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Young Freud
Nov 25, 2006



Robindaybird posted:

Isn't that true in real life? (I kid, I kid - but the stereotype is there about Quebec)

IIRC, Quebec was home to Cross Applied Technologies, which was a major intelligence player in 3ed. After the big metaplot poo poo at the end of 3rd Edition's run, they went apeshit when it's chairman was killed by a freak accident and ended up losing their AAA rating.

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Fossilized Rappy
Dec 26, 2012


Hostile V posted:

Thanks for covering Conspiracy X, Rappy. It's a little too crunchy for my enjoyment but I like its approach to everything.

(I also generally like how the supernatural is Real and a Problem but all of the global conspiracies are like "yeah we're not paying attention to it, have you seen the aliens"?)
No worries. It was one of those things I've been wanting to cover, and I finally managed to beat of the various personal issues cramping my ability to write in order to get a small buffer of it.

Nessus posted:

Given the timeframe you could have new popes who are less dicks later on. Or that French dude could reinvent the real medieval French tradition of having an antipope.
I don't remember anything about the later Popes, but one of the brief asides I do actually like in Fifth Edition (sorry to get ahead of the game, Crasical) is that there is an Islamic reformation movement concerning the fact that the supernatural is real, one of the members of which is a proud burqa-clad satyr. This may be mentioned in Fourth as well, but I can't recall.

Fossilized Rappy fucked around with this message at 16:35 on Mar 2, 2017

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

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




Main problems I've noticed with ConX are:

1. This game seems to want you to take purely fluffy Drawbacks like "Class Clown" or whatever in order to get the points you need for your Career-related stuff.

2. Way, way, way too many skills. I've noticed in LPs that people rarely take the academic skills they ought to have except out of obligation, because when are you going to get to use Science (Botany) unless the GM is going out of his way to be nice? It's very much a throwback to games I played in the 90s in that regard.

3. Martial Arts is basically a solved problem.

Setting-wise, I think it's not quite on the money to say it's a setting where every conspiracy theory is true--at least, it's not balls-out wacky like GURPS Illuminati or something like that. The blend of aliens and occultism is well put together.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!




Rifts World Book Nine: South America 2: Part 8: "This motif is due to the existing of a semi-intelligent predator on the Arkhon homeworld, a large, heavily muscled one-eyed creature larger than an Earth gorilla and with the ruthlessness and thirst for blood of a leopard."

Arkhon Weapons & Equipment

So, some facts about Arkhon weapons.
  • A lot of their designs are modeled after the Un-Mertak, aka the "Death Cyclops", who was a terrifying predator on their world (until they killed most of them, anyway).
  • Their guns use a "tri-beam" that combines a laser, ion, and plasma beams. You know, like you do in the kitchen. They do double damage to most materials, but normal damage against force fields and their own armor. The beams also wind around one another in the animest spiral way.
  • They use a special material called "cerasteel" for their armor that takes half damage from energy weapons, normal damage from tri-beams, and double damage from physical impacts.
  • They use a different e-clip technology, but adapters can be devised for normal e-clips (and they already have them on their weapons sometimes just to use human e-clips).
  • Their grips are designed for Arkhon hands, and deal a small penalty to humans who try and use them until they acclimate.
It's interesting to see Carella try and make Arkhon weapon technology different. It has definite complications for PCs, and the damage values are kept at a level that they're dangerous but not overwhelming for the most part. Still, regular armor is a lot more common than force fields, so in general these guns will serve better than their average Coalition equivalent. But enough for that, it's time for the gun pa-pa-parade!


Contains 200% more rays than your average ray gun.
  • TB-3 Tri-Beam Energy Pistol: Yes, that's "TB" for Tri-Beam, not TuBerculosis. It does only token damage, but is at least crap against normal armor.
  • TB-9 Auto-Pistol: It notes that this weapon can be used two-handed like a submachine gun, but that manly Arkhons only fire it one-handed. Good to know. Average damage with the usual Arkhon Tri-Beam caveats.
  • TB-Prime Tri-Beam Energy Rifle: Average rifle with a grenade launcher. Grenades are weaksauce like they bizarrely are in Rifts, but the average damage means the Tri-Beam is really good in its element.
  • M-100 Tri-Beam Crew Served Gun: Wait, what does the "M" stand for? So, this is their rail-gun equivalent, and usually has one bearer and another Arkhon lugging ammo. Because this is a Tri-Beam, it's towards the top end of person-portable weapons in its element.
  • BM-2 Backpack Mortar System: So, this is a computerized mortar you wear like a backpack, and then verbally activate. They're actually pretty low-damage, but you can fire bursts of them for decent damage. Of course, it seems a little problematic to have a mortar firing bursts right next to your ear, but Rifts runs on action figure logic for the most part.
  • BRL-3 Backpack Rocket Launcher: Speaking of self-inflicted concussions, this fires rockets, once again, with the barrel resting inches from the firers' head. There are a lot of about how it can fire its rockets in guided or unguided (guided lets you fire over the horizon, unguided lets you hit better). It does pretty good damage, but since it can't fire volleys, it actually does functionally less than the mortar.
  • Tri-Blade Energy Sword: It lies, it's really just one blade made from three wires that energize and form a blade that has the Tri-Beam effect, but is pretty average for a melee weapon in Rifts (read: bad).
  • FR-5 Fletchette Rifle: This basically fires fletchettes in shells like a gauss shotgun. But its slow rate of fire means it kinda sucks.
  • FRA-1 Fletchette Auto-cannon: This is the railgun equivalent of the above, and it actually does boss damage (approaching the boom gun), but requires high strength to use.

Practical.

It's kind of interesting to see Carella try and justify another gun set by making it at least have new mechanics and some interesting interplay where it's going to be weaker against their magical foes and make the Incans rely on magic more than technology for their defense. It's something we'll see onward in the book, where he has different kinds of technology for different cultures which have different mechanics. It's not a huge game-changer, but it's at least a modest justification to have detailed weapon sections like these... as opposed to the rather interchangeable weapon statistics we've seen previously across a lot of the game line.

Next: The aliens' side of the toy line.

Kurieg
Jul 19, 2012

RIP Lutri: 5/19/20-4/2/20






"Khajit has Tinnitus if you have mortars."
"What?"
"WHAT!?"

Fossilized Rappy
Dec 26, 2012


Halloween Jack posted:

Setting-wise, I think it's not quite on the money to say it's a setting where every conspiracy theory is true--at least, it's not balls-out wacky like GURPS Illuminati or something like that. The blend of aliens and occultism is well put together.
Yeah, that was perhaps a bit hyperbolic on my part, but I was having a hard time figuring out a good phrase of conveyance for the breadth of weird things happening. In hindsight, "distinctly Fortean" probably would have been good.

EDIT: You know what, I'll edit that in for the benefit of future archiving.

Fossilized Rappy fucked around with this message at 17:34 on Mar 2, 2017

Midjack
Dec 24, 2007





Alien Rope Burn posted:



Rifts World Book Nine: South America 2: Part 8
guided lets you fire over the horizon, unguided lets you hit better

what

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


When you roll to hit with a guided attack, you get a range of 5 miles, but you get a flat +3 to hit since that's the computer's to-hit bonus. Aimed is line of sight, so you can take aimed shots at +3 plus whatever you get from weapon proficiencies or the like.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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#1 Builder
2014-2018



'Guided' and 'unguided' are bad terms here but I understand it. 'Guided' means 'indirect fire' and unguided means 'direct fire.'

Humbug Scoolbus
Apr 25, 2008

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


Clapping Larry

Halloween Jack posted:

Main problems I've noticed with ConX are:

1. This game seems to want you to take purely fluffy Drawbacks like "Class Clown" or whatever in order to get the points you need for your Career-related stuff.

2. Way, way, way too many skills. I've noticed in LPs that people rarely take the academic skills they ought to have except out of obligation, because when are you going to get to use Science (Botany) unless the GM is going out of his way to be nice? It's very much a throwback to games I played in the 90s in that regard.

3. Martial Arts is basically a solved problem.

Setting-wise, I think it's not quite on the money to say it's a setting where every conspiracy theory is true--at least, it's not balls-out wacky like GURPS Illuminati or something like that. The blend of aliens and occultism is well put together.

1)Give everybody 10 points to go nuts with or five or none.
2)Use the cinematic version of Unisystem which reduces and speeds up everything.

That will fix a lot.

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

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




I must say that Unisystem still has the best martial arts subsystem I've seen (for a game that isn't all about fist-fighting) and it really just needs some balance tweaks.

