rifts Cataclysm. Carella also has several hints that it's supposed to be within fifty years of recent history, such as the upmodded M16s turning up in Rifts Underseas.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


RocknRollaAyatollah posted:

I like that the best they could come up with for a Chaos Earth era tank/apc stat or art wise is the Bradley. Maybe Siembieda or some of the writers were in the Army in the 80's or had a really outdated copy of Jane's.

Yeah, I've seen several writers comment that Siembieda's understanding of military technology (and, indeed, technology in general) is bizarrely mired in the past. However, bear in mind this was before Chaos Earth (and even when Chaos Earth comes out, there's some time before it's accepted as an "official" element of Rifts continuity).

ThisIsNoZaku posted:

CthuluTech is less stupid and crazy than Rifts, but only somewhat, and is also puerile and gross.

I wouldn't really say that. They've both stupid and crazy in their own special ways, though I find Rifts more tolerable (obviously, really, given I'm reviewing it), on account of Cthulhutech's fixation on sexual abuse.

Young Freud posted:

I'm not sure if it's intentional or not, but Alabama as their central base isn't without reason, since Alabama is home to the Anniston depot, where a majority of the Army's armored vehicles are overhauled and repaired.

Also, Siembedia hadn't nailed down the date of the Rifts Cataclysm. Carella also has several hints that it's supposed to be within fifty years of recent history, such as the upmodded M16s turning up in Rifts Underseas.

I looked up that depot and saw that it was an accurate in that detail, at least, but didn't think to mention. Definitely seems intentional.

But yes, the Cataclysm's date was still vague at this point. But even with that, the military technology was out of date when the book came out, so even if the Cataclysm happened in 1993, it wouldn't make much sense. Of course, this was still during the time we had books like Villains Unlimited, which had a villain in a prototype Glitter Boy power armor, which would hint at the Cataclysm being in the relatively near future of Heroes Unlimited, but then Rifts was retconned to take place in a separate universe.

Young Freud
Nov 25, 2006



Alien Rope Burn posted:

I looked up that depot and saw that it was an accurate in that detail, at least, but didn't think to mention. Definitely seems intentional.

It also makes a bit more sense that Anniston Army Depot would be refurbishing the M48s and M60s for distribution among National Guard units and overseas customers and demilitarized for collectors at the time of publication, so those would be largely in stock that someone could reverse engineer them from parts with Rifts-modern technology.

I'd just put it up with something that Carella and maybe Siembedia was familiar with. In addition to all the cutting-edge 48Hz processors mention in Cyberpunk 2020, a lot of the armor, security uniforms, and weapon were derived from Vietnam era flak vests or failed prototypes like the Enfield EM2 and ARES AIWS, because that's what Scott Ruggles and Mike Pondsmith were familiar with.

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

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

Alien Rope Burn posted:

Yeah, I've seen several writers comment that Siembieda's understanding of military technology (and, indeed, technology in general) is bizarrely mired in the past. However, bear in mind this was before Chaos Earth (and even when Chaos Earth comes out, there's some time before it's accepted as an "official" element of Rifts continuity).
I cannot remember his username, but a former Palladium freelancer posts here. He related an anecdote where he had to convince Siembedia to come out to Palladium's parking lot so that he could show him that yes, there are now motorcycles that run on a 12v battery and not a 6v. And he goes out of his way not to be too critical of Palladium.

Kavak
Aug 23, 2009




I'm kind of surprised Palladium is still in business despite Siembieda's insanity eccentricity.

FMguru
Sep 10, 2003

peed on;
sexually

Kavak posted:

I'm kind of surprised Palladium is still in business despite Siembieda's insanity eccentricity.
He knows his market and caters to it. More power to him. He can wallpaper his den with the bankruptcy filings of the people from other companies who have told how he's doing everything wrong for the last 25 years.

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

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

Catering to the "true fans" is a big part of why Palladium is still around while so many other companies are not. At the same time it is the reason their output has steadily dwindled to very little besides The Rifter, and what they do produce is written by people who are, in short, flunkies. I understand Malcolm's comments regarding the Palladium fanbase wanting what it wants, but Palladium isn't the only or the best company providing highly detailed rules and kitchen sink settings. Palladium today is very much trading on the Palladium of years past, when they were interested in doing new things and working with talented writers who had their own ideas.

Someone in Gau's thread said that the lesson from Palladium is that if you make something that's popular enough, you will have a cult fanbase to provide you with a living for the rest of your life. Given Palladium's level of output in the past few years, I'm not sure that that's true in Palladium's case unless his retirement is already well-funded.

Howard Hughes still had an empire after he was an insane recluse, but that doesn't mean the tissue boxes on his feet were part of a master plan.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


Young Freud posted:

I'd just put it up with something that Carella and maybe Siembedia was familiar with.

Golden Age Weaponsmiths was a Carella idea that Siembieda fleshed out with actual text.

Halloween Jack posted:

I cannot remember his username, but a former Palladium freelancer posts here.

That'd be CroatianAlzheimers, who isn't in TG as much anymore, but you can find his old posts about Palladium Games in the Palladium Gigathread.

FMguru posted:

He can wallpaper his den with the bankruptcy filings of the people from other companies who have told how he's doing everything wrong for the last 25 years.

This is true. But Palladium's finances have been pretty dire for a long time now. Hard to say if the Kickstarter helped or hurt that since. Palladium gets by because Siembieda keeps his company by willing to sacrifice nearly anything to keep going when most people would have walked the gently caress away over a decade ago. When you see Kevin do something like dump his massive - and I mean massive - toy collection on eBay and estate sales, it strikes me as the sort of thing that's telling.

Of course, he could just be sick of toys.

Maxwell Lord
Dec 12, 2008

I am drowning.
There is no sign of land.
You are coming down with me, hand in unlovable hand.

And I hope you die.

I hope we both die.


:smith:



Grimey Drawer

It's important to remember that Palladium used to be a relative heavy hitter in the industry- ISTR that Rifts was consistently selling third behind AD&D and Vampire. For a while Siembada had his finger on the pulse of what the average gamer geek wanted, but bad decision after bad decision has caused them to slip away.

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

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

I actually tracked Palladium's output year-by year from 1981-2013. Then I deleted the text file because I didn't think the subject would come up again. Oh well! As I recall, once Rifts got going, it was normal for them to put out a dozen releases a year. Their output has halved in the last decade, with very little coming out in the past 3 years. Their last new game was 2008's Dead Reign and of course Kevin hosed over the author as hard as he possibly could.

