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Alien Rope Burn
Dec 5, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


Coalition Wars 6: Final Siege, Part 14- "I hope you don't mind."


"I think we've finally learned genocide is wrong." "A lesson you can only learn by participating in it?" "Yep, you have to experience it first-hand."

Epilogue

We then go to fiction, returning to our series touchstone, Sergeant Deon Canton. Yes. Yes. Yes. The climax of the metaplot, the ending, is done in in-game fiction. No PC involvement. No PC knowledge. No PCs.

In the city fighting, Deon Canton runs into General Micander Drogue, the main Coalition villain from Rifts Coalition Wars 2: Coalition Overkill. Drogue is dressed in mercenary gear, and it clearly becomes clear he dressed as a mercenary to sneak out of a fight while the rest of his men died. Drogue tears into Deon for having left the Coalition death camp standing (back in Rifts Coalition Wars 5: Shadow of Evil), but Deon defends his actions as "I'm not a butcher..."

Sure, Deon. You don't pull the trigger, you just support the rest of the Coalition Army who is - as we've well established - is murdering hundreds of thousands of civilians without hesitation. You make that moral stand. You're such the better guy. Everybody, let's salute Sergeant Deon Canton! Hero or some poo poo! Three motherfucking cheers for being the good better marginally less evil man who does the bare minimum to not be considered a total monster! You're one real Oskar Schindler, Deon.

Anyway, Deon is debating just killing Drogue for being an evil guy (and Drogue totally still is, of course), but he dallies too long and a Tolkeen Mind Melter spots Drogue and explodes his head... or so Deon claims. Actually, Drogue's shot by Deon while nobody else is looking, who then points out the enemy and puts the blame on Tolkeen defenders.

Yep. Yep. Yep. One of the most prominent villains of a six-book series, killed by a fiction character in a cutscene that doesn't take place in actual play. A character the PCs never have any relation to, never have any reason to meet, and is never given a statblock. Deon's unit kills the Tolkeen defenders, and then makes sure to destroy the defenders' and Drogue's bodies to wipe out any conceivable evidence of what happened. Anyway we get a little epilogue about how he actually did kill Drogue after all and blamed it on the Mind Melter. But he sure feels good about saving and being saved by D-Bees! He's a better person!... incrementally, anyway. He's still a poo poo person who sacrificed so little compared to, well, everybody in Tolkeen, as he reunites with his family.

:cripes:

Final thoughts from the Author

Rifts Coalition Wars 6: Final Siege posted:

I want to thank all of you who followed the Coalition War on Tolkeen. I hope it lives up to your expectations and then some. I hope it was a teeter-totter ride that kept you guessing and intrigued.

You're welcome! We're reminded that there are still other threats in the world, and the division of the Cyber-Knights and plight of the refugees will be ongoing.

... man, though if you think anybody was supposed to be surprised after you spoiled the ending multiple times in advance of the crossover, wow. Okay. Sure. Yep. I was teetered and tottered! The real teeter-totter, generally, though, was the Siembieda / Coffin push-pull. Coffin wanted a more open-ended event with a logical plot. Siembieda wanted to rub our noses in war is hell and have the Coalition win in the end because Tolkeen winning might... actually justify war? I mean, if Tolkeen won, then a lot of their morally questionable actions become defensible. But they have to lose. Because war is hell.

And don't get me wrong. War is bad. War is extremely bad. Personally, I could never see myself joining a military or police organization (here in the United States) because I would never, ever want to be put in a situation where I was told that, at some point, I might shoot somebody, or support somebody shooting somebody. And that's overtly simplistic, I know - my taxes still pay for that, and that's the privilege of living in a stable, dominant world power. But Rifts... isn't real. It's skull robots fighting airbrushed wizards. It's toyetic and digestable. But, unfortunately, it's the sort faux-toy line that's forgotten what it's like to play with toys, and wants its stuff to be adolescent and mature at the same time. And it doesn't work.

What I think most Rifts fans would want would be genre fiction, with overwrought characters shouting at each other and crazy schemes to run the side of the way through bizarre inventions and magical whachamacalits. And we get a bit of that, to be fair. But mostly, it feels like Siembieda watched some Ken Burns' Civil War and was like "Yes, that." He wanted stories of hard men on the ground making hard decisions, when... up until now Rifts is nuke-firing gundams fighting corporate Cthulhu. It's not subtle. It's not nuanced. It's the end of the first Rifts adventure where you walk into a chamber to blow up a giant brain and its robot minions. And yeah, you can tell small stories in that. But if you're doing a big event you've led the game line to? No. Bad Siembieda.

It's even worse that he wants to two-side things. And... like, they could have done that. If Tolkeen had taken the first strike, if there had been some terrorist action in Chi-Town or maybe they blew up one of the Coalition States nobody cares about (bye bye, Missouri) with demonzilla, you could have done that. But "Oh, they're working with bad guys!" doesn't hold much water when there's no real fallout other than "Maybe they're real cruel to the enemy and it'll suck later." Moreover, Tolkeen's whole villain-turn was done completely after-the-fact. Maybe if we'd be introduced to Tolkeen in detail a long time ago, you could do a convincing fall from grace. But a Tolkeen with Iron Juggernauts and Daemonix is all we know. Moreover, things like the Iron Juggernauts being evil somehow was always so vague as to be meaningless. "They're created with dark magic!" "How, exactly?" "Well, they use the life force of a person!" "Was that person a volunteer!" "... I'm not telling!" "Is the magic somehow dangerous or destructive?" "... maybe!" "You really have no idea, do you?" "... probably!"

Moreover, the "both sides are evil!" fell apart when one side slaughters civilians and erects death camps and the other just... doesn't. Tolkeen never attacks Coalition communities outside of a few edge cases and a few assassination attempts (seemingly just on Emperor Prosek). Which is weird, you'd think there'd be more irons in the fire as far as assassinations and terrorism goes. At worst, Tolkeen might have attacked some nearby Coalition-friendly towns, but... like, maybe don't aid your neighbor's genocidal enemy? It's awful, but... probably don't do that? Don't be racist? C'mon, guys.

Moreover, Tolkeen's magic should give them some real advantages - there's nothing stopping them from teleporting a bomb or monster into a Coalition base or city. Invisibility, astral projection, mind control, turning into mist, shapeshifting, weather manipulation... they should have a lot of things that let them take a fight right to the Coalition States and they just don't. Coalition leaders should be in real, serious peril. While Dog Boys and Psi-Stalkers no doubt serve as an early warning system, they can't directly counter many of these things without relying on their own Master Psychics - and in many cases they wouldn't be able to react in time anyway. Teleport: Lesser is a spell that lets you teleport up to 50 pounds up to 5 miles away. Calling is a spell that lets you summon somebody to come to you from up to 2 miles away if they fail their save. Control/Enslave Entity would let you control an invisible entity (like a possession entity...) for two days per caster level. All of these can be cast by a starting Ley Line Walker - Coalition generals should be utter paranoiacs, attended constantly by psychic watchmen, in order to survive at all. But Tolkeen is content to throw their worst only at the Coalition's rank and file, for some reason.


Just digging for the leftover art worth showing.

No, I don't have to stop nitpicking, because... like, this also takes place largely in a vacuum. Every Coalition officer or general from previous books? Not there. The Coalition military staff from Rifts World Book 10, 11, 13, or 22 are entirely absent from the text. You'd think this would be a good time to use the mercenary groups from Rifts Mercenaries, right? Nope, none of them show up. The Juicer mercenaries, the biggest enemies of the Coalition we've seen so far- not here. The Federation of Magic sits this poo poo out for... no particular reason. Yes, they don't want to side with Tolkeen for reasons, fine, but they'd probably get up to some poo poo nonetheless. Similarly, Lazlo, Psyscape, and other groups should have some interaction at least in the form of agents, at least to minimize loss of life, but no.

Hell, the Coalition leadership almost goes entirely undetailed outside of Drogue and Holmes. In theory somebody leads the final push on Tolkeen from the East and South, but we just have faces with big question marks. Who are they? What are their tactics like? You're already going all Great Man Theory with Holmes, you might as well go all the way and give us some interesting folks. It's bad enough the Tolkeen leadership only shows up long enough to get shown the door, but the Coalition is just like "yeah, some guys". Worse yet, the main Coalition villain is sidelined halfway through the plot and blown up in a cutscene. And... it turns out he wasn't functionally any better than the other nameless generals that replace them. Oh, they killed people in their houses rather than a death camp? Quite the moral high ground, fascist motherfuckers.

Bill Coffin posted:

... and then, he decided, he was going to do this great big, six part, Rifts sourcebook series called the Siege on Tolkeen, and he's like "Bill, you're my boy, you're going to help me write this." And I went, "No, man, I don't know about this, Kevin, I'm not really a Rifts writer." And he's like "Nonono, trust me, they'll love it, work with me on this." And I said, "Look, Kev, I mean, one of the big successes of a lot of your game worlds is the fact that..." - and this is true, if you look at most Palladium product - "... the game's settings are all built on this notion of unresolved conflict. There's always this war that's about to start. An evil that's about to break loose."

Bill Coffin posted:

And the glory of that, see, especially, that approach, versus White Wolf, where a lot of these games have this very discretely defined metaplot that had an actual ending in kind of took the freedom out of the hand of the players. With a lot of Palladium games, their settings are set up such that players could really interface them very, very well on their own terms. You could take this and run in your own direction very well. The games can give you explicit permission to do that. And the Siege on Tolkeen was a direct violation of that compact with the players, I felt. So I had a really hard time swallowing this whole thing. And, frankly, Rifts- I've never even played Rifts. I'm not a Rifts writer, like, I don't know this game system, so.

