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occamsnailfile
Nov 4, 2007



zamtrios so lonely

Grimey Drawer

Alien Rope Burn posted:

It's in my first printing copy.


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

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

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occamsnailfile
Nov 4, 2007



zamtrios so lonely

Grimey Drawer

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

Tezcatlipoca

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

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

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

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


Tlaloc


me-yow

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

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

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

Huitzlipochtli

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


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

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

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

occamsnailfile
Nov 4, 2007



zamtrios so lonely

Grimey Drawer

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

Quetzalcoatl the Rebel


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

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

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

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

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

Xolotl


feathered lassie

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

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

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

Xipe Totec

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

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

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


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

Xochiquetzal

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


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

Cihuacoatl

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


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

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

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

Tlazoteotl

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

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

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

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

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

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

occamsnailfile
Nov 4, 2007



zamtrios so lonely

Grimey Drawer

Zereth posted:

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

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

occamsnailfile
Nov 4, 2007



zamtrios so lonely

Grimey Drawer

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

The Sons of Quetzalcoatl

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

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

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

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



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

Nahualli the Sorcerer


i can’t resist showing this belly shirt

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

Janelle

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

Cihuateto the vampire


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

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

Huitzilpochtli, Warrior of the Sons

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

Xolotl, dog boy


Rin Tin Tin has a gun

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


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

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

occamsnailfile
Nov 4, 2007



zamtrios so lonely

Grimey Drawer

Alien Rope Burn posted:

Rifts Conversion Book 2: Pantheons of the Megaverse: Part 9: "5th level priest of the Pantheon of Sumer (lapsed; cannot perform any clerical miracles anymore)."



I got really interested in Sumerian/Babylonian myth a while back and had forgotten how weird this rendition is, though the myths themselves are pretty weird already. But I don't think I ever encountered a reference to the scorpion people--I may have to look that one up. This also isn't even remotely the only fictional source that I've seen use Gilgamesh as a living entity who succeeded in his quest for immortality eventually, and remains a dick into the present day. I wonder why that focus is so appealing--and I've even done it myself--when the end futility of his quest was somewhat the point, the story being his legacy.

occamsnailfile
Nov 4, 2007



zamtrios so lonely

Grimey Drawer

Alien Rope Burn posted:


Rifts Conversion Book 2: Pantheons of the Megaverse: Part 10: "Eventually, he had found the answer from a mysterious man who called himself the Cyber-Mancer."

The Dark Council

"Well, we just decided for truth in advertising."

This is a trio of power-hungry mercenaries that are trying to find a way to artificially become gods. They conquer lands and then try and find ways to sap the P.P.E. of worshippers, and have become as powerful as demigods.

Wait, you can do that?

A lot of the false pantheons are kind of more interesting than whatever Rifts angle the main body got, though they're still overpowered compared to PCs most of the time. These guys wanting to be gods is totally a PC goal, a lot of PC groups would be down for that. Also this book uses Sowki like two or three times, when there're even other deceitful shapeshifter races in Conversion 1 and here in Pantheons, as well as at least one in Wormwood--which, they included the Mechanoids here and there, but not the Living Planet. I know Wormwood stuff is often heavily restricted from rifts travel but they made a point of how connected to Earth it is. Maybe it was ignored because they have a mysterious churchy religion they didn't want the headache of explaining or displacing. Wormwood also doesn't seem to have any native gods.

quote:


Next: A Greek Tragedy (of stats).



occamsnailfile
Nov 4, 2007



zamtrios so lonely

Grimey Drawer

Rifts Conversion Book 2: Pantheons of the Megaverse: Part 11: "They are “true” gods, dependent on worshipers for power and able and willing to grant spells to their priests and devotees"

Time to enrage some classics majors! On the upside, characterizing the Greek gods as trifling, spiteful dicks is pretty accurate so if that’s the direction we end up in we won’t be too far off the mythical mark.

It looks like we get three setups: The Pantheon of Olympia, basically the real deals. Then we get Dark Olympus which is basically evil intelligences and beings using Roman names or something. And then the Olympian Club, a bunch of posers pretending at being Olympus & crew in order to screw money out of rubes and earning the annoyance of the other two Olympian-themed agencies.

On with the Pantheon first! Descended from Titans (not to be confused with Palladium Titans which were descended from the D&D monster manual) which were all monstrous and such their leader, Cronus, kept eating all his kids so nobody would ever beat him. Zeus was saved from this fate and killed Cronus and etc etc freshman English. The Greek myths of course became a major cultural touchstone for a lot of European thought and classical references abound even in modern works, though they are thankfully less ubiquitous and no longer used to cloak politically impolite metaphors or whatever. This means that the Greek pantheon retains higher than average influence on Rifts Earth though they still re-appear weakened

As far as other pantheons go, they are still mad at the Persians for that whole rivalry and warfare thing from back in the day but they aren’t actively fighting anymore, they just post catty godbook updates. The Egyptian gods apparently abandoned Egypt after Herakles defeated Anhur and went off to do other dimensional things but now they’re back too, and dislike Olympia. Sumerians and Greeks seem to get on well, similar fondness for out of control parties perhaps. The Greeks fought the Norse when the Romans were conquering up in Germany and such and apparently Herakles and Thor dream of a rematch. They dislike the Splugorth but don’t want to deal with such organized and strong entities unless they have to. The Olympians want Atlantis back, and are pally with True Atlanteans. They don’t as a pantheon seem to have a specific agenda on Earth aside from ‘get their own’ I guess.

Now, on to specific gods. Zeus is the obvious starting point. Zeus was god of rain and lightning and all that, necessary for agriculture but slightly malicious. He loved to seduce women which never went over well with his wife Hera, but Hera was not able to attack Zeus directly both because of Greek cultural norms and a much weaker statblock, so usually just lashed out at the seduction victims, and Zeus usually didn’t lift a finger to help them.

The first paragraph says he’s an enemy of demons and alien intelligences, the third says he is not very concerned with moral issues and is extremely self-absorbed and only fought the forces of darkness when they threatened Olympia. He is written as mostly being unconcerned with mortals, though he does like him some worship. He’s prideful and won’t accept being upstaged by god or mortal, and particularly dislikes pretenders. All of this is pretty accurate in general, though it’s been a while since I’ve read Greek myth (in any version) directly to like quote stuff.

In coming back to Earth, Zeus is likely to send priests and demigods first to work on his cult, particularly in Mediterranean/European areas because there’s no place like home. I think Greece was briefly mentioned in NGR but basically it’s troubled by demons and monsters like everywhere else and the pantheon will protect the people provided they are worshipped and etc. They would be a southern rival to the Gargoyle Empire and the NGR’s struggles would appeal to some of the pantheon (why this is explained under Zeus’s section and not before I do not know) but they’re unlikely to take a direct role, since the NGR is all ‘nuh uh no D-Bees’ which would probably include gods. It is entertaining to watch though.



They’ll also seek worshippers among some of the various magic-friendly and otherwise desperate communities “around the world” which--just ignoring that. Oh, here we go back to talking about Zeus in the singular again--he might try to help drive the Splugorth out of Atlantis because he wants True Atlantean worshippers and he doesn’t like the Splugorth. The pantheon as a whole isn’t strong enough to do this by themselves yet (would they ever be?) and there isn’t an organized enough force to oppose them. It also mentions that the Greeks don’t know about Wormwood which I think wasn’t even mentioned in the others, and says that the poor oppressed peasants might welcome any saviors which is kind of direct opposition to Wormwood which said ‘gods mess up anything they get involved in, good thing Wormwood is unlikely to be of interest’. So there’s that.

Okay now the actual stat block. 100K MDC/20K to start with. Usually loud and overbearing, he is king and will let you know it but very charming with the ladies and “a female player character with a PB of 20 or higher may become the next target of his affections.” :ohdear: Good thing it requires blatant cheating to get a score that high and what munchkin would waste a perfectly good dump stat to prove the legitimacy of their sheet?

Another ‘20th level’ air and water warlock. 15th line walker, 15th warrior. Regen an average of 75MDC per round, good grief. Shapeshift into any humanoid or animal--obviously. Gotta go be a sexy swan.

All of this is mostly standard ‘god stuff’ until we get to the obvious special Zeus power: The lightning bolts. These do 1D6x10 MD and he can attack with them up to his number of melee attacks, which is eight. The disparity between the amount of MDC these and other god-creatures have and their weak-rear end damage continues to be a source of :bang: but that damage level and number of attacks could lay waste to a PC group pretty quickly even without having to look up a bunch of spell effects.

There’s also weather control. 3x daily, Zeus can start or stop rain in a 100 mile radius. If it’s cold enough, it’ll snow instead. He can fly above clouds to control and herd them over a 1000 mile area to make bigger storms to punish people he doesn’t like, much the way as described for Tlaloc, with the 3D6 minute duration. That plus all the warlock magic.

For skills, “Most normal skills are of little interest to Zeus. When attempting anything, he has a minimum chance of 60% to succeed.” So he has an equal 40% chance to fail at operating a basic radio and performing heart surgery.

He has a shitload of spells and psionic powers, basically this statblock will not shut up. He is close friends with Herakles and the Hundred-Handed and is chummy with Thoth (who is...the amnesiac Old One right? That’ll end well with mister ‘hates alien intelligences’) and can always rely on his brother Hades but apparently not Poseidon. Also he has a race of minions called the Greater Cyclops, statted later. Most importantly about them, they make magic bolts which are even stronger than Zeus’s lightning--either 2D6x10 or 3D6x10, no explanation for the differentiation or why you’d ever use the smaller one. It’s not clear if these are used up after one use or not--probably I guess, since Zeus’ll sometimes give 3D4 of them as rewards. Great, impress a god, get 6 shots of boom-gun equivalent. Awesome.

As a whole, he pretty much sounds Zeus-y, with a bunch of ridiculous stats.

Herakles

Certainly, more important than Zeus’s wife Hera the queen of the gods or all the other heroes, it’s Herakles. To be fair, he is probably Zeus’s most famous by-blow but you can kind of feel the love of the authors rubbing off on the text. Anyway, he was born super-duper strong and only got stronger, likes to do quests and fight challenges. Has a bit of his father’s temper and accidentally killed his family once while under a curse--maybe Hank Pym shouldn’t feel so bad. Just kidding. Hank Pym doesn’t feel bad. Also, the book doesn’t mention that it was Hera who drove him to madness which is kind of an important point in most versions of that story. Anyway he completed his labors and was eventually saved from death by elevation to Olympus and now roams around having a rage disorder (“a typical fit lasts 3D4 minutes”), challenging strong PCs to contests of might, and fighting evil.

40K/8K MDC, weighs 500lbs of ‘all muscle’, Supernatural PS 70. For some reason they give him equivalent Heroes Unlimited levels (12th level “alien warrior”) and powers (Extraordinary Strength, Endurance, Speed, Healing Factor and Impervious to Fire and Heat for whatever reason) but otherwise 12th level warrior in Rifts, or Mercenary Fighter in Fantasy. Okay.

He can regenerate severed limbs! the text says breathlessly. (so can all of them) Doesn’t breathe and otherwise has a lot of godly resistances and teleportation stuff. Speaks Italian specifically in addition to Euro and has a little bit of Spanish too. Does 2D4x10 with a punch, which is more than a light-your-rear end-up thunderbolt from Zeus. Has zero spells, that’s refreshing, and only 100 PPE. Barely even worth blood-sacrificing. Basic defense psionics--mind block, auto-defense, sense magic.

Otherwise he just has some cool magic toys. The Bow of Herakles is an indestructible holy weapon--you remember those good-hearted weaker brothers of the rune weapons in Atlantis? This is one of those. Only Herakles can use all its powers :smuggo: For him? 1D4x10. Anybody else? 2D6 MDC. Triple damage to demons, vampires, and alien intelligences.

Also the Nemean Lion Cape: Unpiercable skin, killed it by strangling, wore its skin as a coat afterwards and never you mind how they managed to cure it. Sharp weapons do no damage, ‘energy attacks’ do half, but ‘kinetic’ attacks do full. It doesn’t give any armor rating rules for it being a cape rather than actual armor but honestly that’s a blessing.

So: overpowered GM PC. Involving Herakles in a game would more or less be putting a ‘better-than-you’ hero down on the table and having him lead the action. He’s proactive in going out and doing stuff--it could be interesting to have to clean up messes he makes in being an overzealous dudebro but eventually one is going to want him to go bother someone else.