Maxwell Lord posted:

It's important to remember that Palladium used to be a relative heavy hitter in the industry- ISTR that Rifts was consistently selling third behind AD&D and Vampire. For a while Siembada had his finger on the pulse of what the average gamer geek wanted, but bad decision after bad decision has caused them to slip away.
One of the outcomes of Siembieda's poor grasp of technology and copyright law is that Palladium gamers pay for what other gamers get for free. For example, The Rifter--it's a 100 page quarterly magazine that costs $14, $10 with subscription, $6 in PDF. About 20 pages are advertisements and a letters page. (A really pathetic letters page, but I digress.) The rest is stuff for PCs, enemies, adventures, and fiction. The adventures are probably the best part, but on the whole, you're paying for content that is Dragon magazine level at best, and mostly the kind of stuff that winds up on forums and wikis for free.

Halloween Jack fucked around with this message at 13:16 on Aug 4, 2014

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


Halloween Jack posted:

I actually tracked Palladium's output year-by year from 1981-2013. Then I deleted the text file because I didn't think the subject would come up again.

Well, here's a sampler from Kevin Siembieda: J'ACCUSE...!.



Right now the sole game lines getting any supplement support are: Rifts and Dead Reign. Robotech supposedly had a book coming out this month, but... given it's been five years in development and has been pushed back further, I wouldn't hold my breath. (That's not counting the minis game, just the RPG itself.)

Alien Rope Burn fucked around with this message at 15:59 on Aug 4, 2014

occamsnailfile
Nov 4, 2007



zamtrios so lonely

Grimey Drawer

Wikipedia says Siembieda is 58 at this point, which is hardly 'too old to play' but it might be limiting his energy to single-handedly micromanage large product lines while reading outdated copies of Jane's and etc. That and while real Palladium fans do exist, a lot of them fall into the 'love-hate' spectrum of sighing as grandad goes off on another poorly organized tangent in a splat book.

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

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



Chapter 4: The Explaining of the Characteristics

Grave this on your memory, lad: A world is supported by four things… ” She held up four big-knuckled fingers. “…the learning of the wise, the justice of the great, the prayers of the righteous and the valor of the brave. But all of these are as nothing… ” She closed her fingers into a fist. “…without a ruler who knows the art of ruling. Make that the science of your tradition!”

This chapter explains the meaning and use of the Attributes, Skills, and Traits. As I’ve said before, Dune is a fairly simple Attribute+Skill system with advantages and disadvantages, but it complicates itself with sub-attributes, skill specializations, and traits that are very vague.

Skills and traits are also poetically divided into “Learning of the Wise,” “Justice of the Great,” “Prayers of the Righteous,” and “Valor of the Brave” categories.


If this doesn’t work out, can I be an Unhallowed Metropolis character instead? I have my own mask.

Attributes

There are 5 Attributes, rated from 1-5. Each Attribute is also divided into two “edges,” and edges can be +1 or +2 above the base attribute. For example, an especially healthy, if not muscular Swordmaster might have Physique 2 (Constitution +1).

Physique (Strength, Constitution): Dune wisely rolls D&D’s Strength and Constitution into one Attribute. Physique is only used for 3 skills, but Strength is vital to attacking in melee combat while Constitution determines your resistance to injury, illness, poison, and the elements, which are all salient threats on worlds like Arrakis. As an aside, tying melee attacks to Strength is good for game balance, but seems specious in a setting where hand-to-hand combat is almost always fought with knives and relies on expert timing.

Coordination (Dexterity, Reaction): The physical finesse Attribute. Dexterity measures motor coordination while Reaction measures quick reaction times, but the difference between the two is a little blurry. The practical difference is that Dexterity is used for ranged attacks while Reaction is used for all kinds of dodging and parrying.

Intellect (Logic, Perception): Covering intelligence, reasoning, and attention to detail, Intellect is obviously the most important attribute if you want to be good at doing...almost everything that isn’t combat. Out of 60 skills, 39 are tied to Intellect. It’s divided into Logic, for problem-solving and deductive reasoning, and Perception, for general and situational awareness. Have fun arguing with the Narrator over which one applies to the situation at hand.

Charisma (Presence, Willpower): This measures overall force of personality. While Intellect can inform a course of action, you need Charisma to lead and negotiate. Presence measures the ability to influence and evoke emotions in others while Willpower measures not only the resistance to the same, but the ability to bluntly impose your will on others. In some cases there seems to be little rhyme or reason in which edge covers which skill.

Prescience (Sight, Vision) is a special Attribute because most characters will simply have a 0 rating. Simply put, it measures the ability to predict the future. It’s difficult to describe how Prescience works in Dune without getting deeply into the setting, and the books devote long passages to not just explaining how it works, but musing on the nature of time and the limitations of human foresight. Practically, prescients can foresee important events in many possible variations, often in the form of fragments, metaphors, and symbols. Sight measures the scope and depth of your foresight, and Vision measures the ability to interpret them.


Before we go any further, did everyone remember to put points in Assassination, Concealment, Espionage, Infiltration, Sabotage, Security, and Stealth?

Skills

I extend Dune some credit when it comes to its skill system because I’ve seen games do far worse. TORG and Cthulhutech are games that exemplify the two problems I see most often in RPG skill lists: first, the skill list is too long, too specific, and with too much overlap, so that players have to spend lots of points to be able to reliably fulfill a role in the party. Second, they handle academic expertise as a set of skill groups with potentially infinite subskills. Dune avoids the latter by having a bounded skill list, but it’s very guilty of the former.

Dune also has several Conditioning-related skills with very little guidance on how they fit into the game. In some cases, this is because Last Unicorn never got to release the supplements that would have elaborated upon those skills. In others, the skills in question are vague and esoteric in the first place.

Like Attributes, skills are normally rated at 1-5. Over half of the skills are “acquired” rather than “general,” meaning that you can’t try to use them without any training. A few skills and traits are Conditioning-specific--if you don’t get them from your Conditioning (or a related background package) at character creation, you can’t buy them. However, Dune encourages the Narrator to allow characters to substitute one skill for another, with a higher Difficulty depending on how closely the skills are related. For example, if you need to disarm a security shield but you don’t have Security, you could use Repair (shields) or Armament. Although this is good GMing advice, it also points to the overabundance of overlapping skills. The given example is fairly straightforward, but what about the overlap among skills like Economics, Law, and Politics?

One aspect of Dune’s skill system should be singled out for praise: every single skill gives example of routine, difficult, and “nearly impossible” uses of the skill. Many other games have difficulty charts with numbers for “simple,” “difficult,” “legendary,” et cetera, with no examples, no context, and therefore no use. Dune’s examples provide guidance in how to use the skill, which manages to give clues on implementing even the most esoteric skills.