Bill Coffin posted:

So what Kevin wants to do is he wants to have this story- this big series of sourcebooks that basically resolves this massive metaplot that much of the core game has hinged upon. Long story short, a lot of fans didn't really take it that well. They didn't really like the books a whole hell of a lot, there were certain parts about them they liked, certain parts about them they didn't like, and Kevin and I clashed a whole lot on what to do with this because... frankly, I wasn't feeling the project, I really shouldn't have been on it, but Kevin wanted me there, he had nobody else to write it with him. We had a lot of strife over that thing. After that, things were never quite the same.

This set of books is pretty much a bridging point to the next edition of Rifts. Siembieda promises the Riftsģ Game Master's Guide, the Riftsģ Book of Magic, and maybe a Rifts Adventure Book, all if which will come out. "And, because you folk seem to want it, a Riftsģ Dragons & Gods sourcebook." is promised but never comes out (nor do the promised Australia, Cosmo-Knight, and Japan 2 books mentioned as well). But the Rifts Aftermath book will serve as an overview of the world, while the Game Master's Guide will become a weapon index, and Book of Magic will be a spell index, all leading to Rifts Ultimate Edition. Which is a new edition. Palladium insists otherwise, but the rules changes are actually significant enough to make it as one, even though it's about 90% backwards-compatible.


"Don't worry, you'll live. You're merchandiseable."

Rifts Coalition Wars 6: Final Siege posted:

I originally thought an aftermath section would appear in the back of this book, but as I began writing Siege Six, I quickly realized there was too much other important stuff that had to go into it, and that the Aftermath needed its own book! I hope you don't mind.

Were the Hackers' Consortium, The Time Walkers, Freehold's Megaversals, or the Threno Bat-Thing that important? Of course not. So yeah, I do mind. I'm not worrying about Aftermath, though. You folks have been through enough for now.

But I've got a bit of my own aftermath to close us out tomorrow. I hope you don't mind. :ssh:

Next: The seven-year itch.

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Robindaybird
Aug 21, 2007

Neat. Sweet. Petite.

Ithle01 posted:

As a GM there's a lot of things that stick out here, but there's one that Robin Law really managed to gently caress up.


Which is that the most common type of Power Gamer in my experience is someone for whom mastering the game is itself the reward. Actually playing and experiencing the game is secondary concern to the primary concern of having a character who rocks the opposition using the rules of the game as written. For this sort of player every new game system is a new challenge to be fought and beaten and switching systems is not only desired, but almost mandatory to keep them interested. But that's just from what I've seen.

edit: also, I've only gamed with one person from the UK but that guy did look at heroism that way. Must be luck of the draw.

yep, in the days of 3/3.5e's peak, there were people on wizard's and Giant in the playground's forums who never actually *played* the system but made a hobby out of creating the most broken as gently caress characters as possible (and probably the source of the really loving dumb 'lol I bluff the guard into thinking his sword is delicious candy' nonsense).

SirPhoebos
Dec 10, 2007

WELL THAT JUST HAPPENED!



Part 4: Teams

Chromebook 2 has 6 different professional services, or Teams, available for hire. They can also be used as a basis for a campaign or a template for NPCs. Each entry has one or more full statblocs for a typical employee, which is probably going to be the most used by resourceful Referees. Itíll also be our first chance to look at what CP2020 considers to be reasonable builds.

SPHERE is the courier service of the world of Cyberpunk 2.0.2.0. SPHERE charges 50/120/300/1,500 eb per kilo for ground/air/from low orbit/to low orbit, with a threat multiplier that goes from x2 to x50. Thereís an undertone that theyíre corrupt and maintain their market dominance by gunning down any competitors (which is how they achieved their position in the first place.) So that at least suggests a campaign model where the players take out and replace these jerks.


So thatís 57 stat points and 42 skill points. Despite having EMP tied for highest stat, this NPC has no skills related, nor is he so cybered up that he needs Humanity Unlike later entries, it doesnít look like HL was deducted from his EMP (heís got about 4D6 + 1/2 and change HC).

Lifetime Escort Services provides locally hired bodyguards that can pass as acquaintances. LES will also rent out transport. The rates start at 150 eb/day for an average escort. Thereís a lot of add-ons and multiplies, but itís all laid out in paragraph form so itís hard to distill what the total cost is and what multipliers go where and whatís meant to stand alone. Iím loathe to say it, but this could have used a table to neatly lay out the options. Thereís a strong implication that this would be an employment opportunity for players, but one thing that gets left out of all of these is whatís the operativeís cut.


A couple interesting things about this stat block compared to the previous one. For one, no LUCK stat, which tells me there are conflicting philosophies on whether NPCs need to have all the same stats as PCs (and/or the editing is bad). 62 skill points, but nothing over 5. About 7D6 HC loss (so 25 average). The stat block makes note that escorts have relatively low cyberware because they need to keep a high EMP (except any Cyberweapon is going to have a high HC cost). Iím hoping this is the bare minimum escort, because I would be very cross to spend thousands of euro a day for a Solo that would have trouble out-drawing a Booster.

C-Team is a mercenary group that specializes in soldiers cybered up to the gills. For 1,000/3,500/12,000 eb a day/week/month, you get a Team Leader, Heavy Weapons Trooper, A Comm Trooper, and 3 Line Troopers. An AV-4 and pilot can be added for 12,500 a week or 45,000 a month.




First observation, the HC has been deducted, but it doesnít look like EV has been figured into these stats - thatís for the Referee to calculate! Second, the 11 REF on the Heavy Weapons Trooper is thanks to the Adrenal Boost, a core book enhancement that I missed when making Jamie (very shameful, I know). It gives +1 to Reflexes for 1D6+2 turns, 3 times a day. It costs 400 eb and 2D6 HC. While the HC is high, straight boosts to REF are hard to come by, even if itís just temporary. Third, the game gives the Heavy the option for a SAW, but so far itís never given the stats for a SAW, or defined what a SAW is. These days you can look it up but in the early nineties you would either have to understand that acronym already or do some guessing (which tbf you get the hint that the SAW has 800 rounds). Lastly, these are some really bad skill point distributions. It also doesnít look like theyíve spent their full allotment of skill points. Overall, this bunch of cybersoldiers is at least useful for making a show of force or acting as a distraction, but I wouldnít rely on them to actually accomplish an objective.

Cybernetic Intervention Services capture and treat Cyberpsychoes before the C-Squad blows them to bits. They are extremely expensive, costing 250,000 eb minimum for retrieval and treatment. If you just need the metal-head captured, CIS can drop the price to 100,000 eb. Unlike the other entries, thereís no sample team member or anything like that. Instead, thereís a list of gear that would be used to make the capture. Most of the equipment is from earlier in this book or Chromebook 1. Thereís one item from Interface #1, the Sharpwire Net Under-Barrel mount that fires a monofilament net that does damage if the enwrapped target tries to escape. Which seems like a bad choice for trying to capture someone. Thereís one brand new weapon, a Gauss Field Projector. It weighs 200 kg and is normally mounted on a truck or set up as a trap. But thereís no range for it, and it causes disorientation but doesnít define what that means.

Orion advertises itself as a rescue service for kidnapped individuals. They do kidnapping themselves, because thereís a surprising amount of overlap in those skillsets. Orion is the type of organization Corporations hire for extractions and counter-extractions when they donít have an entire Black-Ops division like Arasaka. The investigation alone is 10,000 eb. The rescue/kidnap itself starts at 20,000 eb. and goes up to 2 million depending on how important the person is and whoís guarding them. ďSome missions cost more, but all are tax-deductible.Ē



This group at least seems competent at their job, but their stat line highlight some of the oddities of CP2020 character creation. Assuming a 2 to 3 point EMP drop from modest cyberware packages, these NPCs have total stat points thatís between ďMinor HeroĒ and ďMajor Supporting CharacterĒ way back in section two of the core book. With that many stat points, these NPCs have no weak attributes. Take the basic operative. Thereís no reason for this NPC to have a ATTR of 7. But they do because thereís literally nothing else to allocate the points into. Also they have +4 skill chips, even though RAW skill chips top out at +3.

Autojoks are a network of Netrunners. They watch each otherís backs and make sure clients donít just shove the cyber-nerds into lockers. I suspect the main reason theyíre in this book is when no one wants to play the Netrunner, so the group can just hire one and forget about that side of the game. Unfortunately we get no price guidelines. The only clue is a short story where an Autojok is hired to do a job with a quick turnaround for 150,000 eb (if she had prep time it would have just been 145K). Assuming the example Autojok is the same as our Netrunner from the story, 150K will get you this:


Itís hard for me to evaluate how competent this example because the Netrunning rules were painful to work through. I feel like spending over a hundred grand on a somewhat above average hacker for one job is not a good hire. And checking the math, I see that the sample character has 74 total skill points. Which doesnít line up with my theory that this is the Netrunner in the fiction (sheís only 16, not even the lowest starting age for PCs).

Next Time: The Main Event

Wapole Languray
Jul 4, 2012



Soul (Ka)

I'm going to whip this out real quick because this is a short chapter, but it is also packed full of stupid. So, this step is where you pick a Secret Soul. So, this entire concept is... vague and difficult to understand. Not in a neat "oh that's so wild" way, in an infuriating "Shut the gently caress up and speak plain English" way.

So I can't tell if you... like just have one as part of being alive? Or if it's something you choose? Like in-setting. I think that you're born with it? Maybe only if you're a Vislae? Becoming a Vislae gets you a Secret Soul?



Anyway, there's 13 of them. The Souls, which are sort of cosmic constants and Godlike entities because each has a "Guardian" which is basically a god, and everyone who shares the same souls are all technically part of an organization called the Magisterium. The Magisterium isn't actually a thing. Maybe? Each Soul, which is basically a god you pledge allegiance to, has a secret society. To be part of the society you have to make your Soul Allegiance public, which is bad for reasons. These organizations are collectively called the Magisterium.