OutOfPrint
Apr 9, 2009



Fun Shoe

I ran a short lived game of ConX2.0 once, and the review hasn't hit the part that took the most time. The biggest problem we had with it was that it took a full session to get the cell and everyone's characters made.

That said, seeing a group of people who've played D&D almost exclusively up to that point work out the math on a Unisystem head shot and realize "Oh poo poo he killed this Black Book agent in one hit we need to be careful around guns" was pretty neat.

It's still my favorite modern conspiracy setting. I won't go into any detail since the review isn't there yet, but I love the way the occult is described and how it meshes with the aliens' various shticks.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


OutOfPrint posted:

I ran a short lived game of ConX2.0 once, and the review hasn't hit the part that took the most time. The biggest problem we had with it was that it took a full session to get the cell and everyone's characters made.

That said, seeing a group of people who've played D&D almost exclusively up to that point work out the math on a Unisystem head shot and realize "Oh poo poo he killed this Black Book agent in one hit we need to be careful around guns" was pretty neat.

It's still my favorite modern conspiracy setting. I won't go into any detail since the review isn't there yet, but I love the way the occult is described and how it meshes with the aliens' various shticks.

Unisystem's guns are loving MEAN. There's a reason everything in the book in AFMBE says 'if there is a gunfight make goddamn well you shoot first'.

It is not a system where you can take hits from a machete or pistol. During a followup to the victorian zombie game I ran with it, players were investigating political radicals who had gotten ahold of the zombie contagion and other dread occult magic. The gunfights with terrorists were more dangerous than any of their encounters with monsters. Taking an old-timey .303 round to the chest was almost a guaranteed dirt nap.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!




Rifts World Book Nine: South America 2: Part 9: "Captured Wasp pilots are usually called 'baby killers' and summarily executed."

Robots & Power Armor

First off, there's the everyday Arkhon Body Armor, which is on the level of Triax body armor, but is made out of cerasteel which has some issues. No art for it, surprisingly. Humans can wear it but then they have exposed areas that can be shot. It notes that humans that capture the armor tend to repaint it from red to keep from looking like alien invaders... which I guess works until the Arkhon get around to painting their own suits. Movin' on.


"How do we get our troops to pilot this poo poo?" "Just add spikes 'til they think it's badass."

Stormwind Assault Exoskeleton

So, it says one-third of all Arkhon soldiers are equipped with these. It's a light suit of flying power armor that:

Rifts World Book Nine: South America 2 posted:

Although it's it is less well armored than most suits of power armor, and does not have the enhanced speed and reaction times that most power armor systems have, (no Power Armor Combat bonuses apply), the Stormwind is still a near-match to most light and medium suits.

No it's not, for all the reasons stated in the run-on sentence above. A SAMAS will gently caress this thing's poo poo up. It can't even do M.D.C. damage with its punches. All it has is a integrated TB-3 and grants flight, which while not bad, puts it in the utter bottom tier of power armors. It does use an antigravity system than human nations are trying to crack (they've captured suits, but haven't puzzled out the technology yet), which means despite its modest flight speed off 200 MPH, it can fly into orbit.

And then get disintegrated by the nearest killer satellite that gets a whiff of it, since it can't dodge for poo poo, but it's kind of interesting that Carella would basically design this as a mook-plus suit, in defiance of the usual Rifts design philosophy of all mecha being bullet sponges.


When you pilot your alien death machine just right-

Ghost Wasp Aerial Power Armor

This is a far more robust suit, the equivalent of the Coalition's SAMAS, only with a passive clocking field that lets it turn invisible to sight and radar when it isn't actively fighting. They've been used in terrorism acts against the Incas, targeting civilian populations; as a result, any Arkhon Ghost Wasp pilot who gets captured can expect to get executed in short order as a "baby killer".

They get one of the FRA-1 Fletchette Guns, which-

Rifts World Book Nine: South America 2 posted:

When sent out on terror missions, the pilots "hose" an area with flechettes; the result is like hard rain on soft sand - except the "sand" in question includes concrete sidewalks, buildings, and unarmed civilians.



Arkhon military strategy, folks. It also gets a "Tri-Beam Stinger" that actually rivals a boom gun when a force field isn't in the way, mini-missile launchers that can fire 16 (!) missiles at a time, or instead of mini-missiles, it can have a long-range missile launchers (which doesn't make any sense, a power armor probably can't fit ballistic missiles). And it has a stealth system that gives a -50% (!) to detect skills trying to notice it. It's basically one big PC-murdering alpha strike waiting to happen; a squadron could easily do nearly 5000-9000 damage with an opening missile strike and murder a lot of low-to-mid rank gods if they don't have the sense to teleport away. Missile barrages are basically Rifts breaking point, and there's no reason for baby-murdering NPC villains to hold back other than the kindness of the GM's heart.


"Why does a death machine need a belt?" "For the fanny pack! Obviously."

Death Cyclops Assault Suit

This is their tanky power armor, and those spikes it has have "vibro-fields" to do damage close up. Since they have more armor than the Incas do, they tend to use waves of numbers with these things to wear their foes down, along with distance barrages of missiles.

While it's tough for a suit of power armor, it's no glitter boy. It can use either a flechette rifle or a tri-beam rifle, but the flechette gun has better range and damage, so it's the superior choice. It has "torso tri-beams" that are underwhelming, and can do missile barrages like the Ghost Wasp. It can replace the mini-missiles with:
  • An anti-air package with a dinky flak cannon and medium-range missiles.
  • An anti-air package with a long-range radar array and long-range missiles.
  • A mortar package that's essentially just like the person-portable mortar. Used for killing civvies! Whee!
It's a pretty potent suit. While it's not top-of-the-line, considering it's described being fielded in units of 3-5, it could wreck PC's business really well.


Stilt-Man got real weird.

Great Cyclops Assault Robot

This is the upsized robot from the cover, and unlike a lot of robot vehicles, it works basically like a large power armor with only one pilot. Let's see... it's pretty drat tough, easily in the upper tier of villain suits. It can fly through anti-gravity, can do some pretty massive damage with palm tri-beam blaster, five fuckin' medium-range missile launchers that'll easily dish out around 1000 mega-damage with a full barrage, fletchette, tri-beam guns in the lower torso serving as the obligatory poo poo weapon, mini-missiles in case you need a second barrage of about 500 mega-damage, and... smoke dispensers and a searchlight. Except it can see in the dark multiple different ways, what the gently caress does it need a searchlight for? Drama, I guess.

Other Vehicles

Yep, more.


Just throw spikes on it until it looks evil enough.

"Porcupine" T-10 Assault Tank

Sure, let's just start naming poo poo after Earth animals, why not? That was a cool idea of naming them after alien species, but gently caress it. So it's called the "Porcupine" because it has a lot of guns, how clever. It's a hover tank that mainly only sees use in open battle, since it's not really effective in the mountainous guerrilla actions that make up a lot of the Inca-Archon conflict.

It's pretty drat touch, has double cannons that are just... actual cannons... that do high damage, a dinky fletchette gun in the cupola, mini-turrets that fire tri-beams or fletchettes respectively for passable damage, and mini-missiles, because why the gently caress not? I suspect mini-missiles are like the breath mints at the end of every mecha dinner in Rifts.


"It's safe to poke my unarmored head out, right?"

"Evil Eye" APC

It's a hovering troop transport called the "Evil Eye" because the eye portion is now an energy weapon! How clever. It has about average M.D.C. for a vehicle of its size, an average tri-beam, mini-missiles, and... a radiation gun that penetrates normal body armor by heating it up, and even can effect power armor about 30% of the time, which seems like a good way of cooking glitter boy pilots. Wait, why don't all if their vehicles field this poo poo? The Incas field glitter boys, so it'd definitely be worth their while. I guess it's still a little too dodgy to be effective, but still, put a bigger version of this on a tank and make boom gun bbq.


Some artist learned a few things from the Invid designs.

Spikefish

So, this is an "ugly vessel", but I dunno, I think it looks fine. It's their all-purpose air/space fighter, and it conveniently makes a howling sound when it dive-bombs despite having an anti-gravity system. In any case, it's a bit fragile, has tri-beam cannons, medium-range missile barrages, and can zoom around at MACH 2, or MACH 8 in space. Though it isn't very tough, it probably has some of the heaviest firepower we've seen on a high-speed fighter.

