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Nessus
Dec 22, 2003

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



theironjef posted:

We conducted an interview that we won't use for technical reasons (dude didn't wear headphones so it sounds like he's a normal guy and we're cave aliens). We're on the calendar to do another one so it's no big deal.
I thought you were cave aliens.

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Alien Rope Burn
Dec 5, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!

theironjef posted:

We conducted an interview that we won't use for technical reasons (dude didn't wear headphones so it sounds like he's a normal guy and we're cave aliens). We're on the calendar to do another one so it's no big deal.

Definitely be interested in hearing it, of course!

Simian_Prime posted:

It'd just be an even more compelling comedy because, instead of more mundane business like paper supply, you'd got the backdrop of a product revolving around the bizarre sci-fi/fantasy brainchild that is RIFTS. Like imagine a scene where two schlubby guys in a mall food court are having a serious, loud argument over whether the Dogboy Technowizard class should be an RCC or an OCC while the clerk at Panda Express wonders if he should call security.

The weird thing is that I don't get that there is a lot of discussion regarding Rifts that doesn't go directly through Kevin in one sense or another - or at least, he's discouraged freelancers from communicating amongst each other, even when working on the same book.

Anyway, I don't think Palladium will die while Siembieda is alive, if anything, he's probably the most determined person to stay in the industry given what he's had to sacrifice to keep the truck rolling.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 5, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


Rifts World Book 13: Lone Star - Part Three: "'Before the horse was domesticated, it was the dog who pulled the plow and wagon.'"

Really?

The Dog Pack

Originally introduced several decades ago in 77 PA as "Psi-Hounds", the name "Dog Boys" has stuck as more popular and even the military has largely given up on the Psi-Hound branding. That's probably because "Dog Boy" is a really diminutive label and allows people to think of them as harmless lessers- well, the book doesn't get that insightful into the racial politics or anything, I just made that up because I thought it would be more interesting than what the book says.

So we're doing to talk about mutant dogs all of a sudden! gently caress it, this is Palladium, no time for organization or chapter breaks. Well, okay. Bradford's going to talk about mutant dogs, not us. And by Bradford, I mean:

:circlefap:


"Everybody, formation: cool pose! Let's see the enemy stand up to this!"

Why Mutant Dogs?

So, we drop into fiction again, because this is Bradford, and he gets fiction. Siembieda's doing... fiction now, I'll point out, seemingly having picked up Carella's habit, or just the habit of the '90s. But you only get fiction if Siembieda really, really likes you as an NPC. And no doubt, he loves writing Bradford.

So, Bradford is giving a straw man Inspector Emerson (a forgettable toady of Joseph Prosek II) a tour of Lone Star, and we get a conversation:
  • Bradford: Well, dogs are the best.
  • Emerson: Pretty sure there are more badass animals than a dog.
  • Bradford: Yes, but dogs have been our obedient companions for 15,000 years, that's science.
  • Emerson: Pft, we're not even sure know the world is even 15,000 years old.
  • Bradford: Oh, wow. You're dumb! You're a dummy dumb-dumb.
  • Emerson: I'm gonna stand by my obviously untrue statement to seem more like an idiot.
  • Bradford: Man, I don't understand why other Coalition guys are so dumb. Who's a dummy? I bet it's you!
  • Emerson: You know you're probably a thought criminal.
  • Bradford: Anyway, dogs are awesome because they're our willing slaves! They're also genetically 85% identical to us. That doesn't really mean anything but science comes in percentages. And that's better than having a tough animal, you dummy, dumb-dumb, dummy dumb dum."
I'm going to zoom in on the most cringeworthy part:

Rifts World Book 13: Lone Star posted:

Doctor Bradford paused and smiled mischievously, his eyes shining with personal satisfaction over his little dissertation, confident that Inspector Emerson had been put in his place (he didn't like the man).

Yes, it's important that the obvious be delivered to the reader with all the subtlety of a punch to the face (I didn't like the writing).


"I'll call this one... Duke Skybarker."

Dog Boy Creation

So, they have two ways of making dog boys: created and grown in a lab or naturally bred. Or-

Rifts World Book 13: Lone Star posted:

Dog Boys can be created and grown in the laboratory via genetic manipulation or born and raised through a normal birthing process; usually under strict CS supervision. In the latter case, there are females who are used as "breeders." They are typically artificially inseminated to avoid any bonding and emotional attachment to a male partner. These breeders are pampered and cared for by their human masters. Most mutant canines consider it a privilege to help the Coalition States by bringing new, strong defenders of humankind into the world.