If this is all annoyingly vague, that's exactly how it reads.

So what does the whole Secret Soul thing do?
  • You can spend 1 Crux (XP) to invoke your Soul Guardian (god) to get a Gift. Which is basically some special ability or bonus depending on the Soul in question.
  • You can speak a Death Curse. This is literally Death Curses from Jim Butcher's Dresden Files series, which I expect to show up in the Inspirations section that will be somewhere in the CUBE. You basically cast an improvised spell equal in level to the highest spell or effect you know when you die.
  • SECRET NAME, which is in so much magic poo poo I can't even be mad. Anyway, appearently if you know someone's Secret Soul Allegiance it's like having their Truename. You get a +1 to any magic effects targeting someone who's true-name you know, or who knows YOUR name. If you revealed it to them. So you can tell someone your true name and then... you both get +1's against each other?

quote:

You always gain a +1 bonus to
any magical action (forte ability, spell, ritual, and so
on) made against someone who you have revealed
your name to, or who has discovered it on their
own. There is, then, a delicate and dangerous aspect
to revealing your secret soul name as well as to
discovering those of your enemies.
Oh I guess it's meant to be for friends? and enemies?

Anyway, this is all a bunch of bullshit. You know what Secret Souls actually are? loving Wizard Zodiac. It's your goddamn astrological sign. Ever play any of the Elder Scrolls games? You know how the birth-signs work? That's exactly what this is.

This is a list of all of them. Now, I would go over them, but they're all so very minimalist that I'd literally be copying the book out. I can't really even give opinions on them, because they're poo poo. The Gifts are all piddly minor bullshit, the descriptions read like lame horoscope descriptions, I'm just going to paste some of the highlights and let you laugh away.





OvermanXAN
Nov 14, 2014
I generally like the concept of true names and such, but this is such a lovely implementation, especially with it just boiling down to Numbers and Zodiac Bullshit. There's nothing personal about it in any way, which is completely at odds with the entire concept of a true name.

potatocubed
Jul 26, 2012

*rathian noises*
So let me get this straight...

1. I'm supposed to keep my wizard Zodiac super secret, but also I need to tell everyone what it is in order to activate its special power?

2. Said special power can be +3 attack and damage... or perfect teleportation?

PurpleXVI
Oct 30, 2011

Spewing insults, pissing off all your neighbors, betraying your allies, backing out of treaties and accords, and generally screwing over the global environment?
ALL PART OF MY BRILLIANT STRATEGY!
The double weird thing about the latest RIFTS stuff we've been seeing is that if Tolkeen actually leveraged their magic abilities... that might actually give them some of that moral ambiguity that Kevin wanted.

Say they used weather control to set up a permanent rain/thunder zone blocking Coalition advances/air forces in a region... but the constant rainfall causes flooding downriver, washes away homesteads, etc. causing a bunch of civilians to throw support over to the Coalition because THEM DANG WIZARDS RUINED MY FARM. Or say Tolkeen actually did use their ability to teleport chaos elements(bombs, rampaging monsters and constructs, etc.) into Coalition cities and bases... thus causing a bunch of non-combatant/civilian casualties, then you could start arguing they've become as non-discriminatory as the Coalition(not quiet, but you might have the vaguest glimmerings of a point).

Kevin's focus on essentially constantly keeping Tolkeen on the back foot, and not letting them leverage their actual advantages, is what makes them look almost purely like tragic, determined heroes fighting against the odds.

You hosed up, Kevin, YOU hosed UP.

potatocubed posted:

So let me get this straight...

1. I'm supposed to keep my wizard Zodiac super secret, but also I need to tell everyone what it is in order to activate its special power?

2. Said special power can be +3 attack and damage... or perfect teleportation?

Ah but you see the reward of SYSTEM MASTERY is being able to spot these superior options unlike the plebe casual players............

Dawgstar
Jul 15, 2017

Wasn't there something else Coffin had to say about not liking having to put the future Skull Nazis in an even vaguely flattering light?

I did find Coffin's post on RPG.net about Kevin's Writing Process. Hoo boy. I'd forgotten.

The Lone Badger
Sep 24, 2007

potatocubed posted:

2. Said special power can be +3 attack and damage... or perfect teleportation?

Or perfect, unstoppable mind-control.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

We'll start,
like many good things,
with a bear.

PurpleXVI posted:

Ah but you see the reward of SYSTEM MASTERY is being able to spot these superior options unlike the plebe casual players............

It's sort of hilarious that even in the game about wizards, and only wizards, the way to ~deep system mastery~ is 'write wizard on sheet'.

DalaranJ
Apr 15, 2008

Yosuke will now die for you.

potatocubed posted:

So let me get this straight...

1. I'm supposed to keep my wizard Zodiac super secret, but also I need to tell everyone what it is in order to activate its special power?

2. Said special power can be +3 attack and damage... or perfect teleportation?

Well you don't need to tell them, but they're gonna get pretty suspicious when you use a power specifically known to be tied to that wizard zodiac.

Bieeanshee
Aug 21, 2000

Not keen on keening.


Grimey Drawer
I had the nerdiest nightmare the other night. I was arguing with friends over how godawful this unholy spawn of RIFTS and Invisible Sun they were playing was.

I have no idea where this notion that you can't read in dreams came from, but after that I wish it was true.

ZeroCount
Aug 12, 2013


PurpleXVI posted:

The double weird thing about the latest RIFTS stuff we've been seeing is that if Tolkeen actually leveraged their magic abilities... that might actually give them some of that moral ambiguity that Kevin wanted.

Say they used weather control to set up a permanent rain/thunder zone blocking Coalition advances/air forces in a region... but the constant rainfall causes flooding downriver, washes away homesteads, etc. causing a bunch of civilians to throw support over to the Coalition because THEM DANG WIZARDS RUINED MY FARM. Or say Tolkeen actually did use their ability to teleport chaos elements(bombs, rampaging monsters and constructs, etc.) into Coalition cities and bases... thus causing a bunch of non-combatant/civilian casualties, then you could start arguing they've become as non-discriminatory as the Coalition(not quiet, but you might have the vaguest glimmerings of a point).

Kevin's focus on essentially constantly keeping Tolkeen on the back foot, and not letting them leverage their actual advantages, is what makes them look almost purely like tragic, determined heroes fighting against the odds.

You hosed up, Kevin, YOU hosed UP.

The intended ambiguity would also be helped if Tolkeen had had an ulterior motive to the war, like they'd started it intentionally to achieve some political goal or whatnot. As it is now, the Coalition started the war entirely on their own accord and the only 'warmongering' Tolkeen is guilty of is fighting back against a genocidal aggressor.

SirPhoebos
Dec 10, 2007

WELL THAT JUST HAPPENED!



Part 5: Full Borg Conversion

The Full Borg Conversion is a brand new category of cybernetic enhancement added in Chromebook 2. A character replaces everything except their brain and a few other organs with cyberware. Full Borgs have a baseline 10 REF, 10 MA, and 12 BOD, and can easily boost them higher. Full borgs are so machine they stop having normal hit points and just have Structural Damage Points. Full borgs come with 25 SP on all body sections and can take 30 SDP to the torso/20 SDP everywhere else before it becomes disabled (and an additional 10 points before itís destroyed).

Full Borg Conversion is feasible because it breaks the Humanity Loss rules for cybernetics. The justification is that replacing everything at once greatly reduces the psychological impact. Specifically, the book tells you to assume that every d6 of HC for cyberware is reduced to 1. Furthermore, for every 6 points of HC you take, that converts to a d6. So a character is paying 1/6th the HC for cybernetics at most, and on average is paying 1/12th the cost! As a point of comparison, the book shows what you would have to buy individually to have the same benefits as the full borg, and the HC cost is higher than all but the most ridiculous borg chassis (weíll discuss him later).

The cost for the base full borg conversion is 40,000 eb, plus x2 Critical Surgery (which costs 5,000). This is beyond the funds of any starting character. The only way to start as a full borg is to sell out to the military/megacorp/mafia. If your character has an EMP of 8 or higher, than you have a 20% chance of being offered the opportunity to be a full borg. This feels very pre-millennial mindset in RPGs: ďWant to have a fun toy? First you need to agree to my restrictions, then you have a chance of getting what you want.Ē Assuming you are lucky, then the full borg is hooked into a 10-to-25 year tour of service. During this time, they have a baseline chassis but get inserted into specific builds when itís time to gently caress poo poo up. Once their term is up, they can either go for another round or left with the baseline body.

There have been experiments to implant human brains into non-humanoid forms, but this just causes instant cyberpsychosis.

Full Borgs demolish what little balance there was to combat. The high-powered guns and upgrades from earlier in Chromebook 2, as ridiculous as they are, donít change the combat from being rocket tag. Because even if a gun shot doesnít straight up kill you, thereís still a good probability of it messing you up and taking you out of the running. But Full Borgs donít have to worry about Wound Penalties or Stun Saves. Whether a section has all its SDP or just 1 remaining it will operate fine. And thatís baseline. SP can be increased to 40, while an extra 25 SDP can be added to whichever section. And the extra armor does not penalize Reflexes, unlike almost every other heavy armor option.

Full Borgs not only have access to almost every type of Cyberware (Bioware and Organware are the main exceptions), but also get unique upgrades. Most notably, you can increase your REF, BOD and MA up to 15, 20 and 25 respectively. This is basically the only way to permanently boost a characterís Reflex. And as far as I can tell it can be stacked with the initiative boosterís from the Core Book (nothing explicitly forbids it). Other unique options for Full Borgs include quick-change mounts for limbs, letting you swap in heavy weapons when you really want an arm cannon, and an interchangeable biopod so you can be moved from your day-to-day cyberbody to your killborg chassis as needed.