Aliens vs. Incas

So, just as a last word before we move on to the other sections of the book: we have these two factions at war and it's hinted that the Incas are winning, but stat-wise I just don't see why. The idea, I think, is that the Incas have force fields and that counteracts the Arkhon advantage with their tri-beams, but the fact is that the Incas don't actually field many units with force fields (the elite Inca warriors, the techno-magic armor, and the energy line animals, but that's about it). In addition, the Arkhon can just missile barrage any unit with a force field well past oblivion. The only way I can see the Inca actually standing a chance stat-wise is through magical shenanigans, but that's not enough for a stand-up war. The only real explanation why the Arkhon haven't completely just rolled over them is a fear of the Inca's heavy hitters, but outside of the Inca capital, the Incan gods are actually fairly vulnerable to a combined Arkhon attack. It just doesn't seem thought out very well - I suppose the Incas have a numerical advantage of about 2 to 1, but that wouldn't be enough to make up for the face that Arkhon forces hit harder, generally take more damage, and have things like high-speed flight or cloaking devices the Incas just don't. Of course, Pachamama could just summon a ridiculous amount of earth elementals with thousands of M.D.C. apiece and just knock over the mountains the arkhons live on, too.

I actually pretty well like the ideas in play here, magic Incas vs. alien invaders is pretty rad, I just wish the numbers bore out. Oh, and this is about the midpoint of the book: the Incas are about a full third of the book, while the Arkhon get about a sixth. Now we start getting weirder. Yes, odder than Aliens vs. Incas.

Also, this has the last new designs we'll see from Kevin Long before he leaves the game line. He'll have a few pieces in the next book, but it'll clearly be old repurposed art that probably wasn't intended to see print...

Next: Militaires Sans Frontières.

Alien Rope Burn fucked around with this message at 15:52 on Mar 3, 2017

Xotl
May 28, 2001

Be seeing you.

Was it ever revealed why Long left? I mean, he was pretty much the look of Palladium for years, and then suddenly he's out of there.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



People seem to leave Palladium suddenly and without explanation a lot.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


Mors Rattus posted:

People seem to leave Palladium suddenly and without explanation a lot.

Considering what we know of Siembieda, I doubt we need any other explanation.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


Kevin Long's departure is something of an unsolved mystery given he's never talked about it. Palladium (specifically Maryann Siembieda) initially said that he had been "fired for business reasons", but Erick Wujick later claimed his separation was voluntary. As such, Palladium has never provided a clear picture of what happened. There are rumors that Long wasn't satisfied with things like Palladium reproducing his art multiple times (without him getting anything extra for it), modification to his art (there's literally a piece in Juicer Uprising where Siembieda clearly just modified the head / hairstyle), or publishing things like his production / model artwork without his permission (stuff like the Coalition designs actually had model sheets that weren't publicly seen for the most part). Given the amount of work he put in for Palladium, it doesn't seem unlikely things like that would lead to friction. Siembieda claims both he and Long at times put in 16-20 hour days in the initial creation of Rifts, and Triax & the NGR stands as a testament of how ridiculously hard he worked for them (regardless of what you think of the associated swipe file).

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!




Rifts World Book Nine: South America 2: Part 9: "Who would have thought that the Turks would become the next 'evil Empire?'"

No art on these pages, only . Well okay, there is this one piece of art:


I have no idea why they decided to copy a slice of RK Post's ninja art in this section.

The Megaversal Legion

An Independent Mercenary Force

So, it turns out the Legion is an advanced mercenary army set up in the mountains of Bolivia made up of two main groups: the Ojahee, giant alien not-Klingons, and former U.S. soldiers from another Earth. Apparently, they were formerly a slave army that overthrew their masters, but we don't get more on that yet. They're similar to Metal Gear's Diamond Dogs or Militaires Sans Frontières, only they predate those particular games by well over a decade.

In the Beginning...
Ohajee Jungles, M'korro, Year of the Black Dragon:

So we get a lot of about a Warlord Okarr of the Ojahee fighting some race called the Talians, who will not be important. The Ojahee are clearly presented as imperialists with superior technology while the Talians are clearly indigenous "savages", when mysterious spaceships show up and demand an Ojahee surrender, proceeding to laser the Talians to death as a show of force. (It's worth noting the distinctions here are national, not racial, in a turn of nuance.) The Ojahee, awed, surrender on the spot to the invading spaceships.

Iraqi, Desert Earth
(one of many Earths?), 2004 A.D.:

Next we move to a future, possibly alternate Earth (considering this book dates to '95) to a group of U.S. army troops led by Colonel Arthur Savage leading a push into Turkey. Apparently, they're actually having a tough time due to the fact apparently America's cut its military budget (this really must be an alternate Earth) and so Turkey is actually on par with them. Still, they have air superiority, despite the reports of UFO sightings which no doubt is just silly superstition, then there's a bright abduction light. They wake up and have a bunch of cybernetics grafted to them, and they're freaking out in body horror for a moment, but an alien voice announces that they've been "improved" as servants. Colonel Savage silently vows revenge against their captors, like you do.

Many Years Later

We catch up with Savage and Okarr having won a battle against the Brodkil, the generic demonic adversaries of Rifts Sourcebook and Rifts Sourcebook Three: Mindwerks. Interestingly, there's a throwaway line about the Brodkil being "a plague on a thousand worlds" that will no doubt be forgotten, even though it's probably the most interesting facet ever given to the Brodkil. Raises lots of questions about the guys. In any case, it notes they won through tactics rather than force, having been badly outnumbered, and that they're working for some mysterious race called the Dakir. Okarr then tells Savage offhandedly that hey, the microphones and bombs the Dakir have planted into their head no longer work, thanks to the efforts of some scientists they liberated from the Brodkil. The two agree that hey, it's time to revolt against the Dakir. And they do.

The Dakir Race

The Darir race are a mystery race known around the Megaverse as the foremost weapons engineers, trumping even the Naruni, but for some reason they never sell their weapons. Instead, they outfit slave armies and rent those out, instead. Which turns out to be something of a bad idea, because slave soldiers don't make the finest fighting forces. Why they do so is a mystery, but it's said that they might be dedicated to some deity or supernatural intelligence of war, or that they might just be culturally paranoid.

History

The Megaversal Legion was the Dakir's cross-dimensional slave army provided though Dakir Military Services (I have to wonder, would there ever be a company called "Human Military Services?") for the past millennium. The first iteration of them was able to fight off a Splugorth / Kittani invasion, and though they suffered massive casualities and a partial rout, they fought the Splugorth forces off. That was enough for them to build a rep, but the Megaversal Legion has always suffered morale issues. To try and alleviate that, they try and diversify their forces with small groups from different races to make group revolts less likely. The Ojahee and captured humans, however, were able to ally and formed the most effective force the Dakir had. They even fought a holding action to help evacuate a world from a Mechanoid invasion (see Rifts Sourcebook 2: Those Darn Mechanoids) with a kill ratio of 30:1. The Dakir eventually relocated them to Rifts Earth, hoping to use it as a staging ground.

The Mutiny (68 P.A.)

So, as mentioned in the fiction, the Megaversal Legion was able to disable their loyalty implants through the help of scientists who had previously been enslaved by a the Brodkil. The scientists were remembers of the "Men-Rall" race, who have a natural ability to manipulate technology, and sought to help the Legion overcome their own role as slaves. The grand majority of the Legion joined in on the assault; most of the loyal Legion members weren't veterans like the humans or Ojahee and were slaughtered. It was only the Dakir themselves that were a threat, as they had devastating personal weapons systems, but the Legion was able to overcome them through superior tactics. However, despite the fact they had won the day and seized the Dakir's dimensional portals, none of those portals went home. As a result, most of the Legion opted to stay together and remain a mercenary organization. And they've stayed that way for the past four decades, led by General Savage. However, they haven't taken up much work on Earth itself, instead generally fighting in conflicts across the Megaverse.

Seriously, I don't think that's been pointed out, but that's what Rifts calls its setting. The Megaverse.

Government & Society

It notes that the Megaversal Legion is now practically a small country with a notable civilian population of retired soliders, families, and support staff, and as a result they've developed their own government of the "Joint Chiefs of the Staff" led by the Commander-in-Chief-Megaversal Legion (they have a lot of CINCs I won't bore you with) General Savage. Civilian communities are led by a mayor that has no authority over military affairs, nor does the military over civilian affairs, though there is a CINC-Civilian Affairs that gives the mayors a voice on the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Military service is volunteer-only but quite popular, partially due to a snowballing pension that builds with longer periods of service. Most new soldiers come from the families of soldiers or the civilian population, but they also recruit from worlds the Legion serves upon. Bionic reconstruction is optional for soldiers, but the majority opt to take it because, hey, free Robocop duds. Their communities on Earth are very well defended and are largely peaceful on their own. As mentioned, their mercenary work is contracted off-world, though they tend to have a heart of gold. As such, they won't slaughter civilian populations, but they certainly like being contracted against forces that do.