Is it the swords, or the shoes? Gotta be the shoes.

The Valor of the Brave

Armament (Intellect, Swordmasters): This skill is for using and repairing advanced military weapons and defenses, including lasguns, vehicular ordnance, shield generators, and even atomic bombs. Difficult tests include making heavy repairs under fire, or building advanced systems from a junkyard of parts.

Armed Combat (Physique): Melee weapons, plain and simple. The specializations include concealed weapons (such as garottes and flip-darts) and dueling weapons, while exotic weapons like Rabban’s inkvine whip or the Bene Gesserit gom jabbar are specializations of their own.

Athletics (Physique): This gets an entire page devoted to measuring how well characters can move while tumbling, climbing, swimming, or pogo-sticking, not to mention lifting and carrying capacity. Examples of difficult Athletic tests including trying to move at full speed over icy or swampy terrain.

Dodge (Coordination): Self-explanatory. It defends against all kinds of attacks, and the specializations are melee and ranged.

Concealment (Coordination): This is for hiding objects, not yourself. Specializations include Camouflage, “Stashing,” and Sleight-of-hand. Concealing a small weapon on your person is a simple use of the skill; a difficult one is camouflaging a vehicle in a warzone.

Impersonation (Charisma, Assassins): This skill combines disguise, mimicry, and acting to impersonate someone else. A really difficult task would be to convince someone that you’re his best friend.

Infiltration (Intellect, Assassins): Actually sneaking into places is covered by other skills, but Infiltration is used to case the joint and plan the job, so to speak. Assassins use Infiltration to create a plan full of contingencies and useful information. It says that subsequent tests can be used to recall contingencies and data during a mission, but unfortunately, it doesn’t actually give us a metagame mechanism to provide bonuses or prevent failure.


I hope none of the Psi-Stalkers from those Rifts reviews snuck in here.

Military Operations (Intellect, Swordmasters): Like Infiltration, this is a very broad skill which lets us down when it comes to actually applying it. It covers “all tactical and strategic operations” from small unit tactics to a worldwide conflict, and you can specialize in infantry, armored divisions, air battles, or sea battles. However, the only immediate application is making a roll to give all the troops under your command a small bonus for a round. I’m imagining all the Allied troops at the Battle of the Bulge wearing earbuds, listening to George Patton yelling encouragement at them over the radio. Examples of tests include defending a well-armed fortress, or defeating an army that outnumbers you 10 to 1...but are you actually going to make a simple skill Test to determine who wins a major battle? The answer is maybe, because this game doesn’t have rules for battles.

Performance: Performance covers any performing arts, but the Attribute you use depends on the art form. Ha ha, just kidding! You’ll never use this skill, will you?

Ranged Weapons (Coordination): For using and repairing simple ranged weapons such as stunners, maula pistols, and throwing weapons.

Stealth (Coordination): This is the skill that actually covers hiding and sneaking your own self. The difficulty is based on how exposed you are--crossing open terrain in full daylight is very difficult.

Survival (Physique): The skill for finding provisions and shelter in harsh environments. Specialization is by environment. Notably, the deep desert of Arrakis is by default a nearly impossible environment for survival.

Transport (Coordination): This skill covers all kinds of vehicles, land, sea, air, and outer space.

Unarmed Combat (Coordination): It’s kind of weird that swashbuckling is covered by Physique and unarmed fighting is covered by Coordination, but nevermind. This skill has three specializations, wrestling, brawling, and martial training, and each has certain maneuvers associated with it.


Fly me to the Dune...

Learning of the Wise

Computation (Intellect, Mentats): Oh, here we go. Computation is a key example of an esoteric skill with vague and uncertain use. Computation “represents the ultimate science of cause and effect,” and a Mentat’s ability to apply mathematical analysis to messy, imprecise fields such as diplomacy and spycraft. It has three specializations: Probability Computation, Straight-line computation, and Comparative Induction, which are meaningless bits of flavour from the book.

Computation tests allow a Mentat to deduce another’s motives, predict their behavior, and predict the outcome of their actions. Unlike Infiltration and Military Operations (see above), the designers planned for Computation to have a specific, metagame use. The unpublished Narrator’s Guide was meant to teach the Narrator how to construct a chronology for the adventure, with “scene links” connecting different scenes. With a successful Computation test, the Narrator would reveal relevant links in the current scene, or reveal a fact or motivation that will be relevant in a future scene. As you will see, there are several skills that boil down to “Roll dice, get free clues from the Narrator.” Computation, at least, was supposed to have some kind of structure for it.

Culture (Intellect): This skill is more emphatic about what it doesn’t do than about what it does. It covers the culture and customs of a particular people or homeworld; what the Army is calling “human terrain” these days. It doesn’t cover deep, academic knowledge about their history or theology, though. However, the examples of easy and difficult tests are increasingly obscure historical facts about the Fremen, none of which would really help you fit in or get along among them. Specialization is by specific culture or world.


I don’t remember John C. Reilly in Barbarella.

Economics (Intellect): Economics is not so much economic theory as being able to examine a culture’s economic base and figure out its interests and driving forces. For example, you could figure out that a society is in a permanent war economy, or what kinds of goods are in demand. Examples of difficult tests include recalling several obscure facts and making an analysis based on them, e.g. “the Harkonnens have stockpiles of spice, so they could safely reduce production to drive up prices.”

History (Intellect): A broad history of the Imperium, with specializations handling specific worlds or cultures. Historical knowledge of specific cultures is useful since libraries and archives are far-flung and often secretive.

Language (Intellect): Okay, I was lying about that “bounded skill list” thing. Language is treated differently in that each language requires a specialization, and you only roll the specialization. Hey Dune, if you think I’m going to make players spend points on a dozen languages so they can talk to all the rice farmers on Caladan, you can kiss my rear end.

Law (Intellect): Confers knowledge of various laws and how to exploit them. Specializations include CHOAM, the Guild, the Great Convention, or like every other goddamn skill in the goddamn game, by House and homeworld.

Medical Arts (Intellect, Suks): Finally, a skill that makes sense and isn’t fiddly and loving irritating. This skill covers all medical knowledge, although you can specialize in medical fields like surgery or pathology. In a setting as technophobic as the Imperium, it makes sense that this skill is Suk-only.