Next: Hera and Hades, not quite a triple-H

occamsnailfile fucked around with this message at 05:42 on Apr 11, 2014

occamsnailfile
Nov 4, 2007



zamtrios so lonely

Grimey Drawer

I've seen the 'gods powered by belief' thing in enough sources that I can't really sort out the origin anymore. I read the Avatar Trilogy two or three times in pre-high school and I recall that while worship was cool for gods and all that, it didn't kill Bhaal when they murdered all the assassins did it? It just hurt and weakened him. A quick browsing of current online FR lore suggests that they've revised and added complexity but a god is still a god and even 'dead' ones linger around causing mischief. I've seen it outside of game sources though I am struggling to name--it's something that's brought up when people get into debates about why God wants worship and demands love and such.

In Rifts though, it's just weird and inconsistent.


Rifts Conversion Book 2: Pantheons of the Megaverse: Part 12: "But her centuries as a cheated wife have permanently deranged her"

Hera, goddess of women. Mother of many of the other gods, jealous of her husband’s many infidelities. Since she was not able to confront Zeus directly, she took her wrath out on anyone else in reach--this is a reasonably accurate portrayal of human behavior when confronted with an abusive situation where one party is disempowered in a primary relationship but still has power over others (ie children, slaves, etc) as a Greek wife of a citizen might be, so the myth was kind of playing from life there. It doesn’t make Hera a nice being though she is at least sympathetic in a way, having such an asshat cuckold spouse.

In Palladium’s characterization, despite her title, she is way less concerned with mortals and way more concerned with defending her own pride. The centuries of putting up with Zeus’s adultery have “permanently deranged her” and she has pretty much given up on being nice to powerless people who have done her no harm. :sigh: This gets worse though: Hera was long prone to murdering, deforming or otherwise attacking the targets of Zeus’s affections if she found out about them. She finally “went too far” and killed an Atlantean before Zeus had sealed the deal, and caused the death of several of her relatives in the process. Zeus attacked Hera in a grand show of divine domestic violence and nearly killed her, saying if she “ever killed anybody again” he’d destroy her. Anybody? I mean there are some beings out there that deserve killin’.

Since then she is sullen and more psychotic than ever because her man be wandering and nothing else could possibly matter in her life, nor can a being thousands of years old consider the possibility of divorce. She spends her time making intricate plots to get revenge on Zeus’s lovers without taking a direct hand and is now miscreant instead of anarchist. :barf: She wants him to be as miserable as she is and “regularly hires a pair of Sunaj assassins and a 9th-level Nightstalker dragon to commit murder.” All her positive aspects have been folded down into being a jealous spouse who trafficks with dangerous enemies. She literally has a Palladium-statted insanity Obsession about getting revenge on Zeus, plus Paranoia and--what the crap, Schizophrenia, hearing voices taunting her about Zeus and urging her to hurt and kill. :stonk:


she also appears to have lost her nose to madness

For all that, she barely tops Hercules for power: 45K/9K MDC. Her Horror Factor is 14, because there is nothing scary like a woman scorned. She’s a 15th level ‘Sorceress’, regenerates an average 7.5 MDC per minute (same as Herakles) and knows all Domestic skills, but so like a lady she can’t even change a tire? Seriously, assigning skills to gods is really dumb. Her hand to hand is total crap but she knows all spells 1-15, has all sensitive and healing psi-powers. This is actually one of the briefer blocks except for the fact that ‘knows all spells’ includes pages and pages of abilities you have to look up.

RPGs not being extremely good at women is not a new thing exactly but they’re whiffing them all out of the park in my sections, and ARB’s didn’t seem to be faring so well either. She barely tops a former demigod for power and looking ahead she is definitely weaker kin to Hades. That and this MRA strawman psychotic wife thing makes this a really miserable presentation.

Ugh, moving on. Hades

Brother of Zeus, one of those kids who got et before Zeus cut them all loose. Hades, Zeus and Poseidon took the underworld, the land, and the sea as their domains--the section doesn’t mention Poseidon for some reason though he’s statted later. I mean he has some of the Aquaman problem of being the ocean guy and all but it’s just weird. Anyway, Hades got the underworld aka the realm of the dead. He doesn’t hate mortals or anything, he is just primarily concerned with his necrolactic pursuits. The Palladium Underworld is a “transdimensional realm” where enemies of the gods are imprisoned and tortured and one of Hades’s hobbies is creating these proper comeuppances. It’s also where the “inter-dimensional Prison of Tartarus” is located, where the Titans are locked up. If I were trying to lock something up in the Palladium-verse, I would not make it an inter-dimensional space. Just saying.

The underworld borders a lot of demon kingdoms and Hades has to be constantly on guard, but it’s also full of treasure so you know the PCs will be breaking in there. Hades is just so badass that not many people attempt it openly. Also, Poseidon, Hera and Athena all endured a stint in Tartarus and “this even is not known to mortal chroniclers and may surprise students of mythology.” :rolleyes: I am hopingthey explain what conspiracy caused this apocryphal addition later because it seems important, otherwise it’s super-pointless to include. Hades is generally mostly a homebody who administers his prison-realm with Aberrant fairness.


those are corinthean-style spikes

Numbers-time. 80K/16K MDC, cold and grim, no mention of Persephone, 15th level sorcerer and diabolist, and can turn and/or animate 2D6x100 dead at will. Hades once almost killed ‘Succor-Bemoth’ from the Conversion book. Looking back at that guy with his piddling 1500 MDC, the only way I can see that Hades didn’t kill him was that he got bored doing 1D6x10 a round and just told the guy to leave. Oh, he has an Impaler rune sword that is mentioned without plugging Atlantis that actually just repeats the relevant stats. And magical plate armor with 2,000 MDC because he needs it so. Also he has a Helm of Invisibility that makes you double-invisible, even to things that normally see invisible (almost everything except Coalition soldiers) but it “only” lasts two hours a day.

Hades has a generally defined role but very little personality--which is to be expected I suppose. PCs wouldn’t have much to do with him unless their GM was a classics type who wanted them to retrieve a soul and then he’s just an invincible impediment unless they play a riddle game or whatever.

Cerberus

Just in case your PCs were bull-headed (come now, we’re done with Babylon) enough to try and break into Hades, Cerberus gets his own block. He’s a watchdog. IQ of 13, capable of speech, but he usually just growls and stuff first, then attacks if people get too close. Maybe you could fool him though, if you have a good story. (“Just need to step in to use the bathroom--”)


who’s a good boy awwww who’s a good boy

4000 MDC, putting him in adult dragon range, can turn invisible at will for some reason and spits acid that does pitiful damage for 1D6 rounds unless washed off with “several gallons” of water. Granted that’s pitiful mega-damage. Eight attacks per round, 3D6x10 bite, and a 2D4x10 pounce with an 80% chance of knocking an enemy down and making them lose initiative and two melee attacks--which is actually a passably balanced iteration of that stupid pounce attack all those Wormwood critters had. Of course, if I were being an evil rules-lawyer GM I’d just have him pounce around from PC to PC costing two attacks per hit since he can do that eight times a round. With these stats, Cerberus actually does more damage than most of the other gods mentioned so far, he’s just easier to kill.

Charon

It’s almost like they want you to go on an underworld quest. Charon, guardian of the River Styx, which ‘leads into Hades’s realm’ from, I guess, the other parts of ‘Hades’ which is also a dimension because they didn’t want to say ‘Hell’ in the Conversion book. The whole ‘penny for the dead’ thing doesn’t apply here, Charon is a greedy sumbitch like the worst bouncer at the most exclusive club--you have to be on Hades’s list. If you are on the list you can pay with ‘1 credit’ which is A) apparently a coin and B) interdimensionally accepted.

5,000 MDC and Pilot Boat and Swim at 98%, his boat and staff are indestructible which actually makes them kind of valuable and his attacks aren’t all that great. I say we kill him and take his money.

That’s all the underworld people, until we get to the Hekatonkheires later, though they’re just extra-grabby prison guards really. Next we’ll get to the letter A. Seriously. That seems to be part of the organizational principle at work here.

occamsnailfile
Nov 4, 2007



zamtrios so lonely

Grimey Drawer

I agree that Hades is pretty myth-accurate, so is Zeus really. My main puzzlement with him is how much attention they spent on Hades himself and the dimension and minions. It's also unusual that Rifts encountered a god or being of death and did not immediately go SUPER EVIL like they usually do. That they badly mischaracterized a female deity is alas not surprising. Myth-Hera often does terrible things to people but her motivation is so very human that it becomes tragic rather than simply cruel.

Also the guy doing the art in the Greek section is Vince Martin, I really can't remember if he's responsible for a lot of work in other books. Pantheons required a fair bit of art so they have a lot of different talents on display through the various groups.

occamsnailfile
Nov 4, 2007



zamtrios so lonely

Grimey Drawer

Rifts Conversion Book 2: Pantheons of the Megaverse: Part 13: "A kind, loving warrior goddess"



Athena

Athena is everyone’s favorite Greek goddess and she does come off as kind of less of a prick than some of the others though she certainly had her pride and vanity like all the rest (Arachne). Sprang from the head of Zeus one day and has been crusading against the powers of darkness ever since. She often gives hints and clues to heroes by changing her shape so it may be good practice to give a hoot and respect any nearby owls. She believes that with great power comes great responsibility, and thinks all these lazy gods spending their time on family politics are jerks. She’s not wrong but it may be better if they stay away.

Here it explains the thing from Hades: Apparently she was so disenchanted with Zeus’s idle adultery and unconcern that she allied with Hera and Poseidon to overthrow him, which failed, and all three got thirty years of Hades time. After getting out of prison, Athena has distanced herself from the pantheon and is making friends with True Atlanteans and other meddlesome good gods like herself. She tends to operate behind the scenes being a plot device but she has taken time from her busy owl schedule to beat the crap out of Ares on multiple occasions, for which he hates her.


she might want to take a break from fighting evil to eat a sandwich though

45K MDC, 20th level warrior -- I really don’t get using these nonexistent levels, I mean it just doesn’t mean anything -- 10th level ley line walker. Shapeshifts at will into a ‘human-looking woman, man, or owl’ which suggests just one of each which would be kind of funny. Bio-regenerates and has a bunch of dumb skills and a kick that does 7D6 MDC for some reason. She’s pally with a few of the other ‘specifically good guy’ gods and has her special spear which can remove curse at 70%. It also does 6D6+6 MD, less than kicking people, except that it doubles against ‘supernaturals’. Triple against Splugorth and vampire intelligences. That’ll show ‘em. Also returns when thrown. Athena’s shield is indestructible, yet ‘light as a feather’ which gives her a higher parry bonus and a set of 400 MDC armor for some reason.

More or less your standard do-gooder NPC in Palladium games, but it does note that she can come off as kind of a schoolteacher or know-it-all, kinda lecturing folks. I think if I had to lead Hercules around by the nose through the haze of his dumbness I’d be a little exasperated too.

Apollo

Apollo, the sun, patron of the arts and stuff. He’s more often depicted with a lyre to contrast him from Artemis but here they have him with a bow AND winged sandals. He has the gift of prophecy but be careful when asking about the future. He’s a furious enemy of giants and evil dragons specifically and as a sun god he quickly forces vampire intelligences to hide their shame. Other Greek gods resent Apollo for being effortlessly good at everything and also because he’s kind of arrogant. He almost fought to the death with Hercules once over not sharing information and Zeus had to separate them (?). Hera hates him specifically as one of Zeus’s bastards, Ares resents him for “a number of reasons.” Currently he is engaged in studying the expansion of the Splugorth as they might be a threat, he’s maybe going to stop them but can’t do much yet because the forces of good are incapable of allying in the Megaverse.

56K MDC, more with the ‘20th level warrior’ business, line walker and healer. Knows all medical arts ‘except cybernetics.’ Regenerates an average of 30 MDC a round. For 25 PPE each he can bless an arrow, causing it to turn gold, have +3 to hit and double damage. Given that the rules for bows and arrows were buried somewhere in an unrelated section of a previous splat, this is utterly useless, though he does have 8,000 PPE. He also has the “Gift of Prophecy” which tends to bring its dooms most harshly on those who seek to avoid it and it operates at “GM’s discretion” so railroad away. He also has an 80% chance to raise the dead as long as they’re fresher than a month; up to a year at 30%

His Sun Bow is a greatest rune weapon that does 2D6x10 and communicates via telepathy, fires arrows made of solar plasma (finally...the lightning bow from the D&D cartoon) and the bow can cast some spells of its own.