Foreign Relations

The Empire of the Sun and the Legion had conflict back from when they were run by the Dakir, who sent the local ex-Bolivians fleeing and attacked a number of Incan cities. Though the Legion sought peace from the Incas after their revolution, that's pretty much all they got, and then only due to the Arkhon being a common threat.

Rifts World Book Nine: South America 2 posted:

The Legion does not trust the "gods" that are said to rule the Empire, and the Incas' followers still have bad memories of American intervention, and see the human legionnaires as "gringos" not to be considered friends.

Wait, what? We've had over a century and at least one apocalypse since those times. I'm surprised the Incas remember what America was, though I guess they didn't necessarily lose their textbooks. It still seems a little incongruous, though.

The Arkhons have fought the Legion and lost over and over, and so turned to trying to hire the Legion, who told them to gently caress right off. They've generally stopped trying to push that front at this point. The nation of Cordoba from the Silver River Republics has attacked the Legion, seeing them as alien invaders, also to be chumped. The Achilles Republic has a sort of loose alliance with the Legion, and has hired it to train its units. New Babylon has hired them as mercenaries, but is frustrated that the Legion refuses to share its weapon technology. The Legion has heard of the New Navy and a small group has gone to try and seek them out as fellow Amurricans. And they've heard about the Coalition, but have come to the rather correct conclusion that they're a bunch of racist facists who aren't worth their time.

Megaversal Troops

... are divided into six armies, at least one or two of which are stationed locally for defense, while at least two of them are off-world at any given time, which are divided into divisions. We get a lot of numbers, but the net effect is that they're a smaller force than Arkhons (and the Arkhons are a smaller force than the Inca).

Fort Desperado

This is their main military base and city, and it's here that they produce the majority of their weapons. It's surrounded by bunkers and anti-aircraft weaponry, and is surrounded by more vulnerable farms and neighborhoods, but nobody's seriously attacked in the last few years. They also have access to the "Dimensional Dome" which contains the "DGS" (Dakir's Dimensional Gate System, no, the abbreviation doesn't match) which looks like a giant cannon that can transport up to a football field-sized area across dimensions without using rifts. (How they get back isn't clear.) It also has a transdimensional communication network they use to keep in touch with their forces far afield on other worlds.

Peace City (La Paz)

I remember that teenager who can't shut up about nature and how peaceful Bolivia is and then turns out to be this extremely problematic charac-? No? Oh, this is a Bolivian city instead. To be fair, they probably can't shut up about how peaceful they are, either. It was once just a mining town, but has expanded into industry (mostly civilian) and entertainment. It has an area called "The Strip" which has all sort of restaurants, clubs, casinos, and "pleasure houses" which is to say we're talking about prostitution. Local security is handled by the Legion.

The Dakir Slavers

... are still around somewhere. It notes that no member of the Legion actually saw a Dakir, since they generally communicated remotely, and the few times they were actually seen they wore robes and cloaks and had obscuring force fields (shades of Babylon 5's vorlons, given that had started airing about the time this would have been written). Apparently they saved all the best guns for themselves, since though we don't get a statblock, they dealt about 100 M.D.C. per shot with their energy blasts and took 1000 M.D.C. before detonating. Though the Legion has been trying to find out more about them, they've mostly come up short. There are rumors that the Dakir are run by a renegade Splugorth or Naruni, that they're somehow connected to the Gene-Splicers, or that they're at war with some beings called the "Techno-Gods". The Techno-Gods rumor seems the most likely one, given "Techno-Gods" is printed in bold text, a clear giveaway. But as far as I know that thread is never followed up on by later authors, like much of what Carella writes. I generally presume they're just an interdimensional version of Kraftwerk.

Next: The 7th Robocop Cavalry.

Alien Rope Burn fucked around with this message at 20:44 on Mar 4, 2017

Humbug Scoolbus
Apr 25, 2008

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


Clapping Larry

The Ojahee/Human Alliance backstory may have been ripped off from David Drake's Ranks of Bronze or Jerry Pournelle's Janissaries series but it is one of the most interesting things to come out of Rifts and could have been the basis for a really cool game....except Rifts gets in the way. gently caress you Siembada.

occamsnailfile
Nov 4, 2007



zamtrios so lonely

Grimey Drawer

Alien Rope Burn posted:


Wait, what? We've had over a century and at least one apocalypse since those times. I'm surprised the Incas remember what America was, though I guess they didn't necessarily lose their textbooks. It still seems a little incongruous, though.


The Incas' population includes a lot of post-Rifts survivors who had been native to the region doesn't it? They would remember, though that seems like a simplistic rendering of NA/SA relations, particularly in a world that long ago lost its old national boundaries. Then again, wasn't the Time of Rifts started by some kind of brushfire war the US was involved in down in Brazil or something? Mostly though, that reads like another one of Siembieda's arbitrary 'good guys don't like each other because I said so' moments.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


Humbug Scoolbus posted:

The Ojahee/Human Alliance backstory may have been ripped off from David Drake's Ranks of Bronze or Jerry Pournelle's Janissaries series but it is one of the most interesting things to come out of Rifts and could have been the basis for a really cool game....except Rifts gets in the way. gently caress you Siembada.

Carella was most likely a David Drake fan (there's a company in Rifts Mercenaries that's clearly inspired by Hammer's Slammers) so that seems likely. It's seems like a ready-made group to have a bunch of PCs going around and having merc adventures in other dimensions.

occamsnailfile posted:

The Incas' population includes a lot of post-Rifts survivors who had been native to the region doesn't it? They would remember, though that seems like a simplistic rendering of NA/SA relations, particularly in a world that long ago lost its old national boundaries.

This is true but it's been roughly three hundred years with essentially no contact. I suppose it could be one of those things where they pass down legends of the guys with the red, white, and blue that destroyed the world as a blame target but that's a lot of staying power.

Midjack
Dec 24, 2007





Alien Rope Burn posted:



Rifts World Book Nine: South America 2: Part 9: "Who would have thought that the Turks would become the next 'evil Empire?'"


Peace City (La Paz)

I remember that teenager who can't shut up about nature and how peaceful Bolivia is and then turns out to be this extremely problematic charac-? No? Oh, this a Bolivian city instead.

Ahahahhaah

Young Freud
Nov 25, 2006



Alien Rope Burn posted:

Carella was most likely a David Drake fan (there's a company in Rifts Mercenaries that's clearly inspired by Hammer's Slammers) so that seems likely. It's seems like a ready-made group to have a bunch of PCs going around and having merc adventures in other dimensions.


This is true but it's been roughly three hundred years with essentially no contact. I suppose it could be one of those things where they pass down legends of the guys with the red, white, and blue that destroyed the world as a blame target but that's a lot of staying power.

I forget that the whole Rifts started by not-Columbia invading not-Venezuela with US-loaned Glitter Boys, which responded with not-Venezuela using nuclear weapons.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


Young Freud posted:

I forget that the whole Rifts started by not-Columbia invading not-Venezuela with US-loaned Glitter Boys, which responded with not-Venezuela using nuclear weapons.

Yeah. I mean, presumably it was just the Archduke Franz Ferdinand spark of the wars that would cause the actual cataclysm, given that there was at least several years between when that happened and when the world ended, but given how little detail we have on those the Columbia / Venezuela thing is relatively important. Granted, I don't know how much Chaos Earth has revised that, if at all.

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

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






Godlike, Chapter V, Part VIII

The last update concluded with the collapse of Operation Market Garden, one of the greatest Allied defeats of the war. The Talents Cien and Daegal were killed in the fighting.

Der Flieger, the world’s first Talent, died earlier that year, killed by anti-aircraft fire while dropping propaganda leaflets over London.


10/1/1944, the Battle of Aachen: As the Allies encroached on Germany, the commander at Aachen defied orders and withdrew east. However, the Allies were unaware, giving the Germans time to heavily reinforce the city. Aachen became one of the largest and bloodiest urban battles of the war...and the first German city captured by the Allies when Nazi forces finally surrendered on the 21st. Though most civilians were evacuated, the city was so damaged that a general being driven into the city asked “When do we get to Aachen?” “This is Aachen,” replied the driver.

10/10/1944, Stasio Dies: The Yugoslavian Talent Stasio was killed in a BSOE commando assault on a German gun emplacement near Banja Luka. Struck in the head by machinegun fire, he died two days later.

10/14/1944, Rommel Dies: Implicated in the July 20 bomb plot, Generalfeldmarschall Erwin Rommel was recalled to Berlin and given a choice: execution in disgrace, or suicide and a state funeral. He opted for suicide to spare his family and staff from retribution. The official story, widely doubted, was that he died of complications from the injuries he suffered when his car was strafed months earlier.