:tizzy:

Look, Siembieda, if you ever read this, which I'm not expecting you'll ever get this far, but this is wrong. It is an excuse slaveowners make for rape. Oh yeah, it should be mentioned that dog boys who are given the "privilege" of mating with a peer have their children taken away to avoid family units from being created. We also get details that "wild" dog boys are generally exterminated unless they're under one year of age, in which case they're brought in for raising and indoctrination.

gently caress, this is gonna be rough to get through. I thought Africa was bad, with its faceless indigenous peoples. Triax & the NGR gave us no-poo poo magic criminal gypsies. Coalition War Campaign was awful, with its hamfisted metaplot. But this... this...

:sigh:

So, most female psi-hounds (the term "dog girls" will never be used in the book; the game only begrudgingly admits they exist here) are involved with the rearing and education of dog kids. Only 30% of dog boys are female, but why the gender disparity exists is unclear. While it's implied the Coalition wants more males, only 10% are tube-grown (aka "tube dogs" or "hot dogs", get it?), so there's no reason why the disparity should be so far in favor of males. In fact, since the majority of... female... dog... boys... get domestic administrative tasks, while males get military roles, things should be bent towards a higher female population even if you presume most "hot dogs" are male, because the males are bred to die in droves fighting wizards or Brodkil or Xiticix. But that level of consideration isn't occurring because this is Siembieda writing and Rifts is Rifts.

Most dog boys draw from German Shepherd, Doberman, Boxer, Bullmastiff, Rottweiler, Akita, Malamute, or New Foundland DNA, and they mainly focus on working dogs otherwise. We get a lot of detail on litter counts and-

Rifts World Book 13: Lone Star posted:

A female reaches full physical maturity by age three, but the CS usually does not allow breeding to start before age five to allow for emotional maturity.

siembieda no :furcry:

Rifts World Book 13: Lone Star posted:

The typical breeder female will bear young once every 18 to 24 months. This rate of birth offers minimal wear and tear on the mother and maximum longevity of the female (average life span, 50 years). However, a female can give birth as often as every 14 months, but this will reduce her skill/work productivity by 40% and her life span by 30%-50%.

nooooo :(

Well, at least that's over.


The boys who loved Prosek.

The Program
Dog Boy Nurseries and Training


gently caress, it's not over. :mad:

It goes on how affectionate and wonderful their indoctrination and enslavement is an astonishing lack of self-awareness. They bring in human teachers are soon as is viable, and it mentions that they learn faster than humans because faster maturation means faster learning! Makes sense, that's science.

Rifts World Book 13: Lone Star posted:

The human (and Psi-Hounds) who raise these cuddly, energetic balls of fluff show the animals an immense amount of affection and attention in both play and education. In fact, Dog Boy pups enjoy more tenderness and personalized attention than most human children but then human children don't reach physical maturity by the age of three and mental/emotional maturity by six.

:barf:


"Here you will learn to load and fire a gun with a fursuit on. Questions?"

Military Dog Pack Program

Naturally, as picture perfect slaves, dog boys love to obey and adapt to military hierarchy well. The only issues is when a leader looks weak or indecisive, as they naturally respect strength and outward authority, even if it's abusive (though they can be pushed too far). We get a lot of :words: on "obedience training" but most of it is pretty much what you'd expect from a military training what are (at best) second-class citizens. About 6% wash out and are sent to a farm upstate where they play with all the other dog boys in games of euthanasia or dehumanizing experiments. (Well, dehumanizing for the humans, at least.) 10% go AWOL during their time of service, which we're told is a "outstanding success ratio", but is actually pretty bad for a desertion rate in a modern army. The Vietnam War saw American desertion rates peak at around 5%, for example, and the War in Iraq has been less than 1% for the most part. But, as always, Rifts is bad at math.


Wolfman vs. the Creature.

Canine Psychology & Instincts

So, the Coalition believes that Psi-Hounds are fundamentally animals and not equal to humans, justifying their treatment of them. Ironically, Desmond Bradford would disagree, but he's a psychopath and doesn't really give a gently caress what feelings dog boys might have. In the end, they are sentient and equal to humans in that regard, but have pack and loyalty instincts that give them a different outlook. They're more easily contented and amused, and tend to react to danger with aggression more often than flight. Most will only fight until their opponent flees or surrenders, however, and aren't given to bloodthirstiness. However, they can turn nasty when cornered, either literally or metaphorically.