Aphrodite

I haven’t been at this long but I’m already cringing anytime sexuality comes up anywhere within a goddess’s pantheon. And yep, she’s “the most lecherous of the Greek female deities.” She’s a beauty queen, vain and hedonistic. Apollo and Athena dismiss her as “that little harlot.” Slut-shaming is a sure sign of a fierce warrior of light. She uses sexuality to manipulate and get what she wants. She’s an ancient fertility goddess who was invited to join the pantheon after her old (forgotten eh) pantheon exiled her because they fought over her too much. :sigh:

She’s married to Haephestus who is just resigned to her exploits and lately she’s rumored to be having an extended affair with Krishna (:ughh:) or trying to seduce Arr’thuu (double up :ughh: :ughh:) so this is basically as much as Rifts is capable of with female sexuality.

18K MDC (so much swingy variation) and she is “the worst stereotypes you have heard about cheerleaders, fashion models, beauty queens, groupies and blondes” so basically “all the girls Siembieda did not get laid by” and 12th level line walker. She has more spells than they’ve given some of the other sexy girl gods but not much else, no special love magic hypno-powers or whatever, just lady parts which is black magic enough I guess.

Hermes

Trickster and messenger, charming rogue, only Greek god to have had a childhood. Well, aside from Pan I think, but I doubt he’s in here. Man there are a crapload of Greeks. Hermes is also a god of magic and alchemy, and likes fast cars. Apparently the last time Ares tried to pick on him, he pulled out a railgun and fired a couple of bursts into the “surprised war god.” Which, I mean, I know it can take a while for older people to adapt to technology but the Splugorth and other old civs have had these for a long time and you’d think Ares would pick up on it. Anyway, Hermes is the messenger of the gods and that’s why he often discovers new things first. He also likes to crack wise, which will undoubtedly be a barrel of laughs at the gaming table.

15K MDC, 15th level line walker, diabolist, scholar and alchemist, 8th level operator and 6th level techno-wizard. That’s...a lot of levels. He also has ‘over 1000 different vehicles’ (eat your heart out Jay Leno). He also has a bunch of other technological doo-dads of the sort that most of the gods we’ve read about so far disdain for <reasons> His Winged Sandals let him run at 400 mph or fly at Mach 3. His magic winged headband lets him sense rifts and nexuses and locate Olympian gods anywhere in the Megaverse.

And then there’s “the Herminator.”

A ‘rail gun pistol’ techno-wizard device custom-built for him, and requires supernatural PS of 20 or greater to use. It looks like an old .44 because that is what was available for reference drawing and does 1D4x10 per burst, holds ten bursts of ammo of Hermes’s ‘own unique design’. At least it makes CSI’s job easier. Seriously, Herminator? :rolleyes:

Artemis

Artemis is twin sister to Apollo and swore to remain a virgin after her true love (Orion) was killed. Unlike Apollo, she is not so driven to truth and justice and screws with mortals more frequently. She is a big old woods-loving hippie who hates the way technological societies allow the Weaver to spread its dread infl--harm nature. In particular she has ended up kicking the rear end of some Mechanoids for their world-devouring habits. She also likes mutant animals like Coalition Dog Boys and may someday go all PETMA on those who mistreat uplifts. She has a little pocket dimension full of happy mutant animals she’s rescued. The Wolfen of Palladium fantasy might like worshipping her if anyone cared about Palladium fantasy.


cartoon birds do her hair after the squirrels mess it up

56K MDC, dimensional teleport at 64%...this is lower than most of the others and I wonder why they bother varying the number much. It also seems odd for a wide-ranging ranger with a private dimension. Oh, she’s a 20th level wilderness scout, because THAT will be useful. And a 10th level line walker and 6th level dryad which is the first time I’ve seen any of these mention those dumb classes from England, but good show on reading your source material Carella. She can also bless arrows like Apollo and has ‘Oneness with Nature’ which states that no animal will ever harm her--but monsters (99% of the ecology in Rifts) are a different story. She apparently used to lead a group of demigods and godlings, but “most of them died, a few at her hands when they tried to take advantage of her.” Because we can’t ignore a declared virgin I guess, that is a challenge. She’s starting up a new band now, hint hint. This is under the minions section of her statblock by the way, not in the main fluff. Also her Golden Bow which is just very slightly less good than Apollo’s, mostly in that it has limited ammo.

Enough for now! More for later! Like a lot more.

occamsnailfile
Nov 4, 2007



zamtrios so lonely

Grimey Drawer

Rifts Conversion Book 2: Pantheons of the Megaverse: Part 14: "The like, one legitimate child of Zeus and Hera"

Ares, god of war. Ares conflicts with Athena in that they’re both gods of war, though Athena was more the soldiers’ god and Ares more the concept of war itself, or something, this is what the book says and it just depends on who you read. He was still a respected god, being of war, and sacrifices were made to him to earn luck in battle.

Still, for a god of war, he’s kind of a dink. He’s been defeated and captured and otherwise outdone by practically everyone, he’s like that guy you beat up to show your new guy is tough, like Juggernaut in Marvel. He isn’t very smart and won’t admit defeat until it’s inevitable. Doesn’t care much about right or wrong, just about fighting. Is prone to starting fights as a result of this.

50K/10K god numbers, loud-mouthed bully who hates losing and is a big giant jerk. Blames others for his defeats and hates Herakles for once besting him. He’s ‘only’ a 15th level warrior and regens an average of 50MDC per round. His Special is an Aura of Discord, which causes a save vs. magic or be filled with rage and blood-lust. He must be a hit at parties. This apparently cannot be turned off.


image comics preview, coming to newstands this fall!

His hand to hand is decent with a 1D6x10 kick, 3,000 MDC plate armor because ?!, holy sword that does the same damage as his kick except bonus against demons and etc. Kind of a clunky dull block, straightforward. This is reasonably close to some of the portrayals of Ares I’ve read, YMMV. The only problem is that god-numbers make him unusable as much at any PC level.

Dionysus, god of wine and festivals. Dionysus was a demi-god who got the god nod despite being an illegitimate child of Zeus. Hera hated and tried to destroy him, then eventually reconciled because who can stay mad at the god of wine? This must have been pre-descent into total madness phase.

Anyway, he developed a bunch of what we came to call bacchanalian paraphernalia on pre-rifts Earth and mostly just likes to party it up with satyrs and maenads and other mystical beings, basically a popular chap on the megaversal campus. He could sometimes be cruel, if parties went foul, but his usual mode was kindness. He hangs with Soma a lot (TBD) and go around having parties that may be dangerous or life-altering to the humans involved.

Numbers: 32K/6.4K, dislikes moralizing temperance leaguers and isn’t really careful with the tolerances of mere humans around him--if a drunk driving crash killed a human friend of his, he’d feel bad, then go drink more. He’s a 10th level Sorcerer.

He has special powers: Dionysus’s Gift, which allows him to turn any normal drink into alcohol of his choice, even disguising the flavor of the alcohol so it isn’t obvious to the drinker. He can even make brews that would be toxic to humans but affect dragons and gods--though he never deliberately introduces this to the wrong audience. Just...a drunk dragon is a drunk dragon.

Then he has an animal transformation power. He can change humans and most non-mega-damage beings (Wormwood humans?) into animals by looking at them for 15 PPE. Save v magic at 16 or higher, it remains for 1d4 days or forever if he spends an extra 200PPE.

He can also commune with nature and summon 1d6x100 ‘gentle animals’ Disney style to keep him company or serve drinks at his festivals or whatever. And lastly, he has an aura of fertility/infertility he can bestow on 1000’ radii around him. He’s not a combat god but he has a lot of friends, his parties could serve as good networking or setpieces that could move on and leave some ravaging or mystery in their wake. For some reason it specifies that he dresses in ‘flowing oriental robes’ because the Greeks didn’t have anything loose and breezy like that.


seriously what is up with this ‘playboy orientalist’ look


Hephaestus was the blacksmith god who was born ugly and crippled, supposedly birthed by Hera alone as revenge for Zeus having Athena alone. She cast him off Olympus because he was deformed. He was raised by two spared Titans and became a master smith. Hera had thought herself rid of this unpleasant child when she received a mysterious golden throne as a present. Sitting on it, she couldn’t get off it. In the end Dionysus persuaded Hephaestus to come to Olympus and Hera apologized for her cruelty in a rare display.

Hephaestus married Aphrodite, some say as a reward for freeing Hera from the throne, others say by other forms of blackmail--the myths vary on this one. Aphrodite treats her marriage pretty lightly, and Hephaestus occasionally takes some kind of embarrassing vengeance but is unlikely to get a fidelitous spouse out of what was probably not an entirely consensual union.

45K/9,120 MDC, withdrawn and quiet nerdy gadget guy unless talking to another craftsman. Been mistreated all his life, kind of expects others to act badly towards him. 20th level ‘weaponsmith’, 14th sorcerer and fire warlock, only 4 level techno-wizard and operator--late to the technology party one supposes. He is one of the few gods listed who could successfully operate a telephone.

His combat stuff isn’t tremendous, but he’s a crippled blacksmith rather than raging warrior. He does have an invisible net for catching adulterers, chains of binding that only he can open (I forget which myth that’s from), and arrows of slaying that are +1 with 25% range and inflict 1d4x10 MDC. He gives these to various arrow gods who need them. He also has a lot of other weapons and stuff he’s created, too much to detail.

Eros God of love. How shall Palladium treat sexuality in a male god I wonder?


eyyyyyyy

Aphrodite’s son, concerned with love, but unlike her he is concerned with the love between two other people rather than love of himself. How selfless. Except that it isn’t, of course, he plays pranks, makes mysterious strangers fall in love at first sight, and is occasionally hired to cause love between deeply inappropriate figures--the current mission being to make Hera fall in love with a Splugorth--which, well, gross. The requestor of this mission was probably Zeus but he disguised himself of course. Obviously, Hera’s fidelity and justifiable anger at philandering means she should be mind-controlled into sex with a tentacle monster.

Eros accepted this mission, and he’s also deeply in love with Psyche whom he married against his mother’s wishes, don’t remember all the details there and Psyche is not detailed in this book, go check wikipedia and then make up some random numbers.

15K/3K numbers, has various love arrows that are good for 48 hours or must be re-created: Pink causes no damage but creates amorous feelings with a save of 18 or higher to avoid confessing one’s long-held crush. Gold arrows cause love in the first person of appropriate sex they see (save 18 or higher), Lead arrows destroy love and create dispassion. He isn’t very combatty but usually has a dozen arrows of slaying, a dozen lightning arrows, and various love arrows in his quiver. Obviously making PCs fall in love with people is never going to result in excruciating-to-creepy scenarios.


Poseidon

Oh, here we go, that other major pillar of the pantheon, Poseidon, way back here at the end. In Rifts, he resented Zeus being overking despite having all the oceans to himself, and plotted a coup that failed; that was a while back and afterwards he moved into a peaceful watery planet dimension full of happy amphibians who were perfectly content to adopt Poseidon as their new god. Everything was fine, he’d abandoned Earth, left Zeus to do his philandering, etc, and then the Mechanoids came and blew it all up. Now, one thing in the Mechanoid sourcebook that was kind of key was that the Mechanoids hadn’t really figured out rifting yet, as when they did it would be...a problem. This section (and perhaps other mentions) seem to suggest otherwise, or a parallel evolution or something. Anyway it doesn’t matter, Poseidon hates Mechanoids and if they start menacing the US East Coast as suggested in their sourcebook, he will totally come flopping out of the ocean with a bunch of angry dolphins.

83K/16.6K MDC, tends to act like a big stern force of nature, often assuming giant sizes and whatnot. 20th level air, water and earth warlock, 10th line walker--line walker is like a required 101 class in god school I guess, if they want to get around. He can also create earthquakes as per the spell, but for no PPE at 15th level. He can do likewise with sea storms. And he can talk to fish. And sea monsters avoid him--which might be an interesting point to address in Rifts: Underseas but I don’t think it is. Also he can summon elementals at will--which, that’s kind of crazy powerful, elementals are somewhat nasty and just juggling out dozens of them is pretty OP. He also has a rune trident that does 2D6X10 and can cast some sea/storm related spells, and a conch of storms that also again summons storms, four times a day. Seriously this guy is into storms.

Triton, Tamer of the Storms

I...huh. Somehow all that stuff about Poseidon causing storms just dovetailed neatly into this guy I guess. Anyway Triton is Poseidon’s son, herald, enforcer, main dude. He’s lived even more of his life underwater than Poseidon and after the Mechanoid incident he has sworn to defend all seas in the Megaverse, and this will come up all the time because Rifts: Sea Shepherd is what we came here to play. Also it suggests that if for some unthinkable reason you wanted to use him in Heroes Unlimited or Ninjas and Superspies games, he could “team up with the “mermaid” codenamed Undertow” from Villains Unlimited. In Palladium Fantasy he could become champion of some crap nobody cares about doesn’t Fantasy have a pantheon already?