10/14/1944, Allies Occupy Athens: After the Axis fled, British and Greek forces occupied Athens to prevent the Red army from moving in. Tensions between Greek communist partisans and the British fostered civil unrest.

10/18/1944, Soviets Invade Czechoslovakia: The Soviets moved through newly Allied Romania to attack Axis forces in Czechoslovakia. They received heavy support from various Czech partisan groups. Pevnost led a large contingent of men loyal to the Czech government exile, hoping to prevent the country from being absorbed by the Soviet Union.

10/20/1944, Soviets Take Belgrade: Soviet forces and Josip Broz Tito’s guerrillas seized the Yugoslavian capital of Belgrade. With the Axis forced into the mountains, Tito began consolidating power and presenting himself in propaganda as the new leader of Yugoslavia.

10/23/1944, De Gaulle Recognized: The Allies formally recognized General Charles de Gaulle’s provisional government. The general led a victory parade up the Champ d’Elysees, flanked by his Talent bodyguards Le Teinte (“The Shade”) and Le Mur (“The Wall”).

10/23/1944, the Battle of Leyte Gulf: Though it’s arguably the biggest naval battle in history, Leyte Gulf doesn’t get as much space as, say, D-Day. I’ll just present it as it is in the book and let Cythereal go hog wild on it . The only thing I’ll add is that both the Japanese and U.S. forces consisted of huge combined fleets with no overall commander, leading to blunders on both sides due to poor communication.

Having declared “I shall return” when he abandoned the Philippines, Gen. MacArthur was quite eager to retake the islands. Lt. General Krueger’s soldiers landed on Leyte, a small Philippine island southwest of Luzon. Japanese forces withdrew to inland defenses, having already prepared for an invasion of the Philippines.

The Japanese plan, called Sho-1, involved a huge fleet divided into 4 groups. You may have noticed by now that the Japanese only had one naval strategy: draw the Americans into a huge pitched battle and crush them. This always got blown to hell by superior Allied recon and intelligence. This time, they had a more clever plan: divide the Americans, then destroy their landing craft. This also got blown to hell by superior Allied recon and intelligence.

Sho-1 quickly went wrong when American submarines spotted 2 Japanese cruisers and sunk them, alerting Admiral Halsey to the Japanese presence. The next day, American carriers damaged two Japanese battleships, but did not detect others in the area. Halsey’s 3rd Fleet moved north, chasing them, and eventually sank the Musashi with 2,339 men aboard.

Nonetheless, the Japanese believed their plan to draw U.S. forces away from Leyte had worked, and they sent Force C through the Surigao Strait to attack the landing craft. The entire American 7th Fleet was waiting for them, and as they came through the strait, they were crippled by what was the last naval broadside in the history of warfare.

The next day, the 7th Fleet detected the fourth Japanese fleet near Cape Engano, and carrier aircraft sank three carriers and a destroyer as the Japanese fled. However, by this time the 1st Japanese Diversion Force reached the American landing force at Leyte. The American ships retreated, protected by a screen of destroyers that suffered huge losses. Vice-Admiral Kurita wisely backed off before Halsey’s fleet could return and trap them.

The Japanese Talent Hoshi (“Star”) debuted in the attack on the landing force in what was the first organized kamikaze (“divine wind”) attack of the war. His 24-Zero squadron attacked American escort carriers, inflicting heavy damage and sinking the St. Lô with 100 men aboard. Hoshi’s defensive teleportation power returned him to the 201st Air Group on Leyte, and he led two more waves of kamikaze attacks.

Despite the damage to the American landing craft, Leyte Gulf was the final blow to the Japanese war machine, destroying 4 carriers, 10 cruisers, 11 destroyers, 3 battleships, and over 500 aircraft. By the end of the battle, the U.S. had more ships than the Japanese had airplanes.

11/8/1944, Canada Conquers Belgium: The last Axis forces in Belgium surrendered to the Canadian 1st Army. Sixty-five Übermenschen had died in the last weeks of fighting, and 12 more surrendered along with 41,000 regular troops. Vevel and his communist partisans reported to the 3rd Canadian and offered to join the Allies, but Eisenhower refused.

11/9/1944, Patton Advances: General Patton’s 3rd Army crossed the Moselle river with over 500 tanks and 500,000 men, after the “Good Time Boys” Talent commando force eliminated German defenses. “Waiting is what loses wars,” he told a Stars and Stripes reporter, after squeezing his forces across the 2 intact bridges in record time. He was only forced to delay his advance due to Überkommando attacks on the front of his southernmost forces.

11/12/1944, Sinking of the Tirpitz: The British Command stepped up attacks on the German battleship Tirpitz, which had been damaged by their submarines. It took seven bombing runs, the last made with 2.5 ton “Tall Boy” bombs, to sink the ship. It sank with over 1,000 men aboard.

12/3/1944, Crossing the Siegfried Line: U.S. Forces finally penetrated the Siegfried Line near Saarlautern, opening the way into Germany.

12/4/1944, Beginning of the End in Burma: The British 14th Army attacked Japanese airfields, rail lines, and supply routes with help from the Chindits and Kachin. The remains of the Japanese 15th Army retreated to the jungle, prepared to fight to the last man.

12/9/1944, Blitzen: Werner von Braun, the mind behind the V-2 missile, played on Hitler’s love of grandstanding by proposing a plan that was a “first in the history of man which could never be undone.” With Hitler’s permission he constructed the Blitzen (“Lightning”), a 2-ton satellite that could be launched into space by Der Tragheit’s powers.

The Blitzen was indeed the first man-made object to reach outer space, which Der Tragheit launched from Peenemünde on December 9th. Its radio transmitter “beeped” for 12 hours before disappearing. When Allied scientists confirmed it, the world was shocked. As the Germans did not say anything about how they launched the satellite, Allied command feared that a “Super V-2” was in the works.

12/16/1944, the Battle of the Bulge: Hitler’s last major offensive was a surprise attack aimed at the inexperienced U.S. VII Corps in the Ardennes Forest. Generalfeldmarschall von Runstedt commanded the 6th SS and 5th Panzer Armies, 7th Army, and Überkommandogruppe SS Heinrich Himmler, a massive force of 205,000 men.
Hitler believed that he could split British and American forces with a drive toward Antwerp, breaking the will of the Allied forces by inflicting heavy losses. The Ardennes was considered a quiet front, and poor weather prevented aircraft and Talent flyers from detecting the buildup in the Schnee Eifel region.

Überkommandogruppe SS Heinrich Himmler achieved near-total surprise when they broke through the line at St. Vith and decimated the U.S. VII Corps. The 6th Panzer Army followed through the gap and headed for Antwerp; the rest of the German force tore through American positions on their way west. American forces held on despite heavy losses; the VII Corps lost 15,000 of its 22,000 men, and the Germans overran the 106th and 28th American Infantry.

Generalmajor Skorzeny launched Operation Greif (“Access”) in which German commandos dressed in American uniforms disrupted American communications by cutting phone lines and giving false orders.

12/20/1944, Jumping Johnny Dies: While using his power to scout behind enemy lines, the British Talent Jumping Johnny was killed in a freak accident. While his power protected him from the incredible impact of his miles-long leaps, it did not protect him from any resulting effects. He was instantly killed when he landed in an SS ammunition dump, igniting an incredible blast that could be heard for miles away.



12/22/1944, the Twilight of the Gods: General Eisenhower saw a weakness in Hitler’s plan to use the fearsome Überkommandogruppe SS Heinrich Himmler to clear a path for regular forces. If the Überkommandogruppe could be cut off from the army that followed it, the push would stall. Eisenhower had over 20,000 Talents under his command, and was able to assemble 3,571 British, American, French, and Polish Talents at Spa on December 21st, under the command of Lt. General Hodges.

At dawn the next day, the First Talent Army fought the Überkommandogruppe SS Heinrich Himmler near Spa, while U.S. forces cut them off from the German LXVI Corps. The overconfident Nazis chose to fight a Talent battle instead of falling back to their own lines.

The battle lasted for days, leveling Spa and the surrounding area in the world’s first clash of Talent armies. The Allied TOGs were trained to fight in small teams, which turned out to be a huge advantage in urban combat. They were also taught to use their powers to support conventional weapons and tactics, while the Übermenschen relied on large formations with heavy Talent firepower.

Überkommandos made 9 seprate attacks on Lt. General Hodges at his headquarters. At one point, an SS teleporter appeared while Hodges was on the radio with Eisenhower’s command. “Wait,” he muttered, and after calmly shooting the Nazi in the head, he continued “Go ahead.”