Rifts World Book 13: Lone Star posted:

Loyalty or Brainwashed Slaves? Many rogue scientists, philosophers and humanitarians outside the Coalition States, argue that the Coalition's use of mutant canines is nothing more than slavery. They insist that Dog Boys are not "animals" and should enjoy the same rights as any sentient being. Of course, this argument is a moot point, considering that the Coalition States don't recognize the equality or rights of any nonhuman race. In fact, by comparison, Dog Boys are treated with unprecedented kindness and compassion by these murderous bigots, although the mutant canines must serve the Empire or be destroyed.

Huh, that's a surprisingly nuanced point to make for this book. Wait, there's more-

Rifts World Book 13: Lone Star posted:

Most Dog Boys don't feel enslaved or brainwashed. Nor do they feel equal or even near the equal of humans. According to Lone Star GED scientists, this is neither brainwashing or genetic manipulation, but the very nature of the animals and their relationship with humans. It is widely known that the geneticists select, enhance and combine the most favorable genetic traits of the canines, with loyalty being of extreme importance. One can also find arguments that the Dog Pack training program is a form of brainwashing. However, it has been impossible to produce evidence that the mutants are being somehow controlled or forced to serve the CS against their will. In fact, most Psi-Hounds, when given the opportunity to leave the CS and join other humans or nonhumans as equals, decline the offer and return to their Coalition masters.

gently caress.

This.

Book. :mad:

So it points out that dog boys, even outside of the Coalition, are usually loyal to whoever they attach to as human "masters". They also sensitive to the supernatural, as discussed back back in the corebook, and see it as competition or a natural enemy. Randomly, we get a note they can "dog paddle" for a free 50% swim skill, that they're attracted to rapid motion (so you can make those Up references, I suppose), and that they like physical activity. The last random bit it gives is apparently because dog boys are based on dogs, it allows humans to trust them without fear, even in the otherwise genocidal Coalition States. :words: :words: :words:

It keeps wanting to waffle and handwring and be like "Well, they want to be slaves." and "They're not treated like slaves." when for all effective purposes they've slaves. It's not like dog boys get to choose their occupation, create families, travel freely, earn equal pay, or obtain rank that provides authority over a human. They're literally treated as expendable subhumans, are expected to obey orders on pain of torture or death... but they're not literally property, so they're not slaves! (Even though the corebook literally pointed out that they're slaves. Ooops.)

Next: New dogs with old tricks.

Dareon
Apr 6, 2009

by vyelkin

senrath posted:

I could see it being useful if you used it to preserve highly skilled individuals who were dying (injuries, age, disease, whatever). Going to lose your best pilot? Not anymore, just crystallize their brain and shove it in their (rebuilt) mech!

Literally the background plot of the original Front Mission.

Alien Rope Burn posted:

"I'll call this one... Duke Skybarker."
Let me tell you about my Homestuck fan character.

quote:


I love the painfully 90s teen dogboy who is doing some serious soul-searching in the mirror over what it means to be a good boy.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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

Dareon posted:

Literally the background plot of the original Front Mission.

That game really stuck out for me because it was like 'You know, SNES games don't usually have plots by wily Russians and evil Japanese arms dealers to permanently enslave the brains of talented pilots to a pointless forever-war nightmare.'

Might be why I keep trying to make Front Mission RPGs in my spare time.

SirPhoebos
Dec 10, 2007

WELL THAT JUST HAPPENED!

So it wasn't enough for the Coalition States to mimic Nazis-they're also the Umbrella Corporation! :haw:

theironjef
Aug 11, 2009

The archmage of unexpected stinks.

Nessus posted:

I thought you were cave aliens.

Well yeah but with sexy calming voices. Not some lowbrow echoey cave aliens.

Kurieg
Jul 19, 2012

RIP Lutri: 5/19/20-4/2/20
:blizz::gamefreak:
"No, seriously, the dogs want to be like this because dogs are subservient to man and thus uplifited dogs would also long for their place at our feet."
"Okay, so where are the uplifted Livestock Guardian Dogs."
"....there..was an accident.. with all of those."

Robindaybird
Aug 21, 2007

Neat. Sweet. Petite.

the nursery picture is pretty cute, but god drat, Siembeida and Co their usual brand of tone-deafness.