14K/2,800 MDC, 9th level warrior, 7th level water warlock. He can also speak to fish, though he can’t command as many at once as Poseidon can. Neither of these gods can drive a car--or even a submarine. He has the Horn of the Ocean which casts several water warlock spells including calm storm and permits understanding all languages when held to one’s ear. He also has a ‘Sea Sword’ that has three blades in a trident shape, does 1D6x10 and magically returns when thrown which Poseidon’s trident does not apparently.


aqua-khaaaaaaaaaan

Next: The Great Titans of Olympia

occamsnailfile
Nov 4, 2007



zamtrios so lonely

Grimey Drawer

So I have a tendency to get really behind on F&F and then catch up in kind of a marathon fashion, which is one reason I don't comment a lot unless posting a review. I ran through a couple months today in fact, and got some of the Scion in the process, which was an interesting contrast of another way to miswrite mythology.

It also means I am happy to hear peoples' corrections and additions on myth stuff that is included--I did some research and so did ARB but there's a lot to say about all these guys. I can admit without too much shame that RPGs helped push me into an interest in mythology, but actually reading something closer to source provided a much different view generally. It also helps that myths vary over time and speaker, as the context and emphasis of the stories change.

Or, to be really brief: gently caress joseph campbell, and also gently caress the idea that stories have only one version with one ending. We can most certainly make up our own, and in that I support Pantheons for just going crazy as it does.

The fact that Pantheons is also just balls-out crazy and really, really bad at female deities is uh, well, we'll call it period charm.

occamsnailfile
Nov 4, 2007



zamtrios so lonely

Grimey Drawer

Rifts Conversion Book 2: Pantheons of the Megaverse: Part XX: "Prepare for lots of baby-eating"

These are the titans, who were portrayed as fairly inhuman predecessors to the gods even in myth but I am pretty sure they did not refer to them as “alien intelligences” and all that stuff about them ruling over a “golden age” is stuff made up by Zeus to avoid “a panic among mortals” which whatever, gods lie, we know that.


clearly a black-figure classical representation

So yeah, that big ugly there is Carella’s rendition of Cronus through the lens of Rifts. He is sometimes called Father Time but “has no special powers over time, nor is he a four-dimensional being like Zurvan.” Well okay then. Cronus created a bunch of humanoid servant-gods (aka “the gods”) to help him interact with his human slaves and then got afraid they were going to overthrow his rear end and ate all of them but Zeus. Zeus made a deal with the Hundred-Handed and Prometheus and managed to defeat and imprison the Titans. Also it makes a special note that these are totally unrelated to the Titans in the Conversion book. Cronus is evil and wants to get out of jail but hasn’t managed it yet.

Strangely, he’s not as vastly overpowered as Zeus or some of the others, perhaps to represent a reduced state from his long imprisonment. 60K maximum, but he starts at 30K which is an edge on a lot of these god-figures. He’s mean evil mean wants revenge etc, not very much to see. 20th level line walker and mind melter. He has a lot of the ‘Alien Intelligence’ powers like dimensional teleporting and regeneration plus half-damage from energy attacks and ‘magic potions’ and can do that essence-possession thing. He can also devour other beings to gain their power, which takes a little bit of time and makes you insane if your ME is less than 19.

Eight physicals at 1D6x10 or four psionic or three magic and man does he have a lot of spells and all psionics. The absurd MDC numbers make these kinds of villains difficult to envision in any kind of campaign that didn’t involve importing the SDF1 from Robotech.


Prometheus
Titan, but a good guy Titan who helped out mortals even behind Zeus’s back once Cronus was out of the way, since basically everybody craps on normal humans in Rifts, including the core book. But the one that got Prometheus in real trouble was teaching humankind about fire. He had that gut-eating punishment for thousands of years until Herakles freed him at which point Zeus had more or less forgotten why he’d put him there, so he’s free again and trying to fight the good fight but prefers knowledge to just fighting and so builds up spy networks and things. Sure, okay.

40K/20K MDC, noble, fatherly, teacherly, etc. 18th line walker and scholar. Actually knows some skills besides ‘speaks Dragonese/Elven and Greek’. He’s fairly tuff and knows all spells and lots of psionics and networks with other positive gods. In an attempt to give him some nuance, he will help humans over non-humans and might side with the CS in some of their legitimate issues with non-human empires.


Atlas Titan of Strength

I have trouble remembering what the strength numbers mean in Palladium, particularly with the split between supernatural/not supernatural. Anyway, Atlas is a relatively minor figure--his biggest story is the one where Herakles actually managed to trick him. He remains under his mountain where he was put as punishment for working with Cronus and if he ever got free, he’d go on a rampage. The mountain is noted as being in Tartarus which is...they haven’t been really clear about that in this sense. Hades is both a person, a realm, and home to several other demonic hordes that rent out space or something. Tartarus is connected to it I guess. Anyway he’s pretty tough and strong and does a lot of damage with nine attacks a round and 80K MDC so it would be fairly bad if he got loose, just not in a way that most PC parties could in any way affect.


Hecate

Goddess of magic and mystery cults and stuff household blessings and ghosts and poisons and herbs and the moon sometimes and crossroads and--honestly she was a complicated deity who came into Greek myth from an unknown outside source, she sort of joined the party and became a major figure. Here, she’s a Titan who taught Zeus a lot about magic, wears bondage gear and wants to become the most powerful entity in the megaverse and doesn’t care about humans. This is kind of a huge digression for a deity who was very common in household worship but w’ev. She’s learning Temporal Magic and Rune Magic and Bio-wizardry and otherwise dabbling at forbidden secrets all over the place. The sort of interesting wrinkle to this megalomania she has is that she believes that “gods” are not truly immortal, that they’re all slowly slowly dying and she wants to prevent this.


i wonder how many points she costs in a dark eldar army

For all that power-hunger and being an ancient Titan, she’s somewhat less robust than expected. 30K/15K, though she has magic pouring out her ears--20th level alchemist, line walker, necromancer, diabolist, summoner, and 7th level temporal wizard. Oh and Aberrant alignment. She has a Splugorth High Lord as a minion and has a lot of other similar hangers on. Trying to run her would be a headache of spell lists, but a lot of these writeups just feel like some kind of checkbox exercise. She also has that demonic armor pictured above, which is a bio-wizard item of which lesser copies may be bought for the low, low price of 2D6x10 million credits. It has 7,000 MDC and self-repairs, teleports to her body, has a stinging poison tail and retractable blades that add 3D6 to her hand to hand attacks, has a forcefield that halves energy damage and halts bio-manipulation up to 750 MDC and then...a horn beam. Which shoots lighting. 1D6x10. I suppose if you’re going to bling out insane bone armor it should shoot lightning.

Minions and Others

So here is where they describe the Greater Cyclops (not to be mistaken with the other cyclops from the giants section of the monster manual) who were ‘normal cyclops from the Palladium world given superhuman powers by Zeus’, okay. Anyway they’re a race of godlings and they make lightning bolts for the lightning god and are immune to lightning. They’re not offered as a PC race, strangely enough.


we’re young...love is a battlefield!

Then there’re the Hundred-Handed who have been mentioned specifically several more times than Atlas or Charon but I guess since there’s more than one of them they get put under ‘minions’. They are ‘Super-Godlings’ who fail at being gods because their IQ is limited to 1D4+3 and they basically have the emotions and loyalties of small children with 3D6x10,000 MDC each. They’re 60 to 80 feet tall and Zeus was the only person who was nice to them before the War of the Titans and they still love him for it. They’re also NOT recommended as player characters, specifically. Unless maybe they drink a magic potion that reduces their size and all combat attributes by half. Because a childlike eighty foot super-godling with 180,000 MDC is just unreasonable, but forty feet and 90K is balanced, since they both have an average IQ of 4. I am sure this would be a fascinating character to have at the table.

I think ARB touched on this briefly, but there’s sort of a mostly-unwritten suggestion that you could run a campaign based around playing various gods and related creatures, and with the Hundred-Handed it suggests that they might only be suitable in such a game. That kind of campaign is almost the only place where a lot of these god statblocks make any sense at all, but even then you have huge power variations.


’octo-handed’ didn’t have the same ring to it

End transmission. Next we get to ‘Dark Olympus’ which has filled me with excitement.

occamsnailfile
Nov 4, 2007



zamtrios so lonely

Grimey Drawer

I actually bought Falkenstein when it first came out based on reading a review in Dragon magazine. It wasn't even a totally positive review, but based on my liking of Rifts at about that age, I am apparently a sucker for cross-genre things. Also 'Steampunk fantasy' wasn't even really a term at that point, so I snapped it up. And it was neat. I only got to play it once, in a one-shot, but we had fun with it. I eventually mailed my copy of the book to a friend when I was cleaning things out, the binding was shot, but I still think of it fondly.


(the first RPG I ever bought with my own money was Shadowrun first ed, apparently if you stuck elfs in non-elfgames in the early 90s I would immediately buy it)

occamsnailfile
Nov 4, 2007



zamtrios so lonely

Grimey Drawer

Rifts Conversion Book 2: Pantheons of the Megaverse: Part 15: "Dark Olympus: no, not a new local goth club"

So basically these are alien and vampire intelligences and demons and other nasty beings that have taken up the Greek motif to try and tap into some of that reverence for the classical that apparently permeates the whole megaverse since Earth was really not in a habitable state for a while there until recently. This ‘pantheon’ is at war with itself, with two sides of evil actually fighting instead of having splugorth tea parties or whatever. The real Greek gods would be super-pissed to find about these guys (and there’s basically no way Hecate doesn’t know, given her writeup) but since handing the PCs popcorn and watching deities duke it out from the sidelines isn’t much fun, it’s not likely a conflict that will lead to anything.


the face of evil intelligence

Anyway, Jupiter, so-called for clarity of indexing I assume, is your typical evil intelligence out to hurt and kill and cause chaos and feast on blood and whatever. Apparently he was promoting defamatory cults in case you wanted to run into some of those in Beyond the Supernatural or something. He has MDC broken out by hit location, but 30K main body which is at the lower end of the god spectrum. It’s augmented by a glowing blue energy field which certainly makes him inconspicuous even in human form. Can summon lesser and major demons 3x a day which might actually be more dangerous than he himself is. He also can possess things with fragments of his essence and is vulnerable to silver, rune, millennium weapons, etc. Lots of magical knowledge, real pain is when he teleports out only to return another day. Not much of interest here really.


Hercules the destroyer

Well, it’s true Hercules wasn’t always the nicest guy but this one specifically serves Jupiter and is an unspecified species of ‘demon’. He’s violent and apparently naturally named ‘Hyrr’Klean’ which I really wish authors would stop doing. 1500 MDC so you could take this guy out, totally. Just do it fast, he has a 55% dimensional teleport so you might be able to get him before he runs away. Also he hates the dudes posing as Gilgamesh and Endiku Longhair. Supposedly this guy goes in and terrorizes cities before Jupiter moves in to take over but honestly he doesn’t really have the stats to back that up--I complain about the huge god-numbers on these guys but you get a whole Coalition regiment firing on a clear target and god-things start exploding. Just part of the whole balance weirdness of Rifts.


Mamers another demon servant of Jupiter

Mamers is apparently a demon given great power by Jupiter and is ‘so similar’ to Ares that they might actually become friends as long as nobody interfered with higher powers’ plans and realized the two of them are idiots. Apparently he’s a real jerk in the Atlantis arena and has humiliated several Atlantean champions on the sands so they aren’t keen on him.



3,000 MDC and is species ‘unique demon servant’, okay. He has a ‘rough code of honor’ which mostly means he obeys orders from Jupiter and keeps his word if given. He has a greatest run weapon spear that drinks souls, returns when thrown, 1D4x10 damage and an indestructible shield. Also a rune sword that seems like an afterthought.