On the 26th, Allied Talents backed off while air and artillery crushed the remains of the Überkommandogruppe. Two days later, the last of them surrendered. In 6 days 2,592 German Talents and 1,554 Allied Talents had died. The press called it “The Twilight of the Gods.”

12/22/1944, Nuts!: On the 22nd, the 101st Airborne and other survivors were surrounded in the French town of Bastogne. When the Germans offered Brigadier General McAullife the chance to surrender, his reply was one word: “Nuts!” The Americans fought on despite lacking food, supplies, and ammo. On Christmas day, the Good Time Boys arrived ahead of the 3rd Army, forcing the Germans to withdraw the next day. “It was the best Christmas gift I ever got,” quipped McAullife.

The same day, the German offensive ground to a halt when the 1st and 3rd American Armies swept down from Belgium. By mid-January, the 5th Panzer Army was trapped. Despite achieving a surprise attack and inflicting heavy losses, the Germans had themselves lost 125,000 troops, hundreds of vehicles, and thousands of Talents, none of which they could afford to replace. Hitler’s cause was lost in both the west and the east.


Next time on Godlike: Fire and blood across the Pacific and the Rhine.

Halloween Jack fucked around with this message at 17:34 on Mar 5, 2017

Loxbourne
Apr 6, 2011

Tomorrow, doom!
But now, tea.

Talents from both sides dying in banal ways is something I've come to really like about Godlike. It reinforces the theme that WW2 was just too huge for superheroes to meaningfully alter, although I do wish we got more one-off weirdness like Von Braun's satellite. I think they could be less conservative in terms of changing the course of battles with improved recon etc - what if Rommel had risen as a Talent after his suicide? What then?

I'm hoping they're holding back the really crazy stuff for the finale.

Nessus
Dec 22, 2003

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





Loxbourne posted:

Talents from both sides dying in banal ways is something I've come to really like about Godlike. It reinforces the theme that WW2 was just too huge for superheroes to meaningfully alter, although I do wish we got more one-off weirdness like Von Braun's satellite. I think they could be less conservative in terms of changing the course of battles with improved recon etc - what if Rommel had risen as a Talent after his suicide? What then?

I'm hoping they're holding back the really crazy stuff for the finale.
I've lost track in the timeline, but are there any historical figures who became Talents that weren't necessarily relevant to whatever their job was? I realize their conceit wouldn't permit Mordechai Anielewicz to become Superman, of course, but Audie Murphy probably ought to have become a Talent.

Cythereal
Nov 8, 2009



Halloween Jack posted:

10/23/1944, the Battle of Leyte Gulf: Though it’s arguably the biggest naval battle in history, Leyte Gulf doesn’t get as much space as, say, D-Day. I’ll just present it as it is in the book and let Cythereal go hog wild on it .

It's brief, but this overview is basically accurate. Three major things:

1. The Japanese plan half worked. Allies had superior intel and recon, yes, but they also had Admiral Halsey.

2. The super-battleship Musashi was not sunk by Halsey's carriers but was sunk by Task Force 38.2 commanded by Admiral Bogan.

3. Halsey played completely into Japanese plans and went racing off after a feint, leaving the San Bernardino Strait completely unguarded. The IJN took a substantial force through the strait - four battleships including the super-battleship Yamato, six heavy cruisers, two light cruisers, and eleven destroyers - through the strait to wreak havoc on the Americans. Standing in their way was Taffy 3, consisting of six escort carriers whose planes were equipped for ground support duty, three destroyers, and four destroyer escorts. Cue one of the most moments in the history of naval warfare and the United States Navy.


The Americans won. Seriously, go read about the Battle Off Samar or better yet read the book about it, The Last Stand of the Tin Can Sailors.

On a Godlike note, there should have been so goddamn many Talents created from that battle.

PoptartsNinja
May 9, 2008

He is still almost definitely not a spy




Soiled Meat

Halloween Jack posted:

The Japanese Talent Hoshi (“Star”) debuted in the attack on the landing force in what was the first organized kamikaze (“divine wind”) attack of the war. His 24-Zero squadron attacked American escort carriers, inflicting heavy damage and sinking the St. Lô with 100 men aboard. Hoshi’s defensive teleportation power returned him to the Yamato, and he led two more waves of kamikaze attacks.

Why would it return him to Yamato and not his carrier?

I doubt very much the Japanese would've bothered to return a single pilot that failed to properly die for his country to a carrier during the middle of a pitched battle. I can only assume they did so after every attempt to execute him for cowardice saw him reflexively teleport right back to the Yamato's deck.

Cythereal
Nov 8, 2009



Oh, I somehow missed that part. That attack that Hoshi appeared in was the Battle Off Samar. The St. Lo was the first Allied ship sunk by kamikaze attacks, at the tail end of the battle after a few tiny ships and a bunch of planes loaded with incendiary rockets and depth charges drove off a Japanese heavy squadron including the Yamato.

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

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




PoptartsNinja posted:

Why would it return him to Yamato and not his carrier?
You're right; I edited the post. He was returned to an airfield on Leyte.

quote:

I doubt very much the Japanese would've bothered to return a single pilot that failed to properly die for his country to a carrier during the middle of a pitched battle. I can only assume they did so after every attempt to execute him for cowardice saw him reflexively teleport right back to the Yamato's deck.
Hoshi discovered his power in 1942, and had been a military top secret since then. They already knew what he could do.

Cythereal posted:

On a Godlike note, there should have been so goddamn many Talents created from that battle.
There probably were, but at this point, the book doesn't keep track of Talents created in individual battles. We're well past the point of the world Talent pop exceeding 150,000, so another few dozen, eh. Also, it's become a cultural belief at this point that Japan doesn't have many Talents, so, few to no Japanese Talents.

Loxbourne
Apr 6, 2011

Tomorrow, doom!
But now, tea.

Halloween Jack posted:

Also, it's become a cultural belief at this point that Japan doesn't have many Talents, so, few to no Japanese Talents.

I do like the way the writers of Godlike have gone with psychological causes rather than physical ones for superpowers, but it does also throw a spotlight on my least favourite part of the setting, which is the way certain nationalities just get better or worse Talents. Particularly the stuff about teachable Talents and having Talent disciples only being accessible to strange Indian mystics/jungle tribesmen.

The idea that superpowers hasten the end of colonialism due to superpowered blackmail forcing Whitehall and Paris to honour rather more of their promises than they did in real history is a good one, but making "ethnic" powers just better because Colonialism Baaaaad does make me roll my eyes a bit.

Nessus
Dec 22, 2003

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





PoptartsNinja posted:

Why would it return him to Yamato and not his carrier?

I doubt very much the Japanese would've bothered to return a single pilot that failed to properly die for his country to a carrier during the middle of a pitched battle. I can only assume they did so after every attempt to execute him for cowardice saw him reflexively teleport right back to the Yamato's deck.
At this point in general I imagine they knew what Talents were, and there was probably a short line in training: "If you or your buddy get a super-power, finish your encounter and then report back to HQ ASAP." Especially in the Japanese navy, which was significantly less "ra ra charge the Marines for victory" in any event.

They aren't crazed carpenter-ants! You're thinking of the Soviets in this setting.


Loxbourne posted:

I do like the way the writers of Godlike have gone with psychological causes rather than physical ones for superpowers, but it does also throw a spotlight on my least favourite part of the setting, which is the way certain nationalities just get better or worse Talents. Particularly the stuff about teachable Talents and having Talent disciples only being accessible to strange Indian mystics/jungle tribesmen.

The idea that superpowers hasten the end of colonialism due to superpowered blackmail forcing Whitehall and Paris to honour rather more of their promises than they did in real history is a good one, but making "ethnic" powers just better because Colonialism Baaaaad does make me roll my eyes a bit.
What's the deal with teachable talents? It makes sense to me as a practical matter that Talent-teaching might slot readily into non-Western mindsets and that nobody would have the time to sit down and create a rigorous curriculum when there's a war on and no time to experiment. Save that for Lt. Hubbard in the postwar period.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!




Rifts World Book Nine: South America 2: Part 10: "The VR system allows the 'borgs to live out any fantasies and temporarily escape their grim reality."

Common R.C.C.s & O.C.C.s of the Megaversal Legion

First it notes any race from other Rifts books can be found here. Looking forward to playing my 100' tall, tentacled, splugorth legionnaire here, then, it's canon! They don't flinch from recruiting psychics or wizards, who apparently are formed into their own units, but you're required to pick up some basic skills to with your skill picks to represent Legion training.


Camouflaged perfectly to blend in with zip-tone.

Megaversal Trooper (Human) O.C.C.