Mentat Trance (Intellect, Mentats): Just when I thought I was out of the woods. In the books, the Mentat trance is a meditative state that Mentats can enter to compile and analyze data without outside distractions. This skill has a few uses. First, whenever a Mentat discovers a useful fact, they can store a detailed analysis of it in their memory--I suppose it’s up to the players to write it down or remember it themselves. Second, an optional rule allows you to use this skill to determine the difficulty of other skill tests before you make them, in case you’re not sure about defusing that atomic weapon. Third, while in a Mentat trance you can make Observation skill tests to “determine the basic truth, nature, or character” of the situation at hand to use it for other Mentat skill tests. The difficulty of Mentat Trance tests is based on the obscurity of the information you’re trying to memorize or recall, and from how long ago. It’s Nearly Impossible to remember “obscure facts from over a year ago,” which means I have no business knowing the backstory for every character in Guardians of the Galaxy.

Pharmacy (Intellect, Suks): Pretty much does what it says on the label, and includes all drugs helpful, harmful, and recreation. (Assassins, after all, have their own skill for brewing poisons.) An expert Suk pharmacologist can innovate new drugs or fabricate complex ones from scratch.

Politics (Intellect): A fairly simple skill that identifies political groups and organizations and their key members. Difficult tests involve obscure details of a state’s political history or deducing things about the government of a place with which you have no real familiarity. Specialization is by House or organization.

Projection (Intellect, Mentats): This is the last of the trinity of Mentat skills, and it’s easily the most overwrought, try-hard dork skill in the game. Mentats use the Projection skill to “form proximity hypothesis [sic] to construct elaborate logic matrices used for determining missing elements, invisible plot lines, and probably explanations.” Or, in plain English, “at any time during a scene a Mentat may attempt to uncover a hidden fact or underlying motivation present within the scene.” Yes, once you get past the gobbledygook, this is blatantly a way for the player to roll dice to get clues. In fact, an optional rule says that if the game is moving slowly, the Narrator can just use the Mentat to feed the party whatever information they need to move the game along.

Then there’s this:

quote:

Alternately, if the Narrator has structured the adventure as outlined in Pathways to Infinity [the Narrator’s Guide], he can employ the following method: For each fact sharing the same scene ID letter designation (A, H, C, etc.) as the scene during which the test is made, the Narrator should reduce the standard Difficulty (13) by one. For each fact sharing the same scene ID numerical designation as the current scene, reduce the Difficulty by 2. All reductions are cumulative.

This is equal parts pedantic and amazing. It appears that Dune was originally intended to provide a method for constructing adventures, and marking planned scenes with narrative tags that can interact with investigation skills. That’s great, although in its undeveloped form is is totally useless. The discussion of how to use the Projection skill also mentions requiring the player to describe the kind of information he’s seeking, and to bring up the notable facts that he’s committed to memory using Mentat Trance. I think that Computation, Mentat Trance, and Projection were supposed to form a sort of narrative trinity in which you would use Computation to analyze a scene for potential plot coupons, Mentat Trance to obtain the plot coupons, and Projection to cash them in for hard answers, major clues, and situational advantages. The sample difficulties explain that you can use this skill to discover immediately relevant stuff (these “diplomats” are going to ambush you) or clues about plotlines only tangentially related to the scene (the Baron’s comments could only mean that he’s trying to infiltrate the Atreides advisors).

Projection has four specializations: Approximation Analysis, Factual Analysis, Proximity Hypothesis, and Zero-bias Matrices. My zero-biased analysis leads me to hypothesize that these are an approximation of meaningless bullshit.

Sciences (Intellect): This is another case where the bounded skill list was kind of a lie. You can just have a Sciences skill, which grants general knowledge of all sciences, or the Narrator can split it up into Physics, Chemistry, and Biology with further specializations. Because why wouldn’t you want more of those?

Theology (Intellect): Deep knowledge of religion, including identifying symbols, customs, and mythologies. It doesn’t include the active use of religion as a tool for propaganda and indoctrination. There are specializations reflecting the many religions mentioned in the books--Orange Catholicism, Zensunni, Mahayana Christianity, et cetera, but those are just bits of flavour that demonstrated how religions have synthesized and splintered beyond comprehension over thousands of years.

Underworld (Intellect): Knowledge of secret and criminal organizations and how they operate. Specialization is by world or types of crime rings. It’s mainly used to get ahold of illegal goods and services; getting ahold of a shipment of lasguns is a very difficult task.

World Knowledge (Intellect): Knowledge of the planetology and broad demographics of a homeworld. Like Language, it effectively forces you to treat individual specializations as skills unto themselves. Ugh.


Captain! I’ve discovered a desert planet in a universe much like our own. Set on a much smaller scale, but in an equally complex system!

Justice of the Great

Administration (Intellect): Bureaucracy and logistics, and making use of them to manage an organization and plan major projects and missions. There are already a bunch of skills about knowing things or being in charge of things, but this game also needs a management skill, I guess. Dune is a setting of intrigue and assassination, and wars of religion, and space opera technology and cool characters like Mentats and Bene Gesserit. But you can play a guy who is an administrator, and put points in the Administration skill, and administer things. You know what else you can do? You can kiss my rear end. I’m tired of describing synonyms of the same word. This chapter has cost me half a bottle of Bulleit.

Command (Charisma, Nobles): Nobles use this skill to look impressive and boss people around. You can use it to order subordinates, plan projects, and influence dignitaries. I mean, there are already four or five skills that do that, but I guess this one is special because you use Charisma for it. Whatever.

Diplomacy (Charisma): With this skill you can negotiate agreements between Houses and other organizations, obtain concessions, and send people away happy. I like this skill especially because there are specializations for things that are unique to the Dune setting and likely to come up in a game, such as CHOAM affairs, Spacing Guild arrangements, and Kanly negotiations. Difficult tests involve things like arranging marriages between rival Houses and, at the extreme end, getting away with violating the Great Convention.

Espionage (Intellect): This is old-fashioned, Norman Smiley style spycraft. Forgery, cryptography, infiltrating an organization to gather information and relaying it back to your comrades. Infiltrating the Spacing Guild or the Sisterhood would be an epic feat.

Interrogation (Charisma): Coercing information out of people with an explicit or implicit threat. Ranges from pointed questions to sharp implements.

Leadership (Charisma, Swordmasters): Swordmasters use this to calm, discipline, and inspire troops in the field. It can eliminate penalties from fear and demoralization for other PCs.

Mercantilism (Intellect): The business skill. There are already a half-dozen business-related skills in this game, but I guess we need one called “Mercantilism” in case anyone decides to ship gold out of France.

Propaganda (Intellect): A skill you can use to convince the populace that arbeit macht frei or to keep calm and carry on. Skilled users can bolster their House, pass laws, or quell rebellions through sheer propaganda.