Cupid (Terlin)
Because Eros wasn’t annoying magic-roofie enough, we have Cupid as well. Apparently he is a ‘Terlin’ which is something from Villains Unlimited, which sounds like kind of a Gremlin except with a magic bow and arrows to make people fall inappropriately in love. Where Eros’s block just sort of hinted at star-crossed hijinks, Cupid’s straight up encourages inappropriate and destructive relationships to be forced on PCs and others. It can be nothing but fun right? Only 200 MDC but can shrink to six inches high, animate small objects, open a dimensional portal to his bedroom--a golden bed with velvet covers, with hidden manacles and closets filled with torture instruments. Uh, yeah. He also gives advice to victims of his love-attacks like “When a girl says no, sometimes she means yes,” :catstare: So basically this is the worst thing so far, I mean it’s not like Greek myth was full of consensual sex, but Palladium usually avoids the topic of sexuality as much as possible except for magic rape arrows guy. All his arrows have a magic save of 15 or higher, but really he’s just best not included in a game.


Mercury the messenger, a fragment of Jupiter.

Mercury is basically a personality fragment of Jupiter and not a free-thinker or prankster like his Greek-named counterpart. He runs really fast and is bloodthirsty and sadistic but not cautious. This has caused him to be destroyed several times, but the life essence just returns to Jupiter, who remakes him. Honestly, someone, somewhere has to have a method for trapping these things. Hades clearly does. That might be worth a quest into the Underworld. He’s not very tough or very interesting and has a really vague description that makes me think of this more than anything:




Pluto: Vampire Intelligence. Because these were fascinating to read about before. Apparently Jupiter has killed Pluto’s master vampire several times and honestly it seems like it’d just be easier to give up and go somewhere else but whatever evil is actually fighting evil, let’s watch. Vampires and Vampire intelligences of course have some really dumb weakness to silver, wood, running water, and sunlight. He’s no pushover though he’s much weaker than Jupiter as a whole, unless he gets a good vampire factory running, so perhaps his obsession with that guy is for the best. He’s not very interesting otherwise. He didn’t buy into the ‘Pluto’ thing until ‘Phobos’ talked him into it.


Phobos Renegade Godling


house harkonnen is very disappointed in you

Phobos is a Godling with the actual Godling class, claims to Ares’s son expelled for ‘dreadful crimes’ though it’s up to the GM if this is true. Given his Diabolic alignment, it seems likely. He’s not quite a god, has a few unique abilities, and didn’t want to serve gods or even close to godlike-beings, thus turning down Jupiter and joining ‘Pluto’ instead. He protects vampires from hunters through trickery and betrayal and even suggests that he could infiltrate and attack Reid’s Rangers, which, well, good riddance. But really there is a lot of god/god-like activity in Mexico, plus the vampires.

Anyway he’s just a mean, poofy-haired dude who is pretty tuff but certainly not unbeatable if found out and could actually be a credible enemy for a group of PCs if they did not then have to start fighting the rest of this annoying non-pantheon.


The Furies

“These monsters are the fusion of mortal women with a tiny fragment of Jupiter’s essence.” :ohdear: He picks women who have been wronged or abused and are already insane and then tricks them with lies of power and makes them into minions. Well, okay, Zeus-likes are always jerks, it’s true. Apparently a character can make a psychology -40% roll and take several weeks to try and deprogram a fury back to a human mental state. They’re not super-tough, 4D6x10 MDC and they can hurt vampires though with what I am not clear--they have no listed natural damage and their equipment is ‘usually none’.

So that bunch isn’t terribly interesting, though this book provides a lot more varied material for Vampire Kingdoms than Vampire Kingdoms did on its own oddly enough. It’s just that a lot of it is weird importing from way abroad. But combine these guys with the Aztecs and then the actual vampire intelligences and then Reid’s Rangers versus the Sons of Queztalcoatl and whatever and you might actually have something.

We’re not done with Greeks yet though. We got one group of evil pretenders, now we get the con-artist scammers using a Greek theme.

occamsnailfile fucked around with this message at 00:24 on Apr 18, 2014

occamsnailfile
Nov 4, 2007



zamtrios so lonely

Grimey Drawer

Rifts Conversion Book 2: Pantheons of the Megaverse: Part 16: "Thunder Lizard Warlock is my new band name."

The Olympian Club is a group of ‘multi-dimensional con-men’ which is not a terrible concept if you just stop there, but we’re going to continue. It was founded a thousand years ago by a Thunder Lizard Warlock. In Rifts of course Thunder Lizards are a species of dragon, not dinosaurs. This particular dragon goes by “Zeus the Thunderer” and he assembled a bunch of co-conspirators, including “Hades”, a “time raider” which I assume is just a typo for temporal raider, a mutant super-being called Hercules (oh boy), a Conversion-book titan going by “Athena,” and assorted others. They are straight up god-pretenders who are looking to bilk money and power out of folks who don’t realize they aren’t worshipping the real gods--which, given the way a lot of the actual god-figures behave and how little they give back, there isn’t a huge amount of difference in some respects. These guys just don’t actually gain power from worship directly and live in a pocket dimension where they keep all their riches. “Any penetration into the pocket dimension will immediately be detected,” of course.

The group is considering operations on Rifts Earth and like to take the side of underdogs, for some reason--to keep it interesting as well as lucrative I guess. They avoid real gods of any kind since they’d basically immediately be found out, they will do business with the Splugorth but don’t like them, alien and vampire intelligences are not reliable allies and cause messes, and they think gargoyles are kinda cool for some reason. They’re mentioned as a possible thing for PCs to join if they’re powerful and selfish enough, and then goes on to detail the guardian forces: 60 Iron Golems from Rifts Main, 60 Wolfen warriors equipped like CS soldiers from 3rd to 8th level and 40 gargoyle warriors from 2nd to 5th. Just so PCs didn’t start getting ideas about winning.

Then we get some writeups for individual members. I’m going to gloss over a lot of this I expect. The first is “Zeus the Thunderer” of course, whose real name is “Trellacryth” and they refer to him that way to avoid confusion most of the time. He has gotten really good at playing sky-god and can fool a lot of people. He’s also loyal to his team and never leaves a man behind--he’s actually even Anarchist alignment. He’s got 6500 MDC which puts him on par with some of the very weakest gods, and 12th level in ‘Dragon’ as well as 8th in Air and Water Warlocking. He has a bunch of magic and psionics and all the adult dragon powers cranked up to 12 which makes him reasonably formidable, and he has a Lightning Spear rune weapon that’s pretty sweet.


this isn’t like a brilliant piece or anything but it’s interesting that they had Breaux do these guys, contrasted to Martin on the Greek gods proper and even the alien intelligences pretending to be Greek gods, the styles are quite different.

What were we talking about before I started looking at pictures? Oh yeah. Their Hercules imposter is just called “Hercules” and he’s actually Herbert Rowland from Heroes Unlimited Earth and has super-powers. Honestly, could somebody imitate Theseus or something just once? DC and Marvel both use Hercules in-world and we have three more renditions here. This book was published a little bit early for 300-style Spartanophilia but a “Leonidas” would be funny. Anyway, Herbert was a villain and got sucked into a dimensional rift during a fight, awoke in another dimension and ended up eventually joining with the Olympus club, where his Miscreant alignment serves him well. Also, he discovered the joy of mega-damage conversion in-character, as suddenly mundane slings and arrows could not harm him, whereas Heroes Unlimited guys actually would have to worry about a sufficient quantity of bullets. He’s not even remotely in the range of god-beings with 710 MDC, and he can do MD with his hands but a party of (patient) PCs could take him out, especially since he only has four attacks a round and is half-damage vulnerable to poison. He would be a decent mid-boss.

Next is a Tattooed Man going by Ares the Renegade. He was a Splugorth slave and performed well so got extra training but was not made into a ‘Maxi-Man’ for some reason. He was sent to war a few times and got separated from his team in a vampire dimension and Trellacryth invited him to join as a replacement for the last “Ares” who had died. He’s not particularly bad, just much happier being a rich con-man than a Splugorth slave and so avoids them at all costs. He has a bunch of the more useful tattoos, individually detailed; I’ll spare you. You get this instead:


whoa there sailor, go easy on the ink

Now we have “Archimedes” which is our first historical imitator. Real name Zach Tierney, human from an alternate world that advanced faster due to alien technology. His history reads a little disjointedly as he was building power armor to fight the aliens when “Zeus” recruited him out of nowhere. Zach is basically the stereotypical “young prodigy” character which is an archetype I hate. He’s a 10th level rogue scientist and techno-wizard with some additional magical knowledge. He’s designed custom power armor for the Wolfen who guard the pocket dimension and his “Atlas Assault Bot” which has a built-in rune sword (that weighs 600lbs) and a 50ft 1000 MDC body and several techno-wizard modifications--this is the kind of thing PCs would love to be able to build but you’d never be able to get the levels for it, Rifts doesn’t even generally have rules for changing classes even though tons of NPCs do it. Also they don’t stat the custom Wolfen armor, assume CS soldier I guess.


if one remembers the specific gargoyle size-comparison chart from Triax, this is actually pretty much to scale.

Next is Vulcan the Techno-Wizard, a dwarf from a fantasy world that wasn’t specifically Palladium because it had some technology. He was extremely gifted in the artifice of that realm and basically kept a prisoner so he’d keep pumping out marvels. One day “Zeus” and crew broke into his lab and set him free, and he joined straight up. Since he was a weak little SDC being who wanted be in combat, he got one of the absurdly expensive actually useful symbiotes to become a bio-borg. On his first mission, several innocent people were killed, and as a dude who had grown up mostly playing video games, the real thing was suddenly not so appealing. Nowadays he mostly stays out of combat and builds things for his club. He’s also trying to figure out rune magic which is a dangerous game since the Splugorth guard their secrets jealously. Friends with Archimedes obviously.


Athena the Wise is one of the monster manual titans who disappointed her parents by not going into the family paladinning business. Years of grueling study and combat training resulted in a child who did not want to spend all her time fighting evil, she just wanted to play magic x-box once in a while. Having been schooled in magic philosophy against her will for so long, she was good at making up deep-sounding but empty sayings, and so became the club’s Athena. She’s anti-authoritarian mostly, greeting the world with a general “you’re not my dad” attitude. 6th level line walker and warrior, with a holy sword she stole when she ran away which was “created by the god Thoth” millenia ago.


Venus the adventurer is an elf from a now-extinct world whose first experience with rifting sounds like the most common scenario: open rift, be overwhelmed by demons. She became one of the greatest sorcerers among her people as they wandered in the dimensional deserts for fifty years, and then found a place where they could settle. Ylliriel (elves, man) didn’t want to give up the life of a homeless refugee and so abandoned her people right after that and kept going, and eventually joined up with the Club. She took up the role of Venus “reluctantly,” being a woman of action, though she does try to do what she does in style. She has some decent magical knowledge and an artifact of unknown origin, a tiara of course, that gives her a 600 MDC aura three times per day, and some techno-wizard gadgets to let her fly, swim, run fast, lift cars, etc.


i hope this is an in-character promotional photo and/or Breaux tracing from an 80s album cover

Lord Hades is a Temporal Raider from England, one of the less-evil of this generally not super-evil breed. He is more interested in money than murder, though he’s capable of the latter. Trellacryth (man does that sound like a Splugorth name on purpose?) met him at an interdimensional market when he was attacked by a Temporal Wizard former pupil who had robbed his master’s hoards before the strike. After being rescued he had no choice but to join the club. He’s fairly brooding and alien, being a temporal raider, and is slowly learning what ‘jokes’ mean and sometimes takes dead animal jokes literally with ‘gross results’. :ohdear: He’s 12th level, which means he has a lot of the fairly powerful temporal spells, along with the raider’s array of natural abilities. So he’d be fierce and difficult to overcome, with capability of escape, but not impossible.

That’s all the statted-out club people. Some of these guys are completely within the range of things a PC could fight or interact with, and even have reasonably interesting personalities. Working together as a team, they would be extremely dangerous, but they’re not really evil, probably not more evil (as written) than a lot of PC groups, they are just as willing to loot from humans as they are from gargoyles, depending on the day. They could reasonably show up anywhere for some inscrutable and/or annoying purpose, and might be as likely to hire or co-opt the PCs as try to murder them out of hand.

I feel like I can sort of detect Siembieda’s direct intervention in some of the earlier god writeups where something has to be totally evil if it’s evil and so on, and here Carella maybe had more of a free hand. It’s often very hard to judge balance in Rifts--parties can vary so tremendously and employ really destructive tactics sometimes, so I don’t want to say this group (other than maybe Trellacryth) are overpowered, though instant perfect intrusion detection is kind of :rolleyes: If you stripped off the ‘Greek’ theme and assigned some other pantheon or even a made-up set of names, it’d work just as well--the Greek trappings only seem useful for places that might have heard of Zeus, which admittedly seems to be many in a broad universe.