So, these are cyborgs, even though they mostly look like people in armor rather than obviously cybernetic. Like Robocop. A lot of the older ones also underwent genetic treatments to slow aging, and will live an extra century or more. Becoming a trooper means your life is basically dedicated wholly to your unit, and it's common for romantic relationships to come out of service. Discharged veterans have the choice of using bio-systems and cloned organs to recover their mortality, or just kick back as Robocop sans armaments for the rest of their years. "Dead or alive, I'm relaxing with drinks!"

So they get the benefits of being a partial cyborg: a poo poo-ton of sensors, super-strength, mild M.D.C., and a special antimatter power system that obligingly melts down when you die so nobody can recover it. They also get a surprisingly high Initiative bonus (+6). Other than that, they're mostly just better trained than most cyborgs, with a broad range of military and combat skills and the fancy Legion weapons... and the surprisingly underwhelming armor compared to normal cyborg armor. It also refers us to Rifts World Book Eight: Japan for the whopping four new military skills. Military: Camouflage (base chance: 20%) is definitely worth $20.95!


Toptail: the sign of a true '90s warrior.

Megaversal Trooper O.C.C./Ojahee R.C.C.

So, these are warriors from a "natural M.D.C. dimension". They had just gotten up to black powder and steam engines when they were kidnapped by the Dakir, who used them as flexible skirmish troops. They're big on courage, creativity, and honor, not necessarily in that order, and respect humans even though they're so tiny. Cue boisterous, patronizing laughter and a hard slap in the back and knocks some human over.

Oh, like I have to repeat the statblock by now: high strength and endurance, low beauty. They have modest M.D.C., supernatural strength, and an aversion to magic and a poor potential for psionics. It's hinted they can take another O.C.C. (based on the title above), but it's not clear; their one listed here has a lot of a combat skills and an average selection otherwise. Other than that, they get the fancy Legion weapons and that's that.


beep boop bub

Destroyer 'Borg O.C.C.

If being Robocop isn't enough, you can become a Terminator instead. Ba-bum-bum-ba-bump. Ba-bum-bum-ba-bump. So, these are full conversion cyborgs used for long-term or long-range missions in small units due to their self-sufficiency, often setting up patient ambushes or attacking behind enemy lines. They look like skeletons because it's more stealthy, somehow, and often use scary face paint to be scary skeletons. They also have an entertainment VR system built-in that's mainly used as therapy relief from their cold metal existences.

They get to be full cyborgs, but can't wear normal cyborg armor - they at least get a force field that makes up for them pretty well. They can also parry any projectile (and specifically only projectiles) with little point defense shields, stealth systems (that boost prowl and penalize opposing skills), fancy sensors, oversized Wolverine claws, and super-strength. They get to be trained as special ops badasses and otherwise get fancy Legion guns as they like.


Not Reinhardt's best skin.

Ojahee Cyborg O.C.C.

Unlike other 'borg troops used by the Legion, the Ojahee (partial) cyborgs are fielded like walking takes. They're actually crazy tough, with the usual overload of sense enhancements. They get a "Gatling I-Gun" and Particle Beam in their chest that do decent damage, mini-missiles in the shoulders, and decent combat bonuses (including that initiative bonus, again). They get a bunch of fighty skills and a pretty average spread, otherwise. Mostly just dull tanky types, but they're at least pretty good at being dull tanky types. Also they find VR offensive, so they don't get that particular system installed.


God help them if they need prescription eyewar.

Men-Rall "Tech Master R.C.C."

So, this is an unusual race that can only communicate through electromagnetic emissions, so they need voice boxes to speak with humans.. Actually, this also means they can shoot lightning and manipulate matter, too!... but only if that matter is a machine. Apparently they're a very old race that may have suffered some kind of cataclysm, and it hints they may be the creators of the Machine People (of Rifts Dimension Book One: Phase World). For some reason related to this disaster, they refused to invent or develop technology, but only maintain it. No wonder they're dying out...

In any case, some of them instrumental in freeing the Legion stayed with them. Though they despise conflict, they serve as skilled technicians, and maintain a lot of the Dakir technology essential to the Legion's operations.

Rifts World Book Nine: South America 2 posted:

Shortly after their joining the Legion, a human soldier jokingly gave a Men-Rall a human lab coat, explaining that the lab coat was, in his words "a ceremonial robe given to our men of science to honor their skills". Since that day, the Men-Rall make and wear similar coats with pride.



So! They have high intelligence, low strength, and very low beauty and speed. They get "Mecha-Kinesis", which allows them to understand and memorize the workings of machines, as well as repair or destroy machines by touch (but at a rate too slow for combat). They also have some minor psionics, token M.D.C. and minimal M.D.C. lightning blasts, and get a poo poo-ton of science, mechanical, and electrical skills. It also notes some live and work in New Babylon, too. It's honestly an interesting race, though one-note, since they could be instrumental in decoding all sorts of strange technology across Rifts Earth. I'd like to see more races like this.

Next: Another guns section? I... okay... sure...

Midjack
Dec 24, 2007





The lab coat bit is amazingly . One of these guys with Telemechanics would be pretty good to have in the maintenance garage.

The Lone Badger
Sep 24, 2007



Alien Rope Burn posted:


Megaversal Trooper O.C.C./Ojahee R.C.C.

So, these are warriors from a "natural M.D.C. dimension". They had just gotten up to black powder and steam engines when they were kidnapped by the Dakir, who used them as flexible skirmish troops.

Why would they bother inventing black powder if they're natural-MDC? The bullets would just bounce off.

Fossilized Rappy
Dec 26, 2012




This post is brought to you by “my Internet finally stopped being a poo poo and let me upload things”.


Chapter 2 Continued
Qualities and Drawbacks
As noted before, qualities and drawbacks are your standard advantage and disadvantage system, filling up the category of character traits that don't fall under either Attributes or Skills. A lot of these are self-explanatory sorts of things: Addiction, Depression, Good or Bad Luck, Hard to Kill, Minority, and the like are kind of easy to discern the purpose of by their name alone. Of course, that still leaves some of the weird and interesting ones, mostly supernatural in nature, for us to give a look at.

Abductee: Your backstory involves you being abducted by aliens. Just what that backstory's details are remain up to you and your GM, but the end result is that you get a little grab bag of abilities. On the plus side, you've got a +2 to the Myth and Legend (UFOlogy) skill and Contacts in a UFOlogy group. On the minus, you also happen to be on some alien species' radar, and not only did they learn everything about your past when abducting you, they're still keeping tabs on you even now.

Academic Outcast: Your kooky theories (that most likely happen to be true, given what this setting is) got you shunned by those darn ivory tower academics. You get a -2 to the Research/Investigation skill if you are trying to get information through conventional academic channels and you are recognized.

Atlantean Nanotech: All Atlanteans are cyborgs, utilizing nanomachines coursing through their bodies to better control their organs, give them superhuman powers, or make them into living wifi spots. Aegis happens to have a little bit of knowledge on this nanotech, and some lucky agents might be able to be juiced up with them.

Basic ESP: You don't have fully realized psychic manifestation, but you can access the minor psychic powers Hunch, Intuition, Ken, Read Aura, and Second Sight, which are not coincidentally all sensory in nature. This is unsurprisingly overwritten by having the Quality for access to all psychic powers (known just as Psychic), but the big thing is that Basic ESP costs no points, as almost any human can connect to the psychic wellspring known as the Seepage at this rudimentary level.

Body Double: You have someone who looks just like you, which is a Quality if they're an ally or a Drawback if they are an enemy. Sometimes this is just a natural perfect twin, while other times magic or aliens is involved.

Corrupted by the Supernatural: This stage-based Drawback means you are suffering from Seepage corruption. Magic rituals, spirit possession, and foul curses are but a few of the ways one can be corrupted, but the end result is always the same: if you don't recover, you break. Hard. The "lucky" ones become Forsaken, monstrous in mind but at least still human in body. The rest become the Infused, transfigured monsters that people identify as legendary creatures such as vampires or werewolves. Both Forsaken and Infused take the express train to NPC town.

Guardian Angel/Haunted: You have a spirit bound to you for some reason or another, with the former name referring to a beneficial spirit Quality and the latter being a malicious spirit Drawback. Note that if you are Haunted, the spirit won't attempt to kill you, as that means it will be unmade as well; it tries to make your life a living hell when it starts getting bored, mind you, but it may actually work in your favor if it thinks that the situation is life or death.


MKULTRA Survivor: This drawback indicates that you were one of the unfortunate people who didn't get any psychic powers from secret testing done on you, but still endured all the mental suffering involved. Every year you have to make a Simple difficulty Willpower roll to avoid gaining a new Drawback related to emotional trauma.