Psychology (Intellect, Suks): Suk doctors know how to diagnose and treat mental illness and trauma. This is particularly useful given that many factions in the Imperium know how to use hypnosis and psychological conditioning for subversion and infiltration.

Racketeering (Intellect): How to obtain money and favors but illegally.

Security (Intellect): Although this skill is said to represent understanding of security procedures and systems, all the sample tasks concern picking locks.

Statecraft (Intellect, Nobles): Nobles use this skill to further their House’s interests in political negotiations with tactics like flattery, bribery, blackmail, and threats. The description admits outright that it’s ultimately similar to Diplomacy, but involves scheming and bullying instead of reason. Congratulations, Nobles. One of your special class skills does the same thing as other skills, but calls you out as a privileged rear end in a top hat.

Subornation (Intellect): Used for indoctrinating someone under your control. Brainwashing, torture, and even brain surgery can be used to subvert someone to your will. On the other hand, you can use this to reverse the effects of someone else’s brainwashing.

Subterfuge (Charisma): Lying, plain and simple. You can use it defensively, to lie your way through questioning, or offensively, to feed someone false information, or to disguise your emotional state.

Voice (Charisma, Adepts): After a shitload of boring, superfluous skills that amount to convincing someone to do something, we come to an interesting skill that lets you order people to do something. The Voice is part of the Bene Gesserit prana-bindu training that teaches them to have precise control over every fiber of their being. When an Adept speaks in the Voice, she can issue simple, direct commands which are so perfectly modulated that they compel other people on a subconscious level, invoking, fear, submission, or lust. Possibly all three. The Voice is usually used for short commands like “Open the door!” or “Drop your weapon!” but it certainly can be used in small, scattered doses to manipulate people. Its use is fairly obvious, however, and a big part of the BG’s reputation as mysterious ninja sex wizards.


Maiden, mother, clone.

Prayers of the Righteous

Artistry (Intellect): It’s a skill for making art. You will never use it. “Write me a song, Baron, or I shall have thee executed!” No. But you can specialize in Cartography, which is a hoot.

BG Way (Intellect, Adepts): In order to use the Voice on someone, you have to analyze them with the BG Way skill first. The same way Adepts learn conscious control over themselves, they learn how to “read” other people’s voices, mannerisms, and body language, making them near-perfect lie detectors. Adepts can also use their own BG Way skill to resist it being used on them, whereas it’s normally resisted with Charisma and Subterfuge.

Bargaining (Charisma): Another negotiating skill? Really? Bargaining is entirely focused on exchanging something for something and setting a price. Using the skill can’t force anyone, PC or NPC, to accept a deal. Yes, this skill is explicitly worthless!

Charm (Charisma): Specifically for manipulating people to do things they otherwise wouldn’t, you sleazeball. A nearly impossible task is “seducing someone who hates you” which is really not that hard. Wait! I’ve figured it out! This skill list is so long and pedantic because the authors have never gone bar-hopping with college girls.

Equipment (Intellect): This game seriously has a catch-all skill for “using devices.” I recommend you put a bunch of points in this so you can substitute for all the other skills that involve using gadgets. I’m not kidding, they give air conditioning systems as an example of an advanced specialty. Yes, that’s why someone plays a Dune game. To be a graduate of the Salusa Secundus School of Air Conditioning Repair.


It’s not a purse, it’s a messenger bandolier.

First Aid (Intellect): This skill covers emergency medical care, including emergency surgery, to stabilize trauma victims suffering from injuries or poison.

Gaming (Intellect): Gambling! And cheating while gambling! And not getting cheated!

Observation (Intellect): Your generic spot/search skill. A good skill, nothing much to say about it, except that it is also used in a lot of tests to resist being fooled by skills like Impersonation.

Persuasion (Intellect): Persuasion is yet another skill for convincing people to do stuff. It’s different from the others because it’s based on arguing the substantive merits of your position. For example, when I say that Dune’s skill system is overwrought because of a reliance on unpublished content, the need to adapt an in-house system, and prevailing trends in game design, that’s Persuasion. When I say that this skill system is a godawful heap of nit-picking bullshit and I’m sick of it, that’s...Statecraft, I think.

Prescience (Prescience): Oh hey, there’s actually a skill tied to the Prescience attribute! And it’s called Prescience! With this skill, you can enter the altered state of consciousness of your choice (drug binge, meditation, meditative drug binge) and beg Daddy Narrator for a prophetic vision. The better you roll on the skill, the more accurate and less metaphorical it is, and advanced users can experience visions while awake instead of while sleeping or trancing. When Prescience works, it guarantees you a vision that will be relevant in the current story, but on the other hand, you can’t scan the future or seek information on specific subjects in the same way as a computating Mentat.

Prophesy (Prescience): Prophesy is a more blunt “Roll dice, get clue” skill. Unlike Prescience, you can attempt to Prophesy upon a particular person or place, and if successful, the Narrator will tell you something that absolutely will happen. The only catch is that it’s free of context--for example, you may know that another House’s diplomat is going to attack your servant at a meeting, but you will not know why. Maybe he’s saving you from an assassin!

Repair (Intellect): A standard repair skill, although Equipment already does that exactly.

Ritualism (Intellect, Adepts): Do you remember me mentioning the Missionaria Protectiva in a previous update? Ritualism is like a super-Theology skill, which Adepts can use to recognize and exploit the many beliefs, legends, and superstitions with which their forebears have been “seeding” civilization for millennia. In practice, an Adept can wander into a completely unfamiliar culture and use Ritualism to analyze their beliefs, figure out how it influences their customs and behavior, and figure out a way to fit in, or even to be regarded as a holy figure.

Sabotage (Intellect): Considering that there are already Assassination, Equipment, Repair, and Security skills, I’m not sure this is necessary...except that it encompasses demolitions, too. Who doesn’t love explosives?

Truthtrance (Intellect): Truthtrance is essentially an advanced form of BG Way, and thus probably not a necessary skill in its own right. The difference between the two is that while BG Way detects emotional states and lies, a Truthsayer can listen to a false story and analyze it to determine what really happened--even if the teller doesn’t know that their story is false, they’re relating a botched account they heard second-hand, or they’ve orchestrated the situation so that they don’t know the details. It’ some serious Rashomon poo poo.

Now that the skills are done, there are a bunch of cool traits. They will have to wait until the next update, because I am tired. I hate this and I hate you and I hate myself and if Matt Colville and that other guy are reading this, I hate you fuckers too. I don’t care if Last Unicorn forced you to use their lovely Star Trek system.