Chromebook 2 has 10 models of Full Borgs. Iím going to present them in the order that I think theyíre going to appear in a campaign (least to most likely). Except the last one. Like Chromebook 2 Iím making it the closer for this section for what should be obvious reasons.



International Electric Cybernetics Wingman is the dream of any aeronautics engineer. No need to worry about your plane killing its pilot if they can just ignore physics! Itís a logical use of Full Borg technology. Itís also, in my opinion, the Borg least likely to come up in play. Players would only want this if they very specifically want to be Cyber-Maverick. And that assumes everyone is on board with this narrow campaign idea, because ďHigh Speed Plane GuyĒ as a character concept only works if the game is about High Speed Planes. And as a Referee, a Wingman NPC as an adversary only matters when the Wingman is in an aircraft, where you wouldnít be able to see the pilot anyway.

One thing that I remember is that at some point, the Wingmanís manufacturer changes to Militech. Thereís one other ĎBorg that gets this change. Iím sure thereís an in-setting explanation somewhere.

Cost: 54,000 eb HC: 20D6



Dynalar Technologies Brimstone is a fire-fighting full borg. It has systems that make it really good at fire-fighting, including being able to hook into the water lines. Like the Wingman itís the sort of conversion that it makes sense it would exist in setting. But only the most niche character concept would find this conversion attractive. On the other hand, thereís more of a chance that a group would interact with a Brimstone NPC either by getting stuck in a burning building (as the intro quote suggests, though with the added detail that they caused the fire), or if they cause a riot.

Cost: 47,000 eb HC: 19D6



Dynalar Technologies Aquarius is a deep diving Full Borg. It can move 30mph (15 MA) underwater and dive up to 16,000 feet. Deep Sea hijinx is a pretty specific sub-setting of the cyberpunk genre. But it is a part, and even more-normal cyberpunk stories can have parts where the protagonists go down where itís wetter (the Sea Base level in Deus Ex comes to mind). So while I donít see many PCs wanting to get this, I can better envision them running into one, even on the surface. Just be prepared for a lot of SeaLab 2021 references.

Cost: 50,000 eb HC 18D6+2



Cybermatrix Copernicus is like the Aquarius, but IIIIIN SPAAAAAAAACE. Itís options include built-in EVA jets and prehensile feet. While space probably has more of a cyberpunk pedigree than deep sea, I feel like the average group has less chance to run into Copernicusí because you can do missions near the deep sea while you canít really do near space. On the other hand if the PCs are heading to outer space, Copernicus is a really attractive package. If you read the Deep Space supplement, it turns out that armor and even moderately damaging weapons are hard to come by. If you have a full 25 SP and are made of SDP, you are pretty drat untouchable while in space (the Space Corps and the ESA will eventually get something heavy if youíre a jackass, but theyíre going to try everything else before they risk a catastrophic hull breach.)

Cost: 60,000 eb HC: 19D6


I just noticed that he has a mustache :3:

The NovaTech Limited Samson is a Full Borg specialized in industrial work. Their selection of options ensures that when they shake hands with danger, itís a power move. A Tech might get this for the skill boosts, but they can get the same bonuses for cheaper from earlier in the Chromebook. On the other hand an NPC with the Samson conversion is feasable even for a low-powered campaign. Theyíre just civilians, so theyíre not going to overshadow any of the PC. But because theyíre made of SDP and SP, they can have a firefight happening around them and players donít have to worry too much about them being reduced to paste by a stiff breeze.

Cost: 50,000 eb HC 20D6+1



The Militech Enforcer is Robocop, minus Peter Wellerís luscious lips. And the spike reader has been replaced with a tape cuff dispenser, which is admittedly more applicable to law enforcement. Itís pretty easy to imagine PCs having to deal with an Enforcer (especially after trying out all the weapons from earlier in this book). Itís also a conversion that a pretty broad group of players would want. On the other hand itís not sold the street, so it would have to be part of an agreed upon campaign. The one strike I would give have against it is that the base model doesnít max out Reflex :cmon:

Cost: 55,000 eb HC 21D6+1



The Militech Eclipse is a covert ops Full Borg. Think Grey Fox from Metal Gear Solid. This Borg is everything a stealth-focused character would want. It has all the good camo-stuff from the equipment section of Chromebook 2, but with the added bonus of no EV penalties, so no offsetting penalties to your stealth checks. And because they are made of SP and SDP, when someone inevitably succeeds on an Awareness check the Eclipse has enough staying power to get out of the jam. While the Eclipse is also not available to the public, unlike the other military-grade Borgs if you do manage to steal one it is well suited to staying stolen.

Cost: 65,000 eb HC: 21D6+3



The Raven Microcybernetics Gemini is for people that subscribe to the Six Million Dollar Man school of cybernetics. Youíve got a synthskin cover and simulated musculature so itís nearly impossible to tell youíre a full borg with human senses. Advanced scanners will still pick up your made of metal, which makes infiltration harder than advertised (synthskin cyberlimbs are pretty common, after all). If youíre determined to make it work, you can get a Disguise option to let you change your appearance. Gemini comes with Mr. Studd (misspelled)/Midnight Lady. Thanks, Chromebook! The Gemini is the only Borg with an Attractiveness score, and the purchaser picks what they want. No reason not to get it at 10, but ATTR never mattered so whatever. Unlike other Borgs, the Geminiís BOD canít be increased, and they canít increase their SP or SDP.

Cost: 55,000 eb (+1,000 for Disguise option)
HC: 16D6+2 (extra +2 with Disguise)



The Borg thatís most likely to show up in a typical campaign will be the standard chassis modified to whatever the PC or Referee wants. While IEC is the listed manufacturer of the Alpha-Class, the books says that all cybernetic manufacturers have their own brand of ďbase-lineĒ borg for sale. Nothing special about them, other that you can customize it to your heartís content. Also the stat bloc fucks up the number of options available for the limbs.

Cost: 40,000 eb HC: 16D6



And finally we get to this rear end in a top hat. The IEC Dragoon is a military borg, and it is as over the top as it looks. Max physical stats. Max SP and SDP. Quick-change mounts for all four limbs to swap in whatever weapon system you want, from submachineguns to the cannons from earlier in the book, and each is hooked to an integrated ammo hopper filled with 20x the weaponís standard magazine capacity. A Front Optic Mount to allow it to have every Cyberoptic option. A loving ďCombat CrystalĒ system that allows it to coordinate actions with four other Dragoons - because youíre really going to need more than one of these! IFF Transponder, satellite uplink, full EMP shielding. Just...loving hell.

The Dragoon costs 120,000 eb, before you even include weapon systems. The Humanity Cost is 42D6+3, or on average 150. So the Dragoon (the manufacturer later gets switched to Militech because of course this should be from a signature MegaCorp instead of a company that only shows up here and nowhere else) cheats the Humanity rules even further. The interchangeable Biopod includes a Behavioral Inhibitor Program that forces whoever is inhabiting it to follow orders strictly to the letter. Effectively they act like a non-AI robot and. They are also easy to trick, so they arenít put in sensitive missions. As written the Dragoon isnít appropriate for players since they donít really get a choice in their actions. Also I have to question why not just use a drone if human decision-making has to be constrained this much. I suppose that could be the point - the Dragoon reads like something that came out of a Cyber-Pentagon design committee. Itís just that the :fap:íing over how awesome this thing is leads me to doubt that was the intent.

If it were up to me, I would have gone with making the brain inside the Dragoon entirely dependent on IFF identifiers. This gives players the opportunity to use the Dragoon while presenting enough of a reason to not be in it all the time. It also gives a specific weakness that a PC group can exploit, rather than relying on Ref-May-I to get around trying to numberslam it.

Amusingly, the Dragoon is the only Full Borg chassis that includes a Chipware Socket by default. Itís also the only Borg that comes with a built-in time piece. Thatís got to be a nod of some sort to Palladium, though whether out of respect or making fun of them I canít tell.

The Dragoon is intended to be a capstone fight for a Cyberpunk campaign even if players are never going to use it. For a game that doesnít really have a ďMonster ManualĒ I can respect that. However, it doesnít take long for the Dragoon to get overshadowed when CP2020 finally updates its vehicle rules in Maximum Metal. Speaking of which,

Next Time: Fuel Wars

SirPhoebos fucked around with this message at 16:43 on Jun 25, 2019

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 5, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!
The Samson is also obviously just the spitting image of the basic Boomers from Bubblegum Crisis.

hyphz
Aug 5, 2003

Number 1 Nerd Tear Farmer 2022.

Keep it up, champ.

Also you're a skeleton warrior now. Kree.
Unlockable Ben


I should mention, by the way, that the full version of that diagram shows a group of Indiana Jones-style explorers discovering.. a d12? Not entirely sure how a joke about die popularity relates to GMing, but there we go.

Campaign Design is our next section. It begins with a discussion of the benefits of planning the campaign in advance versus evolving it on the fly, which - just like so many other things - is divided up by the player categories. These are fairly predictable, except for one claim that was fairly common at this time and responsible for a ton of internet drama: that "storyteller" players "enjoy the grand sweep of a thoroughly-planned story". In other words, they're not story tellers but story hearers. This confusion isn't mentioned here, but it's recognizable as a mismatch that may have kicked off GNS and assorted theories.