As a whole the main gods range from fairly direct interpretations to ‘women are terrible, terrible whores’, and are too powerful to be more than passing presences in a campaign unless you’re running a really strong show or just hate your group. They’re better than the Aztecs, but that wasn't a high bar to clear.

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.

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.

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.

occamsnailfile
Nov 4, 2007



zamtrios so lonely

Grimey Drawer

Halloween Jack posted:

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

This is a rough summary in which I can't even be bothered to look up the Wikipedia version, but basically there was a gnome/dwarf pair (depends on the translation) who were really awesome craftsman, and he got into a dare with Loki, always a bad plan. The dwarves set to work and Loki came disguised as a fly and messed with the bellow-pumping dwarf, biting him. The dwarf didn't stop working, and they made (alright I lied, I looked this up) a shining golden-bristled boar. They took a break, had a snack, then started working again to make Odin's ring, mentioned above. Loki showed up as a fly and bit the bellow-dwarf on the forehead. He didn't stop working. Again, break and a snack, and then they started on the third phase of the bet--and Loki showed up as a fly and bit the bellow dwarf on the eyelid so hard that blood ran into his face.

He stopped long enough to wipe his eyes and that was long enough that Mjolnir came out with a shortened handle. Since it's a warhammer it's meant to be wielded with two hands; the short handle is a flaw then, since it can only be held with one. Thor was just so strong and badass that he could hold it. The dwarves won the bet with Loki even with the flawed handle, and they were supposed to take his head--but Loki argued they couldn't do this without touching his neck, which was not part of the bargain. The Norse gods get some cool new items, and Loki lives to prank another day.

occamsnailfile
Nov 4, 2007



zamtrios so lonely

Grimey Drawer

Hulk Smash! posted:




And this is it for Empire Galactique.

I dig the art in this book, I mean 'cut rate Moebius' is a fairly accurate descriptor, but you can do a lot worse than imitating Moebius.

occamsnailfile
Nov 4, 2007



zamtrios so lonely

Grimey Drawer

Rifts Conversion Book 2: Pantheons of the Megaverse: Part 25: "According to myth he could see 300 miles and hear the grass grow"


Morse Norsey stuff. We start today with Magni, son of Thor and supposedly strongest of all the Norse gods. Saved his father from a collapsed giant when he was still a child. If he ever meets Herakles, there’d be a really big and totally not homoerotic wrestling match. He wanders around looking for adventures and once teamed up with Krishna to defeat a supernatural intelligence. Sometimes this book reads like a series OHTMU entries that try to list every stupid team-up ever. He is more gentle than most of the other Norses depicted, being less insecure in himself what with bench pressing battleships and all.


this artist sometimes seems to phone it in a bit

24K MDC, 10th level warrior, has special super-strength that lets him have the carrying/lifting capacity of someone twice his actual strength, which is a supernatural 79. I really cannot remember what that translates to, except that you don’t get MDC strength bonuses to damage, just SDC.

Next up is Heimdall and since he isn’t played by Idris Elba in this version I’m not going to post his picture. Heimdall guards Bifrost, the Royal Rainbow of Asgard, actually a special permanent Rift to several different worlds. People who rift into Asgard always appear on Bifrost, which is a unique defense of that dimension. Heimdall basically doesn’t do anything but guard the bridge, and so hates Loki for repeatedly breaking curfew.


talking about the rainbow is more interesting than talking about Heimdall, honestly.

Numbers-wise he has 25K MDC and extremely sharp senses that reduce prowl checks. He automatically senses magic and supernatural evil but still has psi-stalker powers (apparently he likes them for some reason), and enchanted chainmail with 1,000 MDC. His sword is a pretty cool but pretty typical godly runesword, one of the many artifacts this book painstakingly stats out, often with the addendum that ‘only the owner can use this particular power’ so piss off, loot-happy PCs. This one doesn’t actually say that, so here’s the guy to rob.


Loki

God of deceit, trickster and lovable badboy of the pantheon. Loki seems sometimes to hate the gods, and sometimes acts to help them--it isn’t always clear what his motives are, but he did finally piss everyone off so much that they chained him to a rock under Midgard with a venomous serpent dripping into his eyes. The book suggests that having him still imprisoned isn’t any fun, but he was supposed to stay there until Ragnarok. Enh. Loki is pure mischief though, and not to be trusted. Even when he does help, it often involves some kind of betrayal, or putting up with a lot of mocking just at the edge of acceptability. He has no priests and few worshippers, which means that in Rifts terms he should never be able to reach his full MDC potential.


i know you wanted Tom Hiddleston, but this is what you are getting.

Theoretical MDC 63K, current 12.6. He doesn’t have a lot of notable combat stats, nor any uber-lie mesmerism skill or what have you, but he wheels and deals in all kinds of places. He is listed as owning a Splugorth Enslaver (see pg 130 of Atlantis) and a fully-statted ‘Sword of Atlantis’ which is also featured in Atlantis IIRC, and it says he got it for tricking Thor into the captivity of a Splugorth lord without his hammer and belt but an Atlantean sorceress lent him some other items and he rampaged his way out. The sword is less impressive than the repeated idea that the Splugorth are a thing even gods fear, which stat-wise, they should be.


Balder the noble

Some of you may remember this guy as the one who hates Christmas. The mistletoe thing and all that. According to Rifts, he did die, and his soul was taken by Hel. Odin foresaw danger to the pantheon however and issued Hel an “ultimatum” for Balder’s life and he’s back now, fighting the good fight.

54K MDC, shining example of good-heartedness, 15th level warrior, 10th line walker and mind melter for some reason. He has an ‘Earth Blade’ which is kind of lovely as rune weapons go but can still expel demons at least, though I am not sure if the rules say how long they have to stay expelled for--given that most ‘demons’ can dimensional teleport, they might be right back in.


Hel, goddess of death


i am sure this is a t-shirt somewhere on etsy

Hel is the bringer of dishonorable death and is in general not a very nice person. Unlike some of the other death-gods in this book, this is fairly true to the myths as I remember them. Except for the part where in Rifts, she is fascinated by the Mechanoids. She has even gone so far as to contact the Splugorth to make her a new bio-wizard non-bipedal body (that looks like a Murex Metzla, don’t bother looking it up) and will transfer her soul into it, then approach them and open a Rift to start Ragnarok. Seriously, the Mechanoids are the end of everything according to Rifts: Norse. :suicide: The book suggests a plot hook of PCs running across her minions hunting some of the extremely rare ingredients she needs. This whole thing will never be mentioned again even in passing.

81K MDC, doesn’t get worship so the ‘weakened’ MDC number of 16.2K may be permanent, hates everyone and has a special ‘death touch’ that inflicts damage directly to Hit Points or does a bit more MDC, reduces attacks and bonii by half--which, she can do this once per round and it lasts 1D6 rounds, it will not be long before she has crippled everyone nearby. Also she’s an 18th level line walker. Didn’t want to go the full 20 this time? Also if characters who fail a save vs a special higher horror factor are “filled with a sense of despair and hopelessness” which has no listed game effect.

That’s all we get for the Aesir. In some ways the Norse myths are most straightforward, at least as they have reached us, but this is still super-simplified.

occamsnailfile
Nov 4, 2007



zamtrios so lonely

Grimey Drawer

Rifts Conversion Book 2: Pantheons of the Megaverse: Part 26: "The Vanir gods: They’re all about nature, and stuff."

This is the other half of the pantheon, whose division is sometimes unclear such as with sentences like “the union of the two pantheons made both sides stronger and a Vanir goddess.” Editing! It’s not just for pros anymore.

Njord god of the seas
A leader of the Vanir before the Aesir takeover, still resentful. Friend to whales and dolphins but more a super-sailor (hey sailor) than Aquaman. Married to Skadi, goddess of skiing (you laugh but look up Simo Hayha) for a while, ended badly. Stayed on Earth “even when gods and magic became a thing of the past.” Kay. He built a big shipping empire and a rival company built a big ship and said it was unsinkable. That ship? Yeah it was the Titanic why do you ask. :allears:

23K MDC, 14th air/water warlock. Invulnerable to cold and can summon storms and fog at 20th level. Sometimes they list these abilities under “Natural Abilities” and sometimes they give them special headings under the same. Your guess which. Oh, but this guy really dislikes environmentalists, just to break with the sea-god mold.

Freyr, god of sun and rain


ring ring….bananaphoning it in

Protector god of crops, also a warrior god with a sword, Frey was all over the place. He was just too pacifistic for other Norsies and only Balder was cool with him completely. He is also the only Norse guy to work with other pantheons, the rest are just...you don’t know them man, they’re loners, you don’t get it. Freyr thinks the Norse may be in trouble if they don’t ally with other Pantheons of Light. Odin scoffs because his visions don’t show allies and he could never be wrong.

42K MDC, totally all paladinly and fair but only 12th level warrior and sorcerer. He can fire lasers or “heat beams of concentrated sunlight” that do slightly more (still poo poo) damage. Also he usually has some (non-Robotech, don’t get your hopes up) Valkyries or spirits of Light following him around because he is such a nice guy.

(Now is the time for all your penis jokes, this is the penis god even if Rifts didn't go on about it)


Freya goddess of love and beauty

Freyr’s twin sister, tried being chief Valkyrie but it didn’t jive with her hip hedonism man. And of course, all goddesses of love are sluts, and she is no exception--she’s been around the block a few times, but unlike all the others she isn’t possessive and spiteful about it. So it’s only half slut-shaming. But see, this gets worse: she had an affair with Zeus and Hera tricked her into drinking a potion from Eros that made her hate men and all her memories of her affairs have driven her to deep despair, she fled Asgard five years ago without a word because she’s so disgusted with herself and Hera stole Brisingamen (Freya’s necklace) too and this may cause a WAR you guys, how dare she not be ashamed and hurtful with her sexuality. :rolleyes:

MDC 28.5K which is way more than they’ve assigned to a lot of the other love-goddesses. I guess that Valkyrie training paid off since nobody would ever worship a love goddess in real life. Also she is very very heterosexual, she likes men, until Eros made her not like men, this is a crisis and she will attack any male that comes near her. It’ll wear off in ten years though, not to worry. Brisingamen has stats too and will make things within 10 miles of Freya “more fertile” if she wills it. Also it adds to saves. That is as much as could fit on the page before doing stats for a tree.

Yggdrasil the world tree

This isn’t really a god and doesn’t really go with the Vanir but okay, sure, mega-Millennium tree it is. It even breaks down MDC by location if you felt you needed to try and destroy it! Fortunately with 500K main body you will probably die of exposure before it does. And I mean you, the player, will starve to death rolling dice. Also it may be the ancestor of all those other stupid trees and it has rifts along its trunk that let it cross dimensions.

Onward, we get to what the power-seekers in your group were looking for: How they can do what Odin did and get magic from Yggdrasil. Answer: You probably can’t. You have to be stuck to the tree with a magic weapon for nine days and nights without food and water and then you make a save vs. coma/death which is the normally-useless PE stat plus level, but you get two out of tree? three. If you can manage that, you get some cool magic powers and mega-literacy. Also, probably an insanity.


The Midgard Serpent

Giant snake that gnaws at the root of the World Tree, attacks anyone else who takes a stab at it because territorial. Part of the Ragnarok legend that does not include Mechanoids. See Day After Ragnarok writeup for better origin/death story. 120K MDC and really hard to kill, very big, and does 4D6x20 MDC with each of seven bites per round plus poison for those few pitied fools not immune to it. Hateful super-dragon, do not provoke.


it took me a number of minutes greater than one to figure out what was happening here

The Norse Giants! Several of the Conversion book giants use these names already and we are instructed to consider those the lesser versions of these, the true giants. Oh, and they’re optional RCCs. Munchkins take note.

A typical Norse Giant will lean towards anarchist or evil and a less-evil giant will likely be tormented as a freak. They get pretty good attribute rolls including super-strength, and 2d6x100 MDC plus 10 per level. Yeah, they start out as tanks and only improve. One in ten thousand has god-level MDC (3D6x1000) and they serve as warrior lords of the others. There’s nothing that specifically says you can’t play as a warrior lord but I think most GMs would exercise their option against that one.

They regenerate at non-combat speeds and are resistant to cold or heat depending on breed. They get a standard roll for random psionics. They are mostly warriors of various sorts, otherwise are witches, warlocks, necromancers or line walkers.