Please! No more skills!

Next time, on Dune: Traits.

Selachian
Oct 9, 2012



Halloween Jack posted:

Espionage (Intellect): This is old-fashioned, Norman Smiley style spycraft.

Like how to evade a tail by doing the Big Wiggle?

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

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

I encourage all of you to write your reviews while soured on rye and watching Tuesday Nitro.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


Rifts Mercenaries Part 13: "This item is the rage in the Mid-West."


This gun was made from all the leftover gun parts.

Northern Gun Weapons

These are the manufacturers located out of Ishpeming, who we haven't seen much of since Rifts Sourcebook. We won't get any more detail on them, but we do get new guns! It also mentions that Northern Gun has a new power pack that can be used to recharge E-Clips on the go six times a day, but is... uh... specific to each gun, and goes like 60k+ credits. Because that's just what you need for your 5k credit gun, is a 60k recharging system. Rifts has a fetish for ammo tracking, which is odd because a lot of character types (wizards, psychics, some robots) don't have to worry about guns, so why should people with some of the weakest weapons keep having to scrimp and scrounge? Anyway, on to the guns:
  • NG-56 Northern Gun Light Ion Pistol: Remember the Han Solo gun from the main book? This is a lighter, cheaper version that's less effective in every respect.
  • NG-E4 Plasma Ejectors: You know the plasma weapons made by the Coalition, Triax, Kittani, and... well, pretty much everyone else? This is the Northern Gun version. In case you're in to brand loyalty or something.
  • NG-E12 Heavy Plasma Ejector: This is a heavier tripod weapon, and actually does respectable damage for a Rifts small arm (1d6 x 10, mini-missile damage). It notes there's a variant that can be used as a rifle by power armor or cyborgs, but... doesn't tell us how much strength is needed to use it. Ooops.
  • NG Hand Grenades: Like Coalition grenades, but weaker. Which is tragic, because Coalition grenades are already pretty pathetic. But they're cheap, at least?
  • NG-LG6 Northern Gun Laser Rifle & Grenade Launcher: It's not particularly effective, but they did drop the price of the NG-Super laser pistol and grenade launcher (say that five times fast) as a obsolete weapon at this point since this and a lot of other weapons are just plain better now.
Also, a lot of the weapons in this section use "standard" rate of fire, which upgrades them to being able to dump their clips and do 3d6x14 damage or whatever (unless you miss). It's still unclear, even eleven books into the line here, if energy weapons are supposed to use the burst fire rules.


Somebody watched Aliens, yes.

Then we get rules for plastique (useless), dynamite (also useless), but somehow they've developed Mega-Damage dynamite and plastique. I don't know how. Mega-chemistry, maybe? We also have rules for mines. There are "Anti-Personnel" mines that won't significantly hurt most personnel, and "Anti-Vehicle" mines that won't significantly hurt most vehicles. Maybe if you can get people to run over a bunch of them? Seems like more a deterrent than an actual weapon. They also sell a new survival pack that's mostly a bundled package of tent, radio, survival equipment, etc. Finally, we get the:

NG-EX10 Gladius Light Exo-Skeleton Battle Armor


Can you guess who this looks like? That's right, Orson Welles!

To follow up on their Han Solo ripoff, there's a body armor that's a Boba Fett ripoff. Only, unlike Boba Fett, it isn't particularly impressive. Come to think, Bobo Fett fell into a giant sandbutt, so nevermind that. In fact, it's supposed to be a cheap, inexpensive power armor with a battery that only lasts about four days of continuous use. It basically just gives double to three times as much M.D.C. as a regular armor suit, some super-speed (40 MPH) and very mild strength enhancement. For some mysterious reason, it also grants an extra attack. It's cheap for a power armor at 150K credits, but it's still too expensive to be throwaway.

Next: Wellington Beef. Wait, no, guns.

theironjef
Aug 11, 2009

The archmage of unexpected stinks.



Halloween Jack posted:

I encourage all of you to write your reviews while soured on rye and watching Tuesday Nitro.

It's rare that I podcast sober, but I am a rum man.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


Rifts Mercenaries Part 14: "The rounds are outlawed in the Coalition States, banned as 'cop-killing' bullets."


The rubble-based genre of RPGs.

Wellington Industries

From the city of Wellington... Michigan? Ohio? Wisconsin? Illinois? Somewhere in Canada? It's not clear. In any case, they're fierce competitors for Northern Gun as far as arms sales to Lazlo and other city-states, and it looks like Northern Gun and Wellington may come to blows. The only point of non-competition is that Wellington can't make robots like Northern Gun does. Wellington Industries focuses on projectile and explosive weapons, though, instead of energy weapons, though they do produce some identical knock-offs of laser weapons from Northern Gun.

Naturally, this leads to several pages of guns. A lot of the standard firearms can use depleted uranium or explosive ammo, neither of which does Mega-Damage... where theyr'e getting the depleted uranium is, as with Triax, a mystery.


Using a four-dimensional clip, apparently.
  • WI-10 Caseless Pistol: An S.D.C. machine pistol. Unimpressive. What's worse, for the price of two of these, you could have a Mega-Damage pistol. Save your money.
  • MP-23A Caseless SMG: An S.D.C. submachine gun, and if you put in depleted uranium rounds, it can do 1 Mega-Damage with a 20-round burst. Oh, joy. Only 700 rounds to take down some of the weakest armor suits! And only 5,000 rounds to take down a dragon hatchling! Congratulations, you just bought an expensive irritant.
  • WI-23 Missile Launcher: Like the Coalition's missile launcher, only with a bigger clip. Like the Coalition's missile launcher, it does unimpressive damage for something with only six shots.
  • WI-GL4 Revolving Grenade Launcher: It fires grenades 1000 feet, but requires near-superhuman strength to use effectively. You know, just like real grenade launchers. It's hampered by the fact that grenades are terrible in Rifts, but it beats a laser pistol. Unless that laser pistol gets to use the burst fire rules, mind.
  • WI-GL20 Automatic Grenade Launcher: Now we're talking. This requires high strength to use outside of a tripod, but it fires bursts of grenades that can do up to 3d6 x 10 damage, the same as a Boom Gun, one of the deadliest weapons in the game. You only get four burst shots unless it's on a tripod, but hell, if you're a cyborg, you can actually match up to a Glitter Boy with this goddamn thing.
  • WI-40M Fire & Forget Super-Heavy Missile Launcher: This is a disposable rocket launcher that weighs 120 lbs. and files one medium-range missile (with a range of 10 miles). Solid damage, but not worth its weight and strength requirements.