Genre is likewise a fairly standard discussion on picking a genre based on player preference, but with the additional note that fantasy's popularity can be explained by the ability to fit almost any other genre into it. The Setting, however, is definitely another artefact of its time. It begins with a full page discussion of the wonders of published setting books, and the statement that you should use them, and should allow and encourage the players to read as many of them as possible, even "GM-only" ones, with the exception of prefab adventures. Why is this? There's actually a bunch of good justifications given:

  • Players can watch movies, read books, read supplements, etc, over a period of years and start the game with that familiarity, rather than requiring a massive infodump at the start of the campaign.
  • By the same logic, they'll have developed their own emotional assocations and reactions to parts of the setting which save you from having to stop the game at dramatic moments to explain the reactions their characters "ought to have" (imagine having to stop a Star Wars game to explain why the guy with the black mask and cloak is a big deal)
  • Settings with big secrets tend to be incoherent or confusing without them, and ability for the players to engage with the setting is much more important than big surprise reveals - which are easy enough to work into any adventure anyway.
  • Published settings have art, which the vast majority of home-grown ones won't.
  • Most classic genres have published settings, so writing your own that matches one is just doing a ton of work only to throw away all the advantages above.
  • This was published by Steve Jackson Games, who had over 100 setting supplements published for GURPS. Oh, wait, it doesn't list that in the book. Well, actually it does, just not in this section, but just hang on a moment..

These would all be good, except for the practical reality that most players don't actually read much setting material either. But certainly at that time there was a vague assumption that they did (thus the hundred setting supplements) so it probably makes sense.

There's then a section on Home-Brewed Settings which reiterates the line above. If your setting is too familiar, it's probably just duplicating a published one and costing you a ton of work. If your setting is too unmafiliar, the players won't be able to connect to it easily and you'll have to start depending on infodumps. The recommended solution is to just pick two existing genres and blend them, then check that they can be explained reasonably in a single sentence; or:

quote:

Blindfold yourself, take any two GURPS sourcebooks off the shelf at random, and combine the results.

There's also a sidebar section on Tone covering the broader scope of emotional tones in the games, which mentions that everyone tends to have a particular tonal habit that might be hard to break, and at least requires conscious effort to do so. There's also a rather curious admission that Laws didn't consider Feng Shui an innovative design, but a game with an unusual tone and "a few unusual pieces of GM advice".

Mission covers the broad scope of the PCs goal, whether it's a general ongoing theme (like "raid dungeons, kill monsters, and steal stuff") or a more specialized long-term goal ("restore the old Elvish empire"). There's a brief discussion of the balance between these two - the risk that a more specialized mission implicitly excludes a player's favorite activity or becomes too repetitive; the suggestion is that if you can't think up a dozen basic adventure concepts easily the mission probably needs to be wider. Finally, there's a section on Headquarters and Recurring Cast, which basically says it's important to give the PCs a base and recurring allies because otherwise a campaign can be ruined if the PCs suffer too much attrition and need to regroup; without an established way to do so, they may end up just fleeing from all plotlines unless they're saved by fiat.

The next section is Adventure Design. The first section, Plot Hook, covers the now well-known advice to make the goal of an adventure fairly straightforward and to not worry about making things too complicated. It does, however, give a much better expressed justification for this: that if the mission is to find out, say, who killed the Sultan, then as GM you know who killed the Sultan, but the players don't, and so for them the adventure includes all the possible killers, motives, methods and techniques of investigation already without them needing to be included in the plot hook.

The next section, however, is another artefact of its time. Structuring Your Adventure. What's meant by "structure" here appears to be "story structure", as defined by a couple of properties: established action, building excitement, divided exposition, and varying rhythm and mood. There's then yet another one of those ghastly average-based tables for determining your "structure quotient", but this one is, well, just look at this:



Yea, just look at that spoilsport of a Tactician, ruining the structure that obviously everyone else wants. Keep that in mind when we go forward and we learn that structure may not be what you think it is, either.

And our first clue to that is: Dungeons and Other Unstructured Adventures. It essentially states that most players started with "plot-free" adventures such as dungeons, and if that's what the group enjoys, then just go with that - although it can be a bit boring for GMs and a bit unchallenging for players. There was similar text in GURPS itself as a justification for the superiority of adventures over dungeon crawls, and it totally misses a key point, one that anyone who's played BioShock knows (oh, wait, it's 2002, nobody ever has, Deus Ex then) - that a well-done dungeon or dungeon-like adventure can embed a narrative structure in its geography, possibly making the layout a bit weird but at the same time creating an easy way to manage structure without visible manipulation or railroading. This book doesn't even consider that technique.

So, let's see what the structures are. The first is Episodic. This is what most people now would call "a railroad", although "railroading" seems to be a term with mixed usage (it's sometimes apparently used to refer to just directing PC action badly). Guarding a caravan, or otherwise encountering a series of scenes with little or no influence on how they play out. It does, however, present some justifications to this: players have the flexibility to engage with or flee/skip encounters without fear for long term consequences; method actors can express their character's personality as they wish without knocking everything off the rails, and tacticians, power gamers and butt-kickers may not care all that much what the episodes are as long as they're fun battles. Which is fair enough, but unfortunately I then have to remember that Laws also wrote Four Bastards, an obviously episodically written Feng Shui prefab adventure that's probably the second worst prefab adventure I've ever read or owned (just for the record the first is Target: Mega-City One)

The second is Set-Piece. This is what Ron Edwards would later call Roads to Rome or Romeroading: there's a set of standard prepared events and the players transition between them, with the difference being that how the PCs get between them is much more open and there's more opportunity to change up what happens in the set-pieces, but they're still going to those items in that order. Oddly, there's no discussion of player types or preferences or otherwise for this, but that's possibly because of the next entry.

Branching is a very peculiar entry. First of all, here's the diagram that goes with it. The PDF makes this a full page diagram and states it was "previously only available as errata on the website", which isn't true, because my second printing print copy has it included in the text flow, and you can also see from below that it's been badly scaled up to fit on a page.



What makes this doubly unusual is that in spite of this diagram being there, the main focus on the section is saying not to try to do this. Essentially, the section states that actually having a structure like this is an unreasonable player expectation; what you're supposed to see from the diagram is how much material exists and isn't used, and how the diagram is incomplete. It seriously slams down any division between them:

quote:

If you're going to work out all of the scenes in advance, you're entitled to minimize the amount of work you must do by instead using the set-piece structure, where choices the players make determine how major sequences play out but not whether they occur at all. If the players want a greater number of possible storylines, they'll have to let you improve and accept the drawbacks of on-the-fly adventure creation.

Oddly, it doesn't state until the end of the book what those drawbacks actually are, but hey.

Enemy Timeline is another one that's only in the book so that you can be told not to use it, but at least it gets only one paragraph instead of a page and a diagram. It basically says "don't use rigid enemy timelines even if they're in your published adventures because the PCs will inevitably disrupt them and/or drop out of sync with them and ruin the structure". This seems to miss the option of the less rigid enemy timeline as seen in Monster of the Week, but that wasn't too common at the time.

But the last suggested structure, Puzzle Piece is an intruging one that I haven't seen described in these terms anywhere else. Essentially, it's very similar to the ideas of "standard NPCs" and "fronts" that pop up in modern games; you set a bunch of standard places and NPCs and events, and the players connect them together via their actions in whatever structure seems most appropriate for what they're doing. Unfortunately, the vast majority of the description of it is just a bullet-point list of the characters on the diagram, and the note "it gives you much greater when running the game, but requires that you know what to do with that flexibility". The book, sadly, isn't going to tell you.

The final section, Adventure Worksheet, essentially means going through the list of player types again and making sure that the adventure hits something that will satisfy each player's type and emotional kick

There's then another major chapter called Preparing To Be Spontaneous but I'm going to largely skip over it because it's really just an incredibly long-winded way of saying "make lists of stuff". NPC names, personality traits, lines of dialog, and so on. In fact, it focuses way too much on NPCs when they're initially only briefly mention as something you often have to create.

Next up are the sections on what actually happens at the table.

hyphz fucked around with this message at 17:21 on Jun 23, 2019

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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

Sig: Manual of the Primes
Thus Always To Tyrants



The Ideological Plane of Tyranny embodies the Belief that Mercy has no place in the law. The plane is a place of torment, punishment and pain. The stench of blood and bile are near constant, and darkness is frequent but for faint torches. Most inhabitants of the plane lie in chains, trapped and damned for all eternity. Many of them did nothing to deserve this punishment - what matters here is not guilt but accusation. The jails of the Plane of Tyranny do not need an excuse to inflict their torments. Countless souls are trapped here, punished for crimes that could be real or could just be the fever dreams of their jailors. It is possible for any of them to be let out, should they choose to join those jailors. However, most realize this is not true freedom - just another kind of chain. Razorburg is an ancient city of basalt, full of smoke and screams, where the damned are sent to fight and kill or be killed. Five Lights Below is the maximum security area of the plane, a set of dark caves where the most dangerous prisoners in all of the 'verse are kept. Any kind of punishment imaginable might be found there. The Marching Stones are a desert waste, inhabited by conscript armies of the damned, infernal war-machines and massive obsidian stones. Here, wars are fought for all eternity, with neither purpose nor end.