Also they get three extra abilities that are rolled or GM-chosen:
  • +1d6000 MDC
  • Nightvision 1000 Ft
  • Turn Invisible at will
  • Impervious to heat and fire
  • Fangs & poison bite (3d6 “damage” per round for 1d6 rounds)
  • Change size at will from 6 to 40 ft.
  • Pair of tentacles, +1 attacks, +1 parry
  • +10 PS attribute
  • Thick lumpy skin, add 1d4x100 MDC
  • Extra Arms +2 attacks, +2 parry
  • Additional Eye, hawk-like vision and see invisible
  • Prehensile Tail, +1 attack
  • +2 init, +2 to roll, +4 vs horror factor
  • Add 1D4x10 to Speed attribute
  • Metamorphosis into small animal at will
  • Retractable claws 2D6 to all hand to hand
  • Increased Healing, 1D4 x 100 per minute
  • Cast 1D4x10 fire ball “once per round at will”
  • Lightning once per round at will, but only 6D6
  • Third monstrous eye and ugly head: Psionic with all sensitive and six super powers of choice.

Also you get to roll once for insanity.

Take awesome base stats, a few good rolls on the mutation table, and an OCC on top of that, and you have an adult-dragon level powerhouse of a character right out of the gate. I am amazed this hasn’t been a twink favorite for years. I suppose that a lot of folks probably skipped over them. I’m pretty sure I did as a teen. Seriously, they avoided tagging several other less preposterous things with RCC, why they had to go for this one I don’t know.


Hrungnir A leader and champion of the Norse giants.

Now, in general, the giants in Norse myth are portrayed as even more savage and awful than the Norsemen. They’re sneaky, not to be trusted, have bad manners, etc. Hrungnir was one such enemy of the Aesir and this is where that whetstone thing with Thor comes in--the giant threw his whetstone and Thor threw Mjolnir and they collided; the whetstone exploded and lodged a piece in Thor’s skull, Mjolnir flew true and killed Hrungnir. Or so they thought. He’s been hidden and is biding his time for revenge. :ohdear: He’s tuff, evil but honorable in his own way (??) and has a clay golem and some giant buddies to back him up The clay giant also gets a write-up but it’s not really very interesting. Basically the ley line eruption woke up its shattered pieces and it is also tuff.




Fenrir the Great Wolf

One of the sons of Loki’s ‘mare period’, the wolf was deadly dangerous and immune to all magics. They managed to tie it up with a very special magic ribbon that cost Tyr his hand to trick the beast. This is basically your neighbor’s untrained mixed-breed on a thin chain that lunges for the fence every time you walk by, that he just laughs off with “aww he won’t hurtcha!” when you suggest perhaps a reinforcement of all the trenches dug at the edges of the lawn. 60K MDC, bites six times a round for 4D6x10 MD. Hel is considering letting him loose, but only if Asgard begins to suspect her really stupid plans.


Asgardian Dwarves Optional Player Character

Great artificers and weaponsmiths, made stuff for the gods including Freya’s hair 2.0. The book suggests these may be the ancestors of all dwarven species or just got to be specialer dwarves somehow. They still practice rune magic which means Palladium dwarves would fear and hate them but it’s a PC race that gets rune magic. These dwarves are long-lived but unlike many ancient mythological beings, they’re not terrified of technology and have started working on that. There is an optional dwarf rune smith OCC which actually explicitly states that it’s not super-useful as a PC class since rune magic takes months or years and the sacrifice of a powerful living essence to create the item. Of course it says that, and then says the character starts with one lesser and one greater rune weapon, so, up to you how useful that is. Splugorth know they exist and hate them for knowing rune magic, fortunately they’re not obviously different from other dwarves or even humans.


i mean really, weird bearded guy in rifts, nobody’ll notice


Asgardian High Elves

Similar to ‘traditional elves’ but these have the status and power of ‘demigods’. Hurray, we sure needed a more special kind of elf. Mostly they get exceptional stat rolls and some small racial bonuses to other things, plus an OCC of their choice, usually magic. :toot:


Valkyrie RCC

You knew this was coming. “Choosers of the Slain,” Valkyries hovered invisibly over battlefields to guide the worthy to Valhalla. Etc. Here they are independent creatures of magic who ultimately serve Odin but may wander far and wide, particularly to learn of this ‘technology’ which is a sudden interest. They get pretty good stat rolls, 2D6x10 +30 MDC, natural flight and invisibility and slow regeneration. Their skill selection is kind of crap but you can make do. They get enchanted 100MDC chain mail and a 4D6 MD sword and start with 1D6 x 1000 credits worth of gold and jewels. So, not extremely unbalanced (neither are the elves really, they’re just super-boring)


Berserker, another optional class.

I feel like they’re giving more space to playing supporting Asgardian roles than they did to the Asgardians. Anyway these warriors are not crazed epileptics or suffering from a rage disorder or other historical explanations, they’re gifted by Odin with supernatural ferocity when fighting an injustice (as defined by Norse codes of course) and so people shun them for being intractable freaks. When berserking, their body becomes mega-damage at 2D4x10 plus 20 per level, they add 6 to PS which is supernatural, and they regenerate a small amount. They get some combat bonuses but cannot cast spells and cannot stop fighting without making a very difficult percentile roll. Also, once they run out of enemies, they start on friends, livestock, trees, whatever’s handy until the rage passes. They get poo poo for skills since rage-flipping tables at uni tends to limit one’s educational options. Kind of a poo poo class given the ‘uncontrolled rage’ thing--it grants some bonuses but you’d be much better off picking a more bonus-y, less friend-stabby class.


Warriors of Valhalla

Here’s one, these guys already died once or...were just inducted with a ceremony or something? Either way, they proved themselves and if they were naturally MDC they get a big bump to that, poor little SDClings get a 150MDC suit of magic mail and no mention of an MDC weapon. I think they sort of cut this block short, bits of it seem to be missing, but you can basically be one of Odin’s secret police without the rage-o-hol problems of the berserker and you can pile this on top of something else busted.

Enough real gods and minions! Let’s get to the fakers!

occamsnailfile
Nov 4, 2007



zamtrios so lonely

Grimey Drawer

I was really glad that Falkenstein removed a lot of the :biotruths: from their version of Victoriana, it brings out the worst in a lot of gamers and doesn't make a lot of sense when magic is such an equalizer. It also just stops those weird arguments about 'realism' when elfs and dragons are involved.

Also Ludwig II being mad because he's a changeling is a great idea.




Rifts Conversion Book 2: Pantheons of the Megaverse: Part 27: "Their leader is a former Splugorth lord who was defeated by a rival."

The False Norse Gods

I feel like Carella or somebody was kinda half-bored with this whole section. I mean the Norse gods are geek-beloved so they got some space but the art is weak and the Mechanoids? Seriously? Now we get on to the fakers. This bunch was lead by a Splugorth Lord who lost out to a rival and fled along with a few loyal/execution-fearing servants. They cropped up as refugees on some random world (maybe erf!) and pretended to be gods.

Wothan the Slayer is lead Splugorth who is now reduced to mostly hiding in a pocket dimension while his loyalists carry out missions. He has enemies all over the place--Asgardians gonna be pissed at the pale imitation, other Splugorth have no time for losers, etc. He has pretty typical Splugorth stats, including 60MDC main body, and had to spend probably whole minutes recovering from the wounds he took losing his old kingdom.

The most interesting thing about him is that he actively hates other Splugorth now--it’s been stated that they’ll scheme against each other but here we have one who actually lost and got kicked out of the fold and wants his own back. Otherwise he’s just a super-powerful menace who can dimensional-teleport back to hiding when wounded and is a real dick. He does kinda care about those who’ve stayed loyal to him even at his current low though.



Thorg the Mighty

Thorg is a Kydian powerlord and these apparently normally live less than a century. Wothan didn’t have the resources to make another, and so he preserved Thorg carefully until he is more powerful even than a Conservator (buy Rifts Atlantis)

If his magic clock were stopped, Thorg would collapse into dust in seconds. Believing that Wothan holds the stopwatch, Thorg obeys. Thorg is just his name and he lets people make their own assumptions. He’s 900 MDC tough and he’s even developed something more of a personality over time, compared with the average Kydian. He’s even apparently convinced several of the dunces of Camelot that he might be the son of Thor and maybe they should ordain him. :bang: He has a surgically implanted red hair and beard which is just one of the funniest images I have encountered in a while.


somehow i expect this to be a variety show with canned laughter

He’s equipped with a rune weapon hammer that does 1D4x10 and casts some useful thor-imitating spells. He also has some various Splugorth items worth a fucktillion credits.


Loki (aka Loki-G)

I just gotta say with a name like Loki-G his rhymes better be fresh. In fact he’s a Goqua (I barely even remember what these are) who first came to earth in 972 at the height of the Viking invasions and saw Odin & Crew getting involved in human stuff. Now, during this time they mentioned the Celtic pantheon interfering, which is fair, but even by 972 there was a fair amount of Christian-y stuff happening. Jehovah not think this big enough to notice? Who knows. Anyway he tricked some people into thinking he was Loki for a while, and then the real Loki broke out and there were issues but he wasn’t murdered since neither was in peak state. Later on Loki-G met Wothan and they formed a new label. Goqua are kind of giant grub-demons in their natural state, but he can shapeshift, like most of them, and does so freely. He’s pretty buff and can bite for 2D4x10 seven times a round plus a lot of magic--honestly he’s tougher than a lot of the lessest gods. He’s got a heap of treasure lying around, in particular rare Atlantis stuff that the book normally threatens to hunt you down for owning, you filthy human.

These guys have some other Atlantean and/or general mercenary bodyguards and backups but that’s pretty much it for them. The best they can do for you is start a war between Asgard and Splugorth, that would help grind down some overpowered annoyances.


The New Asgardians!


sadly not this

These guys are not even a superhero team transported from Heroes Unlimited, they’re just servants of another Vampire Intelligence that wants to take over everything. They’re in Europe though! Just to be special and leave Mexico to be overcrowded with boredom alone.

The leader of this little band is Woden the Hangman and has appeared in northern Russia. This is eons before actual Rifts Russia books would be out, so this is more than we’ve heard about the region so far. They’ve been leaving bloodless victims and somehow convinced people they’re connected to “the hangman legends.” Apparently they’re mostly limited to Russia and Romania as “scandinavia has too much water for vampires.” Rivers: Man’s greatest defense. He has his master vampire out proselytizing that his divine troops will defend people and well, those people are already threatened by a lot of other problems so some of them have gone along. ‘Woden’ hired a gang of interdimensional mercs lead by a Sowki with a magic hammer to keep people in line, and receives tributes of blood to power itself and its vampire minions thusly.

Woden

Woden is a typical Vampire Intelligence and not very interesting. There isn’t a lot to say about him that hasn’t been said about VIs in general and even in this book. He’s mean, megalomaniac, conniving, and feeds on the blood of sentient creatures. He doesn’t even have a picture.


did i mention the artist was phoning it in? he’s phoning it in.


Balder’s Ghost

This is Woden’s master vampire. Real name: Fransz Devlin. He’s all evil but handsome and stuff and helped suggest the whole ‘Woden’ legend for imitation. Since he himself was a handsome Devlin, he pretended to be the ghost of Balder--being able to turn to mist and otherwise spook out helped with this illusion. He convinced people he could give them immortality and created some secondary vampires as a result, and has plans to continue this pyramid scheme in the usual way. They act like Norse and brutalize those who refuse to convert but treat surrenders with some respect and feed with moderation. Franzs resents that Woden hired that Sowki and that he isn’t the only important one anymore.

He’s a master vampire, reasonably tough but with those insane vamp weaknesses. He has a lot of minions, so getting to him would be hard, but this group is considerably less established that some of the vampire kingdoms in Central America.


Thor the Warrior


yes, we get it, Sowki are shapeshifters.

Real name: A’lattrreen. I don’t think I will ever not be twelve enough to not laugh at that name. “Thor” can shapeshift himself into a Norsey humanoid form and uses that further the Norse illusion these vampires are taking up. As a Sowki, he’s automatically evil and ambitious and will readily backstab Woden if the other came to be at a disadvantage but is otherwise fairly content to just let the money roll in off the backs of enslaved peasants. It states specifically that his transformed version of Thor is based on a pre-Rifts comic book...so he’s blonde and trademarked. He has a techno-wizard hammer that does 6D6 damage and returns through sophisticated remote control--that’s actually kind of a cool item, too bad no PC could ever build it. Sowki aren’t super tough, they’re just hard to detect, harder than Skrulls even.