Because you always put the clip right in front of the sight.

We also get "WI-10" and "WI-20" Ramjet Rounds" or "WI-2E" Explosive Rounds that can do... minimal to fair Mega-Damage. Wait, didn't one of the previous sections state that you couldn't make old slugthrowers into Mega-Damage weapons? I guess it was lying. They also make computerized missile launchers that automatically fire missiles at a predesignated target of any size, in case you need to fire a self-defense "proton torpedo". Yeah, those are in Rifts. I don't know why.

Next: Hearts of Iron.

Bieeanshee
Aug 21, 2000

Not keen on keening.




Grimey Drawer


Hey. Isn't that one of those 'Totally not a Jenner' Mechanoids in the foreground there?

Green Intern
Dec 29, 2008

Loon, Crazy and Laughable



I'm loving the product numbers on those grenade launchers. Wiggle Wiggle.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


Bieeardo posted:

Hey. Isn't that one of those 'Totally not a Jenner' Mechanoids in the foreground there?

Looks like.

Mechwarrior... Mechanoid.... it's an honest mistake!

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


Rifts Mercenaries Part 15: "The Iron Bolt is built on the Iron Fist chassis, but the turret has been replaced with an MLRS-120 Multiple Launcher Rocket System (MLRS) with an internal auto-loading magazine that holds up to 120 mini-missiles!"

Iron Heart Armaments, Inc.

This is a company that has the same name as the Coalition State of Iron Heart. Why?

:iiam:

We get some boring history about them saving a community from xiticix by making guns and tanks, but it turns out the xiticix weren't much of a threat after all. Sure, wh'ev. They're filling a niche in that they do make modern Riftsian tanks and aircraft that other companies aren't because... well, they're dumb, I guess. Because Siembieda thinks tanks are dumb, mostly.

Iron Hammer Main Battle Tank


Try not to think about perspective.

Despite only costing 4 million credits (a Glitter Boy costs 25 million, for comparison), it has nearly as much armor as a Glitter Boy, and can fire HEAT rounds that do as much damage as a Boom Gun. Which is only logical, honestly, and mostly just highlights the ridiculousness of the Glitter Boy in the first place. Sure, the power armor will have a singular crew and fits into smaller spaces, but its laser resistance is relatively useless against a tank like this, and it has to lock down still to fire its weapon. In any case, the tank also has some secondary (dinky) railguns and a vulcan laser that actually nearly does as much damage as the main gun. It also has medium-range missiles, and... gently caress, this might be better for a party to start with than a Glitter Boy.

Carella's writing this section. I can tell.

Iron Fist Medium Tank


The diet tank.

A cheaper, modestly weaker version of the Iron Hammer. It has a weaker main gun, a weaker laser turn, and smoke dispensers instead of missiles. It's respectable at a 2.5 million credit cost, but isn't the powerhouse the Iron Hammer is.

Iron Bolt Missile Vehicle


Perhaps the most effective combat vehicle in the game.

This is an Iron Fist with a big set of missiles instead of a turret, and thusly ends up being rather ridiculous... because the missile rules are broken. It can, for example, fire 10 mini-missiles to do 10d6 x 10, or six long-range missiles to do 24d6 x 10, enough to one-shot nearly any vehicle in the game. Its huge drawback is that if you blow up its rocket launchers (150 M.D.C.), it explodes, doing all the damage of all the missles left in the system with a 600 foot radius (normally, that radius is 50 ft. or so). That's right - its missiles are more powerful being accidentally detonated than they are actually being fired at targets. Rifts!

Iron Maiden APC-10


Hope you're on nice, flat terrain for those side-mounted missiles.

Not the name I'd choose to bolster morale, there you have it. It's modeled after older APCs, and so it's not the rolling fortress that Coalition APCs tend to be, but actually has a solid autocannon, missiles, smoke dispenser, and laser turret. In fact, with the missiles, it may kick more butt than the Iron Fist, but it can't take as much damage. It can carry a 10 man squad, but some people do a camper-style conversion to make it into an actual living space for two people (seriously, envision this thing with a camper shell).

Next: The Unfair Force.

Alien Rope Burn fucked around with this message at 13:13 on Aug 8, 2014

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


Rifts Mercenaries Part 16: "The CS has issued a public warning that any Air Castles entering CS air space shall be considered hostile and blown out of the sky without any communications or negotiations!"

Iron Heart Aircraft

"Some mercenary companies have realized that air superiority can be an important factor in combat." You think? In any case, Iron Heart makes an series of VTOLs. For some reason they all have sonar, somehow...?

Grey Falcon Attack Jet


"Streamlined."

This is becoming a mainstay of non-Coalition nations, which seems like bad news for the Coalition, given they don't have any major aircraft (they have a transport and the SAMAS flying suits). It can land VTOL-style, but can't actually hover around effectively. Apparently, it's also modular can can be disassembled and reassembled in 10 minutes... somehow! It can go MACH 2, and this is a situation where the ridiculous 1,000 mile range of medium-range missiles really matters. Instead having to deal with the horizon, it can literally bombard ground targets well out of their range. It's got a dinky rail gun, but the missiles can do 8d6 x 10 damage with a volley, so gently caress that.

It seems like one nation with a few of these could take over other city-states without air support with relative ease. Granted, the military infrastructure of Rifts is very poorly thought through, but if you have jets and your foes don't, you'll likely win.

AC-29 Air Castle Bomber


"I call it... the Spruce Moose!"

As if to underpin what I was just saying, here's a superfortress-style bomber, and a number of kingdoms (like Northern Gun) have already bought some. Larsen's Brigade, being the special snowflakes they are, already have a fuckin' dozen. The Coalition has threatened Iron Heart over their manufacture, and tends to blow them out of the sky on sight (or just opportunity). How they do that with their lovely anti-air forces, I dunno, but there you have it. They're already coming up with a plan to murder all of New Kenora (where Iron Heart does its manufacturing), which seems to ignore the fact that Iron Heart has loving superbombers, and they don't.

It's pretty tough, but not much more than a Glitter Boy or tank, and can go up to 500 mph for short periods of time, and has some effective vulcan and auto-cannon defenses, as well as missiles. The big deal is that it has a guided bombing system that automatically hits stationary targets (and +5 to hit non-stationary targets), and can drop up to 30 bombs a turn, each the equivalent of long-range missiles, so it can do... uh... 120d6 x 10 per round. :eek: Also, it has long-range missile launchers in case it wants to shoot you from the other side of the continent.

It's interesting to see Carella bring in modern military notions, and also interesting to see the system creak and then shatter under the weight of them.