The most infamous people of the plane are the Devahil. Every soul imprisoned on the Plane of Tyranny has a choice to escape their eternal torment. Those that accept it are reborn as Devahil, told they are the last true servants of law. Theirs, they are instructed, is a mission of order and harmony for the universe, brought by arms and will. They learn that the Plane itself was designed as a multiversal prison, meant to chain the dangerous powers of chaos and offer redemption to those with the will to seek it. The Devahil punish the prisoners, hunt down law-breakers and work closely with the Harmonious Army of the Plane of Tyranny, at least when they accept the job they have been freed to do. Some of them even come to believe the lies and the propaganda they are told. The mark of a Devahil is horns - no matter what their previous form, all Devahil grow some form of horns or spikes on their heads. Common Talents:
Dominance (Broad)
Pain (Broad)
Intimidation (Common)
Mental Invasion (Deep)

The greatest Faction of the plane is the Guild of Advocates. Law is not simple in Sig, and understanding it requires a firm, wise guide. The Advocates serve any client, offering their legal services for a reasonable fee. A legal representative from the Guild of Advocates will happily support you in resolving your issues via formal or informal methods. No matter what your cause, there is a member of the Guild of Advocates who will speak for you and assist you. They are professional, brutally efficient and more than happy to deal with strange or labyrinthine laws that might contradict each other. (Indeed, they encourage the laws to be as infuriating to deal with as possible, because opposing or getting around them brings in money.)
Duty: Offer legal services to the denizens of Sig.
Leverage: Maneuver the bureaucracy of Sig's many laws and twist them to advantage.
Example Agenda: Ensure a law is passed to forbid the giving of alms to the impoverished beggars of Sig.

One of the notable Powers of the plane is Kalzak the Absolute, Power of Law, Judgement and Hatred. Kalzak was a demon who earned his infernal title, the Demon-God of Moral Absolutes, by much work and battle in the infernal bureaucracies. He rules now from a tower of skulls, where his infernal scribes carve new laws on the bones of still-living victims. He spreads through the Primes a single toxic idea: that which is different is dangerous. His servants encourage racism, bigotry, prejudice of all kinds, hoping to cause more bloody, hateful wars. When the dust settles, Kalzak chooses the most hateful, dangerous souls to join his demonic retinue.
Devotion: Never treat an outsider as your equal.
Ritual: The Chant of the Holy Mission stirs up ethnic and religious hatred in a crowd. If you do not spend Influence, the mob will cause direct, brutal violence rather than subtle oppression.
Example Agenda: Convince the Dragon-kin to invade the Prime world of Karn.



The Ideological Plane of Destruction embodies the Belief that Power is its own reward. Rage and terror fill the ruined lands that make up most of the plane. Massive beasts smash through the remains of buildings, swarms of fleshworms devour the unwary, sinhounds hunt and feast on those who are too slow to escape. The weather itself is dangerous, throwing razors and acid about without warning. Those too weak to be saved from the eternally crumbling cities of the plane hide or flee as best they can. Butcher's Field is a wasteland of salt, rust and fiery winds, where demon armies battle for eternity. Maw is a strange series of undulating tunnels whose fleshy walls drip constantly with acidic slime. The Oblivion Hole is a glowing white hole in reality, and anything that falls within it is utterly annihilated.

The most notable folk of the plane are the Wyrms. Their red flesh is pierced by many spikes and horns, and their great jaws contain immense power. Others name them demons or dragon-kin. They know themselves as the Liberated, who have found true freedom. The lesson they have learned, as a people, is that power born from freedom is worth any price, no matter how terrible. The Wyrms are an innately independent and territorial people, and most of them have learned that trust is suicidal. The see other Wyrms as competitors, if not always hostile ones, and tend to view others as tools or slaves to exploit. How else to survive the destruction that rains around them? Common Talents:
Violence (Broad)
Destruction (Broad)
Bargains (Common)
Red in Tooth and Claw (Deep)

The Enforcers are half cop, half organized crime. They are happy to step in and break up any criminal activity they find. They end domestic disputes, arrest troublemakers, hold back mobs and imprison criminals...well, usually. They have to be paid first, after all. All rational folk fear the violent arm of the Enforcers. They once arrested a dragon who got too drunk, forcibly dragging her into the city's prisons. Those who get on their bad side are rarely happy - there's few gangs that can match the raw power of the Enforcers.
Duty: Enforce the rough justice of Sig.
Leverage: Police brutality and general thuggery.
Example Agenda: Arrest the Goddess of Tranquil Revolution for treason against Sig.

Eater-of-Worlds, Child of Oblivion is a feared Power in the Plane of Destruction, the Power of Chaos, DEath and Hunger. It is always hungry. It has always been hungry. When it is upset, it births forth one of its monstrous, gargantuan children, then sits the child loose to destroy entire Primes. Soon, the Eater-of-Worlds will emerge from the Oblivion Hole. Soon, it will feast.
Devotion: Never reveal your faith.
Ritual: The Famine-Touch curses someone to be unable to gain any sustenance until they devour the flesh of a specific person. If you do not spend Influence, the curse is transmitted to anyone bitten.
Example Agenda: Release one of its colossal and monstrous children into Sig.



The Ideological Plane of Order embodies the Belief that Laws are absolute. Everything about the plane is perfect harmony. Massive, interlocking cogs turn rhythmically. Strange expanses filled with rows of geometric shapes stand silently, while detailed patterns emerge naturally from a clay ocean. Fractal cities glow with syncopated light patterns, and researchers move like ants through massive set of libraries. Here, order is imposed on the 'verse, and patterns come alive. The Great Machine is a structure of interlocking, ever-moving gears. Its purpose is not known, even by the strange geometric constructs that maintain it. Because of course the Modrons are here, secretly. The Tablet Lands are a vast expanse of smooth clay, where massive fractal patterns naturally emerge. The Celestial Bureaucracy is housed in the City of Dockets. Here, in theory, all power in the 'verse could be gained, but for the fact that navigating the complex web of authority and procedures is practically impossible.

The Aesigilar are some of the strangest people of the plane. They are sentient runes, which meld symbiotically with humanoid peoples. They trace descent from star-patterns, and consider family kinship to be a matter of celestial proximity in those patterns. While they are intimately bonded with their hosts, Aesigilars seem to neither care about nor comprehend the ideas of ethnicity or gender. They also see complex relationships with a constellation of multiple partners to be normal. Most Aesigilar believe that bonding with their host uplifts their partner to true sentience. Most Primals disagree, and tend to see them as body snatchers. Common Talents:
Patterns (Broad)
Time (Broad)
Prediction (Common)
Mental Symbiosis (Deep)

The primary Faction of the plane is the Paper Guard. Without them, the City Betwen would fall apart. The PAper Guard manage the bureaucracy and public servants of the city. They have the STA program for tariffs on incoming goods, make PMFs for civic initiatives, establish policies for administration based on the PGD, work on strategic planning documentation and ensure that senior officials align with MAF. They rarely bother to explain what all their acronyms actually mean - you should know if you're interested, right? They can be terrifyingly effective at making things happen, despite this, and those that get in their way usually regret it. Not because of any violence - the Paper Guard are just able to bury people in red tape and paperwork when annoyed.
Duty: Manage the civic government operations.
Leverage: Wield the bureaucracy.
Example Agenda: Prepare a new official census and tax verification exercise throughout Sig.

The example Power is Edana of the Pact, Power of Law, Marriage and Politics. She appears as a woman with blue skin, six arms and a red blindfold over her eyes. She is the avatar of all contracts, bargains and treaties. When she looks upon someone, she sees not a person, but an interlocking web of duties, obligations and agreements that bind them to the rest of the 'verse. She is the diplomat, mediator and intermediary that the other Powers turn to in legal matters, and her blood, which is black as ink, creates unbreakable treaties. She dwells within the Celestial Bureaucracy, but often takes breaks to go get some chai in Sig.
Devotion: Never break a contract.
Ritual: The Blind Contract creates a spiritually binding agreement between any two willing parties. If you do not spend Influence, the binding lasts only for a random duration, unknown either to you or the parties involved.
Example Agenda: Establish a peace treaty between Markan, the Shepherd of Dreams, and the Merchant Council of Sig.

Next time: The Planes of Freedom, Dreams and Shadow

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

We'll start,
like many good things,
with a bear.
There's a lot I'm not fond of in this advice (especially all this silly assigning numbers to player types BS) but one thing he's absolutely right about: Never try to actually use a rigid timeline you get in a pre-made adventure. I think Forges of Nuln can stand as a good example of why that's a terrible idea. Having a timeline written up as 'what do the enemies think they're going to do' guideline isn't a bad idea if it's quick, and done with awareness that you won't be sticking to it. At all.

sexpig by night
Sep 8, 2011

by Azathoth
yea in big military/long lasting things a general guideline of 'what enemies will think is the best thing to do' is good but christ is it insufferable when they write out a whole detailed timeline they expect the players to follow

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 5, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


Coalition Wars 6: Final Siege, Part 15- "As always, keep those imaginations burning, and we'll keep trying to provide the fuel that feeds them. - Kevin Siembieda, 2001"

This is the literal seventh anniversary of these reviews. It wasn't planned, but when I looked up my very first post on the Rifts corebook last night, there it is: June 23rd, 2012. Which seems as good a place to put a pin these reviews and look back as any.

I enjoy Rifts. I realize that might seem odd to say, given how much criticism I've put on it all these years, but it's true. Spite alone wouldn't have gotten me through this, wouldn't have gotten me building a shelf of books. I have a deep nostalgia for Rifts, and a lot of other folks do too.

When Rifts came out, most RPGs would shake their fist at you for daring to play a dark elf or lizardman, and here this RPG comes along and says: you want to play a giant robot? A wizard that can blow up buildings? A real, legit dragon? It's okay! You can do that! Even contemporaries like Shadowrun or Torg feel a little staid compared to a game that lets you play a full combat cyborg or a cybernetic psychic knight. Add in Long's art really pulling overtime to sell these concepts, and you have a knockout of a game concept. The Rifts Sourcebook gave us robot rules, monsters, and a full adventure to really flesh it out. And Rifts Conversion Book really showed its potential, letting you drag in characters from other games and giving the game its first (and deeply necessary) bestiary.

However, even then, the rules were clearly pretty hinky, having only gone incremental updates over nine years of Palladium products that didn't particularly synergize. The issues with mega-damage in terms of game balance and lethality were obvious from the start. Still, the state-of-the-art in rules wasn't particularly developed in 1990; the Hero System, released the same year, probably represented the most coherent rules system at publication at the time.