Psychic Burnout: In your backstory, you were either heavily traumatized by someone else, overdosed on MKULTRA psychic drugs, or were like Icarus and flew too close to the sun (the sun in this case being crazy mind juju). Whichever case, you have completely lost your psychic powers forever, and there's no way of getting them back. The upside of this is that your mind is extremely resilient against others' psychic powers.

Psychic Link: It turns out that there is something to all that "I can just feel it" talk about twins and lovers. You can use psychic powers on the individual you are linked to at any distance.

Psychic Sink: Also known as Psinks by Aegis agents in spite of how goofy that sounds, psychic sinks are individuals who aren't just unable to use psychic powers, but they actively drain its power. On top of getting all the benefits of Psychic Void, a character with Psychic Sink is able to reduce the effects of both psychic powers and the innate powers of Infused monsters around them.

Psychic Void: 99% of people have the potential for Basic ESP. Out of the rest, you have Psychics, Psinks, and these guys. A Void was just born without any psychic potential or extrasensory ability, and have both trouble with empathy and a hard time detecting supernatural powers being used around them. On the plus side, any ESP or psychic power used on a Void is weaker than it would normally be.

Supernatural Focus: This is a big drawback wherein you are basically a living conduit for the Seepage. Paranormal phenomena are more likely to happen around you because of this: spirits manifesting, ball lighting, raining fish, and more. This reminded me of the Weirdness Magnet disadvantage in GURPS, so I actually cracked open GURPS Conspiracy X out of curiosity, and sure enough that has Supernatural Focus be an advantage (odd choice, but okay) that requires Weirdness Magnet to buy.



Pulling Strings
What Strings you can Pull is related to what type of Influence your bosses have and grant you through your Profession plus whatever Influences you buy with your own points, which can be in the category Civilian, Criminal, Intelligence, Law, Military, Paranormal, or Science and Research. For instance, almost all of the CAPS Professions have Influence (Paranormal), save for the CAPS Scientist/Parasychologist with Influence (Science and Research). Some even require specific allegiances, such as needing to be part of MOONDUST or the Ranch to get access to the Pulling Strings for requisitioning some extraterrestrial loot as part of your gear. Law Enforcement in particular seems like a really good type of Influence to have, as it can get you out of a lot of hot water. Just some of the Pulling Strings that Law Enforcement can get you include the ability to detain people, asset forfeiture, a good attorney or a judge who is in Aegis's pocket, police backup, being able to tell border control in your country to look the other way when you and your fellow agents are crossing a few national lines on Aegis business, and search warrants. Intelligence has a fair amount of really good ones too, such as blanket wiretapping.

Of course, just because those two Influences have a lot of toys to play with doesn't mean that they get the only good ones, of course. Science and Research can get you access to a secret CDC "panimmunity drug" that can cure any disease or mind control drugs to bend people to your will, for example. Civilian Influence is probably the weakest, with pretty much all of its Pulling Strings being news-related things like press passes and newspaper story manipulation, but even those could be used to good effect by a clever player.



Skills

Conspiracy X Second Edition posted:

The following list of skills is relatively extensive. As with all the rules in this book, however, it should always take a second seat to plain common sense. If a player is trying to twist the letter of the rules to wring some unreasonable advantage, the Chronicler should let common sense prevail. On the other hand, if a highly technical reading of a certain skill’s text prohibits what seems to be an acceptable use, the Chronicler’s discretion should also apply.
Ah, rule 0, where would we be without you?

The list of skills here is sixty-seven strong, not counting subsets of a specific skill, and are sometimes a bit oddly categorized, to say the least. I don't have a huge problem with big skill lists most of the time because I am a horribly broken human being, but even I can look at the fact that there is separately a Computer Hacking, Computer Programming, and Computers skill and give a raised eyebrow (GURPS has this same three-computer split, literally the same three, and it confuses me there too). Pretty much all the skills are self-explanatory stuff like Acrobatics, Beautician, Guns, Intimidation, Seduction, Swimming, Traps, and Writing. Some are vaguely described, though, as if the name was well enough on its own. I'm looking at you, Unconventional Medicine:

Conspiracy X Second Edition posted:

This skill covers all methods of healing not widely accepted by Western science, including herbal medicine, acupuncture, etc., each of which is considered a different Type. The effectiveness of each type of unconventional medicine is determined by the Chronicler. If the skill is effective in treating disease and injury, use the same skills and effects as the conventional Medicine skill.
How do we determine their effectiveness? What's the Attribute associated with them since skills have an associated Attribute for their roll? How effective is "effective in treating disease and injury"? If effectiveness is Life Point regain at all, why separate Unconventional Medicine and Medicine in the first place if they're just going to be ruled back together by that last sentence? Am I just being nitpicky here, or does this seem confusing to anyone else?

Anyway, task resolution (the utilization of a skill) involves adding up your bonus to the skill, the Attribute associated with the task, a d10, and any modifier for how difficult the task at hand is. Did you get a 9 or higher? Congratulations, you passed! The actual difficulty track isn't until chapter 4, but for clarity on just what range you are aiming for, I'll note them early. You don't need to make any roll for a Routine task, get +5 to the roll for an Easy task, +3 or +4 for a Moderate task, +1 or +2 to an Average task, no modifier for a Challenging task, -1 or -2 for a Difficult task, -3 to -5 for Very Difficult, -6 to -9 for Heroic, and -10 or worse for Near-Impossible. What qualifies as any of these spots on the track is up to the GM, but the book suggests you should keep most things either Routine or Challenging to avoid bogging things down in minutia.


Next Time: Hideouts and handguns.

PoptartsNinja
May 9, 2008

He is still almost definitely not a spy




Soiled Meat

Nessus posted:

At this point in general I imagine they knew what Talents were, and there was probably a short line in training: "If you or your buddy get a super-power, finish your encounter and then report back to HQ ASAP." Especially in the Japanese navy, which was significantly less "ra ra charge the Marines for victory" in any event.

I don't feel I'm mischaracterizing Imperial Japan. They did not understand the real importance of training (as evidenced by a common sentiment among the airmen at Midway that the only way they'd set foot on the home islands again was in body bags), their battle plans tended to discount the possibility that they would take losses, and if the Navy was less "Banzai Charge" than the Japanese Army it's only because ships are expensive and a sunk ship can't shoot Americans.

Their oxygen torpedoes are pretty much emblematic of the Navy as a whole. They're fast, hit hard, and incredibly dangerous to their own ships and crews.

PoptartsNinja fucked around with this message at 23:33 on Mar 5, 2017

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Cythereal
Nov 8, 2009



PoptartsNinja posted:

I don't feel I'm mischaracterizing Imperial Japan. They did not understand the real importance of training (as evidenced by a common sentiment among the airmen at Midway that the only way they'd set foot on the home islands again was in body bags), their battle plans tended to discount the possibility that they would take losses, and if the Navy was less "Banzai Charge" than the Japanese Army it's only because ships are expensive and a sunk ship can't shoot Americans.

Their oxygen torpedoes are pretty much emblematic of the Navy as a whole. They're fast, hit hard, and incredibly dangerous to their own ships and crews.

This goes back to the general nature of how the IJN prepared for the war. They knew they could not stand up to American quantity, and so placed their bets on quality: forcing a single decisive naval battle in which superior Japanese offensive technology and doctrine would result in a historic Japanese victory that would force the Americans to withdraw from the Pacific and recognize Japan's territorial acquisitions, replaying the tactics, doctrine, and geopolitics of the Russo-Japanese War, the last major war Japan had fought. In this outlook, Japan's deficiencies in the survivability of their forces and sustainability of their logistics were irrelevant because any losses sustained would be worth it from the strategic victory and the war would not last long enough for logistics to matter.

Needless to say, not only did Tsushima Straight 2: Pacific Boogaloo never happen, it is exceedingly unlikely that even had such a battle happened it would have the intended result. World War Two in the Pacific was a very different beast from the Russo-Japanese War and the United States of America was a very different adversary from Czarist Russia. Most histories of the Pacific theater that go into detail on Japanese plans, notably the military history thread in A/T's perennial favorite Shattered Sword (seriously, if you're interested in WW2 in the Pacific, check it out from your local library), note the recurring tendency of Japanese strategic planners to woefully misread their American opponents and make detailed plans predicated on the Americans responding in a way that they almost never did. Superior American radar and code-cracking were only part of the issue.

Halsey at Leyte Gulf was a rare exception - had it not been for the extraordinary courage and valor of the men of Taffy 3, Halsey's decision to chase the Japanese decoys and leave the San Bernardino Strait exposed would likely have cost the USN dearly. Not that it really would have mattered at that point, mind.

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