Iron Eagle Attack Helicopter


"But does it have enough missiles, really?"

This is a gunship-style helicopter, and has a nautical variant with pontoons and torpedo launchers (rules for torpedoes are in the next section). Its M.D.C. is almost irrelevant, though, since nearly anything can shoot one of its rotors and watch it Black Hawk Down. So. Not the best idea Iron Heart's had. However, the broken quality of the missiles comes again, since it can shoot 24 mini-missiles an attack for 24d6 x 10, or do decent damage with its autocannons. Oh, and it can shoot you with medium-range missiles from about 50 miles away. So there's that.

Next: Battle in the bathtub!

PoontifexMacksimus
Feb 14, 2012



Alien Rope Burn posted:

Iron Bolt Missile Vehicle


Perhaps the most effective combat vehicle in the game.

This is an Iron Fist with a big set of missiles instead of a turret, and thusly ends up being rather ridiculous... because the missile rules are broken. It can, for example, fire 10 mini-missiles to do 10d6 x 10, or six long-range missiles to do 24d6 x 10, enough to one-shot nearly any vehicle in the game. Its huge drawback is that if you blow up its rocket launchers (150 M.D.C.), it explodes, doing all the damage of all the missles left in the system with a 600 foot radius (normally, that radius is 50 ft. or so). That's right - its missiles are more powerful being accidentally detonated than they are actually being fired at targets. Rifts!


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/TOS-1

Alternatively, in the spirit of 80's state-of-the-art toyetic supertech...


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1K17_Szhatie
Soviet Cobra Experimental Laser Tank, available from your local toy store this Christmas!!

Edit: and that Iron Eagle sure has taken some inspiration from the Hind...

PoontifexMacksimus fucked around with this message at 21:28 on Aug 10, 2014

Kai Tave
Jul 2, 2012


Fallen Rib

Alien Rope Burn posted:

Iron Maiden APC-10


Hope you're on nice, flat terrain for those side-mounted missiles.

You know what a great idea is when you're designing an armored vehicle? Strapping a bunch of exposed, lightly armored explosives to the side.

Maxwell Lord
Dec 12, 2008

I am drowning.
There is no sign of land.
You are coming down with me, hand in unlovable hand.

And I hope you die.

I hope we both die.


:smith:



Grimey Drawer

Alien Rope Burn posted:

Iron Eagle Attack Helicopter


"But does it have enough missiles, really?"

This is a gunship-style helicopter, and has a nautical variant with pontoons and torpedo launchers (rules for torpedoes are in the next section). Its M.D.C. is almost irrelevant, though, since nearly anything can shoot one of its rotors and watch it Black Hawk Down. So. Not the best idea Iron Heart's had. However, the broken quality of the missiles comes again, since it can shoot 24 mini-missiles an attack for 24d6 x 10, or do decent damage with its autocannons. Oh, and it can shoot you with medium-range missiles from about 50 miles away. So there's that.

Next: Battle in the bathtub!

I'm reasonably sure some of those missiles will hit the helicopter itself on the way out.

Bieeanshee
Aug 21, 2000

Not keen on keening.




Grimey Drawer

Kai Tave posted:

You know what a great idea is when you're designing an armored vehicle? Strapping a bunch of exposed, lightly armored explosives to the side.

Yep. Reminds me of one of the things we learned from playing Robotech: if you're not making called shots on the head, make called shots on the missile pods.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


Rifts Mercenaries Part 17: "Like the AC-29 Air Castle Bomber, this vessel has been outlawed by the Coalition and, excluding the four Free Quebec vessels, will be destroyed without warning whenever it is encountered."

Iron Heart Watercraft

Continuing the Iron Heart military wankfest, we have boats! They have shipyards at Duluth, and a lot of people are buying their boats for self-defense... but so are pirates! Oh no! :ohdear:

We get rules for torpedoes and depth charges, which are basically shorter-range missiles that get wet, and are less likely to have a chain weapon that blows them all up when you shoot down a torpedo during a torpedo barrage. That's all you need to know about the amazing world of torpedoes!

Black Eel Torpedo Boat


Yeah, you an just make a huge aquajet, I guess?

A small hydrofoil, it has a 14mm machinegun that does passable Mega-Damage with explosive rounds, can fire heavy torpedoes, but only one at a time, but still... has a 50 mile range. Boom. Also, it can drop depth charges. Like the Iron Bolt, it self-detonates if you blow up its torpedo bay. A small design flaw, there.

Triton Patrol Boat


Because gently caress decks, amirite?

A medium hydrofoil, this acts as a patrol boat and often has a standard compliment of four flying suits of power armor for scouting and defense (power armor not included). It can file sixteen mini-missiles at a time, two medium torpedoes, has two rail gun turrets that almost have the damage of a boom gun, and depth charges. Pretty respectable, all things considered.

Sea King Missile Cruiser


Yep. That's a boat.

This is a full-scale, 10,000 lb. cruiser, and can carry up to forty flying armor suits and a few helicopters. Most of the Coalition has been frowny-faced on them, but Free Quebec has been buying them up. This is one of the largest war vehicles we've seen in the game, with the M.D.C. of three Glitter Boys, tons of missiles, torpedoes, rail gun turrets that do near-Boom Gun damage, cannons that do long-range missile damage, and depth charge launchers. Kind of underwhelming given its size, honestly, I'd expect it to be able to field weapons that did more significantly more damage than the robots and tanks we've seen so far, but... nope.

And that's it for Iron Heart. I'd probably be willing to hire them to outfit my army, they seem to have more sense than nearly any arms manufacturer I've seen in Rifts, including Triax or the Coalition. Carella's clearly a more sensible writer for this kind of thing, though the missile rules make any logical use of missiles something that halts combat while you roll dice forever, and then win.

Next: The Naruniiii....
...iiiiii... iiiiii... iiiiii.... iiiii... iiii... ii... i.

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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:


"But does it have enough missiles, really?"

This is a gunship-style helicopter, and has a nautical variant with pontoons and torpedo launchers (rules for torpedoes are in the next section). Its M.D.C. is almost irrelevant, though, since nearly anything can shoot one of its rotors and watch it Black Hawk Down. So. Not the best idea Iron Heart's had. However, the broken quality of the missiles comes again, since it can shoot 24 mini-missiles an attack for 24d6 x 10, or do decent damage with its autocannons. Oh, and it can shoot you with medium-range missiles from about 50 miles away. So there's that.
So ten of these can kill a minor god.

...Siembieda has no loving clue how balance is even spelled, does he?

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