Even though I was young, I feel like the cracks showed through with the first world books, though. Rifts World Book 1: Vampire Kingdoms and Rifts World Book 2: Atlantis gave us monster-dominated regions, that, though interesting, weren't easily usable- most PCs would be torn apart with a single misstep in Mexico or Atlantis. In retrospect, the subtext of Mexican vampires trying to cross the border from Mexico to feed on the blood of "American" humans isn't a great one, though I doubt it was intentional. Rifts World Book 3: England and Rifts World Book 4: Africa just did very little to evoke or celebrate their respective regions, and England was where I broke from the line for the most part. While books like Rifts World Book 5: Triax & the NGR, Rifts World Book 7: Underseas, and Rifts World Book 8: Japan did some to reignite my flagging interest, at the same time I was already being lured away by White Wolf, and Mage grabbed at the same "you play annnything, man!" power fantasy impulse.

Coming back to these books in 2012, in an era where FATE, Apocalypse World, and Dungeons & Dragons 4th Edition represented the state-of-the-art, Rifts came across as positively archaic. Rolling 3d6 down a line of eight attributes? Yep. Skill percentages that rendered skilled college graduates barely able to figure algebra? Still in there. Randomly rolling for psionics? You bet! And so, I came in swinging with these reviews with cussing, scorn, and emoji, inspired by Ettin's scathing Cthulhutech writeups. I was assisted before long by occamsnailfile, who helped me dare the Rifts Conversion Book and really helped me get through books I would have struggled with otherwise at that point. And every time I figured I was done, there was another hill to climb - "let's get through the CJ Carella books", "I have to cover Coalition War Campaign", "oh, people have to see the disaster of the 'western trilogy'" - and so on. And in the far distance, there was always Rifts Coalition Wars: Siege on Tolkeen as the ultimate hubris and folly of the game line.



After all, Siembieda had done little to endear himself to the traditional games community. There was the lawsuit with Wizards of the Coast over the Palladium conversion rules in The Primal Order - and though Siembieda was likely justified, the look of an industry leader trying to knock down a new publisher on their first released product was a real bad one. The draconian response of Palladium Games to the growing influence of the internet burned a lot of their fandom, blocking fansites, conversions, and in particular standing as a bulwark against d20 at the height of its popularity. Throwing threats of lawsuits around, Siembieda worked hard to cut his bridges. As it was, Coalition Wars came at perhaps the worst time. Just as d20 began to wreck the industry, sapping money from any non-D&D product, here came this event that pissed off Coalition fans ("why are these nobodies even a threat?"), pissed off Coalition haters ("why does the Coalition just win again?"), and in general didn't reward the six-book buy-in it required. Siembieda would go online at times to lash out at critics. Palladium was having a tough time, and then Coffin, fired from the company, dropped his infamous series of wordbombs at RPG.net condemning Siembieda and Palladium. And, all the while, Palladium was being quietly robbed of around a million dollars by Siembieda's long-time gaming buddy, Steve Sheiring.

Though the outpouring of fan support and money in 2006-2007 to rescue the company from Sheiring's embezzlement would seem to offer them a chance for a new start, Palladium has largely continued on unchanged. Granted, they don't run around threatening lawsuits against fans anymore, having learned at least a modicum of PR basics from the Coffin debacle, but Rifts is still what it is - a relic of a different time, largely buoyed up by an aging fandom. The Robotech RPG Miniatures kickstarter was a dramatic disaster that seemingly cost them any remaining goodwill, but Savage Rifts was a wise turn that at least given them a new spotlight.

Several years ago, I met with Siembieda for the first time. I had my SA handle on my badge so other goons at GenCon could recognize me, and I asked him to sign some of my books. Or, at least, I pretty much had to corner him to do so, as he would often turn away when I came near. While he greeted other fans with cheer, he looked like a punched dog when he signed my books. Pretty sure he knew who I was. And on my way home from the show, I wondered: am I just kicking an old man? After talking it over with people, I came to the realization that Siembieda's carefully built this safe zone from criticism, having driven away everybody who isn't a yes-man. He's ignored suggestions and demands from fans for decades, and it's not on me to coddle him for his choices. He's built his own house and I'm just a small voice on a shrinking elfgames wordbasket.

"Oh, this is just at the right time, I just finished reading through the Russia books.", I say cheerfully in 2018 as he signs my copy of Rifts World Book 36: Sovietski. "Oh.", Kevin says a dull, saddened tone. "... is that so?"

In the same show, I'm approached by a Palladium associate. "Are you the guy that writes those Rifts reviews?!", he asks me excitedly.



Even after all this, though, man, I just love the notion of grab-bag power fantasy gaming that Rifts could have been, were it not for the kludgey rules, were it not for the clumsy world-building, the careless stereotyping, the thoughtless fascism apologia, the rehashed material, the mistreatment of employees and freelancers, okay, okay, you get the point. Even these days I open a game I love like Fragged Empire and I'm like "I want to play an ace fighter pilot!" and then game is like "Whoa there, you have to earn that cool fighter." Maybe it takes that a flagrant carelessness, a lack of regard for what others might think, a willingness to keep pumping out supplements for a thirty-year old game... maybe Rifts requires that level of childishness to exist.

Wow. I started trying to find a place to be positive and here we are again. That's the essential dilemma of any nuanced Palladium fandom- recognizing the cool seeds of games that never were allowed to blossom, and recognizing that there's one person who stood in the way of that. I've covered over 42 books (3 with the help of occamsnailfile) and 9 magazines, and occamsnailfile did another 4. It's a ridiculously comprehensive review of the line and one I'm willing to let stand for now. But these days I'm working towards writing for games, not about them. That isn't to say I won't write or talk about Palladium again, but if I do, I'd like to find a different way to do it. I don't want to be stuck in the past. That is, after all, the Palladium way.

Thanks for occamnailfile for helping me get through those Conversion Books and Dimension Books. Thanks to everybody that commented over the past seven years here or in the Palladium thread. Thanks go to Jason Marker and Bill Coffin for giving us all insight into Palladium Books we wouldn't have had otherwise, even if they don't personally see eye-to-eye. Thanks to Ettin for giving me the inspiration to write about dodgy RPG word and finally post on SA. Thanks to Asimo, unseenlibrarian, and occamsnailfile for pointing me to Ettin's reviews in the first place. Thanks to MegaDumbCast, who covered the disaster of Ninjas & Superspies so I never had to. Thanks to everybody who's written for Palladium, even if it was just to have your text hacked apart and rewritten and uncredited. Thanks to all the Palladium artists I've made jokes over - you guys do great art, don't listen to me. And thanks to Kevin, for being the stodgy no-fucks curmedgeon that made all this possible. And thanks to Erick Wujcik, who wrote that RPG about mutant turtles that got me into the world of initialism-heavy make-believe even when I was denied D&D.

THE END OF "FINAL SIEGE".: 0 PAGES REMAIN OF THE COALITION WARS.

Hostile V
May 31, 2013

Solving all of life's problems through enhanced casting of Occam's Razor. Reward yourself with an imaginary chalice.

RIFTS in Peace, ARB. The cycle is completed and the Coalition won.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

We'll start,
like many good things,
with a bear.
Man, Hams, Torg, and RIFTs all finishing this year? This is the year of extremely long RPG review projects ending. Congratulations, ARB.

sexpig by night
Sep 8, 2011

by Azathoth
I'm not gonna lie ARB, your reviews made my group dig out our old RIFTS poo poo and play a few games, so hey you're not the only person with an inescapable love/hate relationship with this cursed yet wonderful franchise.

I just want to fly a mech into a dragon, is that so wrong????

SirPhoebos
Dec 10, 2007

WELL THAT JUST HAPPENED!



Park 6: Vehicles

According to the CP2020 corebook, CHOOH2 has fully supplanted oil as vehicle fuel, with plastic being the only reason oil was still drilled for. However, someone at R.Talsorian, or one of their contributors, didnít like this set up. I can only guess at the reason. Maybe this person thought fuel shortages were an important trope to Cyberpunk? Maybe this person really wanted Future Zeppelins but felt it necessary to justify their existence in-setting? Maybe itís an attempt to hamstring players that got their hands on an AV? Whatever the reason, CP2020 now has AvGas, a high-octane fuel that can only be refined from petroleum. Aerodynes and Jets must use AvGas, which costs between 70-170 eb a gallon (50+2D6*10). I went back to the core book to check what the cost of CHOOH2 was as a comparison, but if itís in there it isnít on a page it would logically be, such as equipment. Go figure.

Overall this section is much better put together than the one in Chromebook 1. All the vehicles have a standardized stat block that includes top speed, maneuvering speed, acceleration/deceleration, fuel efficiency, fuel capacity, passengers, SP, SDP, and maneuverability modifier. The special equipment is clearly separated from the fluff text (though there are some misses), and if there are special rules they are clearly marked.

Letís move on to the new vehicles. First up are Aerodynes. The writer for this section must have noticed that despite AVs being better that helicopters in every way, people were still selling helicopters. So we get a bunch of situational disadvantages-helicopters can auto-gyro if they lose power, and IR-guided missiles donít lock on as easily. The only ones thatís supported by the rules is that copters are cheaper.



The AV-3 ďAerocopĒ is the cop car from Blade Runner. It can even transition into a street car. The flavor text says that thereís a turrent option, though there is no indication in the equipment section. Itís got a top speed of 350 mph in the air and 150 mph on the ground. Costs 500,000 eb.