There are apparently 47 other members of this nefarious crew including a succubus ‘Freya’, three juicers, some renegade Kittani with stolen power armors. One Dragon Slayer Warrior (which is from VK but I don’t even remember), apparently some kind of giant. Five Dabuggh (ugh ugh) and three Naga. Two line walkers, one Mind Bleeder (see Africa), one Temporal Wizard (England), Four borgs, four of those boring bird assholes from Atlantis, 12 Wolfen (why do they keep using these?) and some NGR deserters which gives us an excuse to re-use some Kevin Long art and also one Neuron Beast. Because.


not kidding about re-used kevin long art

And that’s it for the Norse gods, fakers and hangers-on. I feel like the Mechanoids thing is weak, I mean they started that sourcebook with dire predictions of direness and all but it was still weak and involving these figures with them makes it weird. Especially with Hel trying to body-jump to get around the Mechanoids’ absolute unflinching hatred of bipeds. The imitators are kind of weak too--not just in power, though they come closer to reasonable powers to defeat, in some ways--but their concept is just ‘pretend to be gods, act like assholes’ across the board. The Norse gods are generally presented as being larger than life, exuberant, colorful and this section wasn’t really any of these. Most of them were just bland, other than Freya and Hel which were a serious mistreatment and just kind of baffling, respectively.

occamsnailfile
Nov 4, 2007



zamtrios so lonely

Grimey Drawer

Pantheons of the Megaverse: A few final thoughts

When I first saw this book as a teenager I thought it was kind of neat. I liked reading about mythology and some of these were new for me, things to read more about on my own. Of course, even teenaged me recognized the inherent balance issues in the god-numbers and some of the things they were presented as possessing, as well as the stupidity of some of the writeups. A lot of these beings would heavily overshadow a campaign without a lot of reward. I know a lot of games start with ‘you as the little guy in the big world’ but Rifts is inherently built in such a way that a base human can only climb so far through technology and magic, and will stop there. There is no lichdom or many other ways to ascend above one’s roots into this sort of realm. These are basically unapproachable forces even though they have numbers. Using them in a game requires a deft touch, as it would with any game involving an unbeatable power. This being a twenty year old book, they don't function like 13th Age icons or even Gloranthan myth cycle powers--they're just big chunks of numbers.

The power level issue is only part of the problem, however. Including all these myths from Earth’s past suggests that A) these are the ones that are real (and Yahweh and Allah and etc are not) and B) that Earth’s religion is relevant to a lot of areas outside Earth. There should also be a fair number of actual alien gods wandering around, but most alien godlike beings we see are completely awful and just want to kill everything after torturing it a while. I guess Siembieda wanted a Deities & Demigods for Palladium and while having that for D&D was sort of silly, it could generally be ignored or included without too much hassle since cleric domains were well-established even early on. Rifts doesn’t really have that and so we just have these nebulous powerhouses tiptoeing around anything actually to do with religion.

They also tried to cram too much into the book, and paradoxically didn't try too hard in examining new things. I suppose Greek and Norse are pretty much expected once you start statting gods, but their part of the world was detailed without them in it, so they don't feel really attached to the world. Having Aztec AND Maya feels like overkill even if the Mayans were somehow even lamer than the Aztecs. All of the writeups discard a lot of the nuance of the original material. I suppose to be fair to Palladium, even recent games like Scion still have this problem, trying to distill too much into a single column.

occamsnailfile
Nov 4, 2007



zamtrios so lonely

Grimey Drawer

Wapole Languray posted:

Speaking of, GUESS WHAT TIME IT IS!

Other Nations of the World

[*]China: Semi-Isolationist Empire ruled by an Imperial Dragon dynasty. Real Dragons that is, the kind with wings and scales.

[*]Japan: Highly isolationist Empire ruled by Dragon Emperors and Samurai nobles.

[*] Ottoman Empire: “The Sick Man of New Europa”. While still militaristically and sorcerously powerful, the empire is rotting from within, it wouldn’t take much to cause the whole thing to fall apart into a serious of civil wars and rebellions.
[/list]



So the Euro stuff is fairly interesting as alt-history, but I am not impressed with their treatment of the Orient--that's using the broadly colonialist term that means 'everything east of Europe and sometimes even including Russia' more or less. It's brief, so they don't have much time for nuance, let's just say Dragons of the East did better despite having relatively few actual dragons involved. Still, giving Emperor Norton his own nation is nice.

occamsnailfile
Nov 4, 2007



zamtrios so lonely

Grimey Drawer

Alien Rope Burn posted:

Welcome to FATAL & Friends!

That is what we do here.

Rifts Sourcebook Three: Mindwerks - Part Three: "Brain damage causes a reduction of the character's I.Q. by half, but instills savant powers!"

M.O.M. Technology


I can understand wanting to give downsides to cool powers sometimes, but given how many much more powerful and less-crazy-making abilities are already in the line even this early on, it just doesn't make sense to take any of these unless you're trying to derail the party. Not that anybody playing Rifts would ever try to derail a party.

True story: When Rifts first came out, the original printing crazy was even crappier than the later version in the Ultimate. But one of my friends chose that, saying 'the worst you can get is just multiple personality disorder'. :catstare:

occamsnailfile
Nov 4, 2007



zamtrios so lonely

Grimey Drawer

Cardiovorax posted:

From what I've read, this is a fairly accurate representation of how sexual orientation was dealt with at the time of the great African empires.

It was actually not that uncommon an attitude, that and 'being on top is actually not gay' variations. Identity politics has more or less spread and supplanted it. Having it in the game like that is the way a lot of games I've been in have handled it, often with some regional variation--I'm glad the book at least takes the time to mention the idea.

Spears seems like a neat book, the art is pretty nice and the system is relatively clean, plus that whole 'doing something that isn't Europe' thing.

occamsnailfile
Nov 4, 2007



zamtrios so lonely

Grimey Drawer

Libertad! posted:



Chapter Five: Running a Campaign



Wow, someone really did not like Spears of the Dawn.

Anyway, the chapter of advice sounds pretty useful for trying to lure people into an unfamiliar theme. Obviously it's fairly applicable to a lot of unfamiliar settings, but getting nerds out of the Tolkien Comfort Zone of fantasy seems to be particularly difficult. Doubly so perhaps for African-derived settings.

The kingdom traits/conflict section is also an interesting way to handle some of the inter-realm conflicts without, I dunno, breaking out the spreadsheets or playing Civ IV multi or something. It's a shame that it conflicts with some of the in-setting fluff. Of course, playing warring nations is not usually what I (or most) gamers come to an RPG for directly, but as PCs get up into the realm of movers and shakers, it might be nice to have some degree of abstracted resolution for the movements of larger forces.

occamsnailfile
Nov 4, 2007



zamtrios so lonely

Grimey Drawer

Alien Rope Burn posted:

Well, here we go again.

Next: Why being a mercenary is a lot like being a carny.

Please not another set of random exhibit tables. Uh, I guess they'd be random unit/race/gun tables which would be even better, requiring many sourcebooks to be present all at once. At least there won't be any floopers. Did I just jinx the book? I hope not.

occamsnailfile
Nov 4, 2007



zamtrios so lonely

Grimey Drawer

Night10194 posted:

Has anyone ever actually played a game of RIFTs as written? I've never heard of such a thing happening. I just hear people say 'Oh, RIFTS!' and then sad laughter.

We played it when I was in high school. Of course, there were rules that we ignored (The burst rules, for instance) because they were buried under unrelated headings and we just forgot they were there. We were kids, so we tended to go for whatever we thought was the most overpowered nonsense, and completely missed some of the incredibly broken things available because they didn't have pictures/were not interesting.

The setting has some issues but you can smooth those out at least through the early books, but the rules are--well, trashing the system and starting over is the first necessary step. The complaint I've heard with FATE or similar systems is that then all those different fancy toys seem the same since they get written as 'Giant robot (model no.)' and have identical effects. Granted, their effects in Rifts are often pretty similar too but somehow the extended stats made them feel different. I don't really have this issue personally, having played more Mutants and Masterminds than is safe, but I guess I see the complaint. Also don't try to restat Rifts in M&M, that is a bad idea. Mostly because M&M rules for vehicles and devices are weird and that's like, what Rifts does.

occamsnailfile
Nov 4, 2007



zamtrios so lonely

Grimey Drawer

Man you were not kidding about the crappy interior art. I owned and read Mercenaries when it came out, but I had forgotten huge swaths of it--I remember these guys a bit though, both the terrible pictures and the general tenor of the group. They did actually seem more like what a typical adventuring party could be without being a gang of complete crazies. The only issue I had with them (and some of the Pantheons crews) is that they were kinda complete already without PCs being involved--but that was really a minor quibble and something that could be fixed relatively easily.

Also the mercenary campaign advice is handy, coming as it does many books into the line. As much as the core tried to talk you into it with a dozen Coalition classes, nobody I have ever heard of ever ran a Coalition-side campaign. Besides not wanting to play the literal nazis, being part of a heavily-restricted military unit just didn't seem like much fun times, and of course normal military units will be all SAMAS or all grunts or whatever, rather than a mish-mash of roles. Well, that, and there were options like 'literally a dragon' elsewhere in the same book.

occamsnailfile
Nov 4, 2007



zamtrios so lonely

Grimey Drawer

Evil Mastermind posted:

's not so much generic systems as 90's generic systems, which were more about modeling EVERYTHING you might conceivable want to do mechanically. You still see lingering bits of that mindset nowadays, though, in things like crafting skills or people worrying about the difficulty in moving up a hill.

I even like GURPS and have played more of it than D&D but I'll agree that it needs yet another edition (one free of direct Steve influence) and some trimming. Its particular balance of crunch ended up working for me more than other crunchy systems usually do.

occamsnailfile
Nov 4, 2007



zamtrios so lonely

Grimey Drawer

Having been reading Phase World lately (:siren: spoiler warning :siren:) the discord over Naruni dominance is ongoing and I just do not see what the problem is. I mean aside from them being super-powerful, KS was really, really insistent that Rifts Earth stuff is still totally better, you guys, really, these alien punks are chumps! and you can sorta still see the mic-grabbing going on. At the least though you can just not buy Naruni guns and they won't come after you if you do that, though your enemies who did might.

It's also interesting how they like poke at the edges of Mechanoids without ever actually letting that metaplot resolve as they did with Coalition War.

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.

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.

occamsnailfile
Nov 4, 2007



zamtrios so lonely

Grimey Drawer


Yay!

As I said before I'm curious to see how it compares to/draws from Rifts, especially with the big K actually endorsing it. Crusading to actually close the ri--breaches is a logical setting goal given the immense damage they could do (I'm guessing) but Rifts never really focused on that for some reason.

occamsnailfile
Nov 4, 2007



zamtrios so lonely

Grimey Drawer

EverettLO posted:



Breachworld Part 3

Now we move into races, which is probably the most significant choice you make in character creation. It determines the allowed range for you stats, how many points you get to improve them, and how many points you get to spend on skills and perks. In interviews, the author has mentioned that he does not consider balance between characters to be a necessary design goal. I don’t agree with that, but I don’t want to get derailed into complaining about it. The character races are all over the map. Most are in the ballpark of balance with humans, but some are just plain better and have more points to spend on stats or skills. I have no idea why you would take a game that gives you a very simple and effective method to provide character balance and then intentionally tank it.


Well, he certainly comes from Siembieda's school of design. Character imbalance: not a problem if you just ignore it!

A lot of these races are fairly generic and have the general racial modifier problem where it seems like it pushes certain classes or skill focuses directly at you, without really even doing the human bonus-feat advantage thing. The art so far is decent, and Holy are pretty gonzo-amusing, which is what Rifts-like games are for.

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occamsnailfile
Nov 4, 2007



zamtrios so lonely

Grimey Drawer

I read several of the Elric books as a kid and my reaction to them was kind of a bored shrug. The prose was kind of leaden, Elric was a whiney douche who was incapable of solving his own problems and had to call on his chaos-god deus ex machina constantly. Moorcock had some kind of entertaining weirdness in some of his plot setups but it never felt cohesive enough to click with me. Mind you, this was a very long time ago I read them at this point but that is my general recollection. I sort of want to go read the first one again as an adult just to better understand their influence on others, but I can't help but feel other authors have done it better since.

Like I get that Moorcock was hugely influential in that era of sci-fi and fantasy with promoting the New Wave stuff and trying to pull genre fiction away from the Gernsbeck/Campell rut it had kind of been stuck in but reading him now is less...groundbreaking?

Also re: New Wave thing, back in the day people used to bitch about how upstarts like Moorcock and Zelazny and Delany were ruining the proper science fiction genre. Having people grog about them now is very :3:

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