The VMW Family Flier is the economy Aerodyne marketed to the middle-class. Itís bad compared to other AVs, (top speed 150 mph, -2 maneuverability, etc.) but itís pretty affordable at 50,000 eb. And since these are owed by ďnormalĒ families, stealing one would be pretty straight-forward. If a PC group just needs any air vehicle, this is a viable option.

The Nissan Ford Fanmaster isnít actually an Aerodyne. Itís more like a hovercraft without the skirt. While it canít fly, itís fully amphibious and can operate off-road. The Fanmaster has a top speed of 100 mph and can carry 750 kg. Costs 20,000 eb.



The Lambo-Fiat Mach is the fastest Aerodyne available. It has a top speed of 500 mph. The Mach has a +2 Maneuverability for pilots with a skill of 5 and greater, but -5 for pilots of lower skill. At least the Mach comes with an auto-pilot. Costs 650,000 eb.



If the Mach is a flying lamborghini, then the Swan (made by ďthe aircraft and automotive manufacturers of ScandinaviaĒ) is a flying cadillac. Nothing all that special. Costs 200,000 eb.

Onto ground vehicles. The New American Motors Crowder is an electric car. Itís also pretty terrible, with a top speed of 40 mph, and has to spend as much time charging as it does operating. Costs 4,000 eb.



The Max Interceptor is Mad Max's ride a cop car. It has a top speed of 180 mph and can be armed with a machine gun turret. Costs 40,000 eb.



The Toyota-Chevorlet í17 Chevy is either a full stat block for the basic sedan in the main book (which were admittedly not present), or an obscure jab at an existing line of cars, with snarky comments about it being ďthe least inspired automobile in the history of automobilesĒ. Also just looking at the picture I realize that this could have easily been a drawing for an AV, especially when you compare it to the Swan. The Ď17 Chevy costs 10,000 eb.

The Mitzubishi Ashigaru is an electric motorcycle. Itís not as terrible as the Crowder, but presumably has the same charging problem. It has a top speed of 70 mph and costs 1,750 eb.



The Delta Motors Bermuda is actually a tricycle. The game notes indicate that it operates as well off road as it does on them. Only this vehicle and the next give any indication that this matters. Top speed 155 mph. Costs 3,000 eb.

The Harley Darkwing is an off-road bike. It gets a +3 to maneuverability that only applies off-road. The Darkwing is also armed and itís here, of all places, that the uninitiated learn what a SAW is (a light machinegun) and what rules to use (light assault rifle with 150 rounds). Thank. You. Top speed: 100 mph. Cost: 4,500 eb.



The next category of vehicles are fixed-winged aircraft. The first two entries are ďMini-jetsĒ and...thereís something about them, the first one in particular, that has me wondering if these were intentionally written as theory-crafted boondoggles. Maybe Iím giving the author too much credit, but the General Dynamics F-36 Coment has 20 SP and 175 SDP, but if it takes over 50 points of damage, then thereís a 10% chance per turn that the pilot loses all control and the plane crashes. Itís top speed is 1,400 mph, but has an operational range* of 500 miles. Itís armaments consists of a 20mm cannon and two air-to-air missiles. On the other hand, the Comet has a whopping +10 maneuverability thanks to its swept forward wings. The Comet costs 45 million eb.

*I just multiplied fuel capacity and fuel efficiency. Iím sure IRL it would be even less



The MacDonald Douglass F-33 Wasp is a little more practical. Itís operational range is just over 1,000 miles and has a top speed of 1,250 mph. Itís armed with a 30mm cannon and can carry 4 air-to-air missiles. Unfortunately, most of the information on what these weapons do (along with the active defenses these planes and others carry) is back in the Solo of Fortune book, and as I mentioned in my review of Chromebook 1 it isnít really compatible with this edition of Cyberpunk. The Wasp costs 35 million eb.


The Fed-Boeing Falcon is a STOL cargo plane. Itís the C-130 Hercules, but futuristic-looking. Costs 1.25 million eb.

The GD Hummingbird is a passenger jet. Nothing really to say about it except that while itís unarmed, it does have defensive systems. Costs 15 million eb.



The Lockheed-Cessna Pinto is a STOL weapon platform. Itís armed with 2 20mm cannons and can carry 1,400 kg of ordinance. The cannons and most of the ordinance options need Solo of Fortune, but there are rules here for bombs. Bombs do 1D10 per kg within 1 meter per 10 kg, and then 1D10 per 5 kg out to 1 meter per 5 kg. The heaviest bomb the Pinto can carry is 455 kg. As for how to attack with them, Iím guessing that rules werenít present in Solo of Fortune otherwise they would have directed us there for the bombs. The Pinto has a top speed of 450 mph and costs 10.5 million eb.



hang on what are they casting their shadow on?

The last group of vehicles are Future Blimps. They include the India Sky-Barge (10 million eb), the ďMadison AvenueĒ Advertblimp (2.5 million eb) and the Sky-Queen Cruise Liner[/b] (20 million eb) Admittedly they look pretty cool. But get full stat lines for them, as if the players were going to use these for chases. The only really interesting detail in all three of these is that the Sky Queen is armed with 6 AA missiles. I like to imagine the missiles were added after a Referee tried to have his grand campaign finale on one and didnít anticipate his players just blowing it out of the sky.

Next Time: Nope. Nope. Nopenopenopenopenopenopenopenopenope.

SirPhoebos fucked around with this message at 14:49 on Jun 24, 2019

SirPhoebos
Dec 10, 2007

WELL THAT JUST HAPPENED!

Given the number of times it comes up, I really need to review Solo of Fortune next.

Tibalt
May 14, 2017

What, drawn, and talk of peace! I hate the word, As I hate hell, all Montagues, and thee

"But why," you ask with wide-eyed innocence, "Would anyone want to include cybergenitals in their game."

The old punk just laughed bitterly.

assuming I'm thinking of the right section

Evil Mastermind
Apr 28, 2008

Congrats to ARB for finishing what may be the longest F&F in history. Godspeed, you crazy person.

That Old Tree
Jun 24, 2012

nah


Congratulations ARB.

There goes a real fixture of the thread.

PurpleXVI
Oct 30, 2011

Spewing insults, pissing off all your neighbors, betraying your allies, backing out of treaties and accords, and generally screwing over the global environment?
ALL PART OF MY BRILLIANT STRATEGY!

Evil Mastermind posted:

Congrats to ARB for finishing what may be the longest F&F in history. Godspeed, you crazy person.

Seriously, I may not have read every post in detail, but especially the latest ones got me engaged in the review again. It's good and it's comprehensive.

megane
Jun 20, 2008



sexpig by night posted:

I just want to fly a mech into a dragon, is that so wrong????

The whole internet loves RIFTS, a lovely game where you can play a cyborg wizard!

sexpig by night
Sep 8, 2011

by Azathoth

megane posted:

The whole internet loves RIFTS, a lovely game where you can play a cyborg wizard!

we regret to inform you RIFTS thinks fighting nazis makes you a nazi

kommy5
Dec 6, 2016
I've followed the Rifts reviews with macabre interest. And I just swing back and forth on it hard. Sometimes it's really cool. Sometimes it's horrible. The mechanics are the oldest of kludgy messes with poorly though refits and items and subsystems just piled onto it like a crazy game of Jenga, held together by an insane premise and the visual design that dearly wished to create a 1980s toy commercial/cartoon series. It's so gonzo I feel a grudging respect for it. And so mired in pointless crap to fill books it makes me want to bang my head on a wall.

I'm not even going to touch the dodgy cultural takes and love of skull nazis.

It's been a hell of a trip. Congratulations, Alien Rope Burn. And thanks.

Nessus
Dec 22, 2003

To witness titanic events is always dangerous, usually painful, and often fatal.



Well done on your review, ARB. Semper game's.

As for cyborgs, gags aside it would make sense to note "there are cybernetic genitals" somewhere in the book if it is this comprehensive and detailed. Or "there aren't cybernetic genitals" for that matter if you want to make augmentation and full-body conversion dehumanizing. But you really don't need more than one line.

Joe Slowboat
Nov 9, 2016

Higgledy-Piggledy Whale Statements



Just wanted to say that I think your idea of reviewing gaming advice books is great, Hyphz. I admit, I've often found the specific problems you run into at the table a bit baffling, but I think applying a critical and analytical eye to GMing advice is rarely done and you're doing a good job of pointing out the contradictions. GMing advice often seems to me to be either flatly bad or dependent on some weird assumptions, and unearthing those assumptions is worth doing.

Keep up the good work!

Libertad!
Oct 30, 2013

You can have the last word, but I'll have the last laugh!
Congrats on your long-done review, ARB. Seven years is a long time for anything.

I will admit the irony of RIFTS series ending on a big wet fascist fart, but is instead killed off by other forms of mismanagement.

EthanSteele
Nov 18, 2007

I can hear you
Hell yeah, it's been a ride! Congrats

tokenbrownguy
Apr 1, 2010

Good job buddy

Ithle01
May 28, 2013
Good job on the review ARB. I remember seeing ads for RIFTS in .. I want to say Dragon magazine? back when I was a kid and thinking that it looked crazy awesome because they really knew how to sell the idea on people who were used to DnD crapping on you for wanting to be cool at character creation.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

We'll start,
like many good things,
with a bear.
RIFTS was the first RPG I ever heard of when I was a little kid, when my baby sitter used to tell me about how awesome glitterboys were while teaching me to play Magic The Gathering and helping me play Quest for Glory on the PC.

I had a pretty awesome baby sitter.

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SirPhoebos
Dec 10, 2007

WELL THAT JUST HAPPENED!

There is the sexual implant on the Gemini borg, but it's just one line of detail. And of course there's Mr. Stud from the main book, which is a waste of money because there's a greater than even chance that the bonus it gives is negated by the Humanity Loss. No, this is something very different.

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