EDIT: Border Collies and Corgis probably aren't given the uplift because while eager to please, they're very intelligent, and very, very stubborn - something Skull-Nazis Coalition clearly don't want.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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

But if they aren't based on working dogs, aren't you literally getting the physical traits of lap dogs? Like, pretty much all the really strong, tough breeds are working dogs. Huskies, retrievers, dobermans...though I suppose hunting dogs are more obedient than herders.

Kurieg
Jul 19, 2012

RIP Lutri: 5/19/20-4/2/20
:blizz::gamefreak:
Livestock Guardian Dogs aren't herders. Herders obey their owners and generally live with them when they aren't working. LGDs live with their flock, will attack anyone strange who approaches them (even their ostensible owners) and if they don't have a flock, they will adopt one, be it your children, your car, your TV, whatever. There's a story in another thread about a time where someone's LGD got sick and they put it in a pen in the barn to recouperate. The dog was having none of that, and battered down the door and fought through five horses to get back to it's flock, cause that's what they do.

Barudak
May 7, 2007

Youd just use Keeshonds. Theyre medium sized, unflappably loyal, completely incapable of independent thought, louder than gently caress when affirming your orders, like confined spaces and boats, and hate mice and small rodents with a vigor.

The downside is your armies shampoo budget would be insane.

Pieces of Peace
Jul 8, 2006
Hazardous in small doses.

Barudak posted:

Youd just use Keeshonds. Theyre medium sized, unflappably loyal, completely incapable of independent thought, louder than gently caress when affirming your orders, like confined spaces and boats, and hate mice and small rodents with a vigor.

The downside is your armies shampoo budget would be insane.

In my experience Keeshonds hate nothing and are unable to even grasp the concept that they might bite or injure a living being rather than just licking it a bunch, so probably not the best soldiers. Mine was also a massive scaredy-dog; does RIFTS have rules for forcing Dog Boys to save against hiding under the nearest object if they hear the tiniest hint of an explosion?

Prism
Dec 22, 2007

yospos

Pieces of Peace posted:

In my experience Keeshonds hate nothing and are unable to even grasp the concept that they might bite or injure a living being rather than just licking it a bunch, so probably not the best soldiers. Mine was also a massive scaredy-dog; does RIFTS have rules for forcing Dog Boys to save against hiding under the nearest object if they hear the tiniest hint of an explosion?

'We can't deploy the Dog Boys on this operation.'

'Why not?'

'Thunderstorm.'

*nods knowingly*

Robindaybird
Aug 21, 2007

Neat. Sweet. Petite.

Pieces of Peace posted:

In my experience Keeshonds hate nothing and are unable to even grasp the concept that they might bite or injure a living being rather than just licking it a bunch, so probably not the best soldiers. Mine was also a massive scaredy-dog; does RIFTS have rules for forcing Dog Boys to save against hiding under the nearest object if they hear the tiniest hint of an explosion?

Or not to steal unattended rations? my second dog Chiquita will take anything within reach (except black olives, she would eat a pizza and then spit out the olives), but Holly was a good girl and can be left with food - unless it's peanut butter, she cannot resist peanut butter sandwiches or fudge (it's pure peanut butter, no chocolate)

Cythereal
Nov 8, 2009

I love the potoo,
and the potoo loves you.
Havanese dog boys, perhaps?

wiegieman
Apr 22, 2010

Royalty is a continuous cutting motion


Robindaybird posted:

Or not to steal unattended rations? my second dog Chiquita will take anything within reach (except black olives, she would eat a pizza and then spit out the olives), but Holly was a good girl and can be left with food - unless it's peanut butter, she cannot resist peanut butter sandwiches or fudge (it's pure peanut butter, no chocolate)

I'm trying to elevate my mind such that I may grasp the concept of Peanut Butter Fudge, and failing, but I know now that the world is a brighter place than it was yesterday.

Prism
Dec 22, 2007

yospos

wiegieman posted:

I'm trying to elevate my mind such that I may grasp the concept of Peanut Butter Fudge, and failing, but I know now that the world is a brighter place than it was yesterday.

It's mostly sugar and peanut butter with milk and butter and a hint of vanilla, or at least the recipe I've made is.

Simian_Prime
Nov 6, 2011

When they passed out body parts in the comics today, I got Cathy's nose and Dick Tracy's private parts.

Alien Rope Burn posted:



The weird thing is that I don't get that there is a lot of discussion regarding Rifts that doesn't go directly through Kevin in one sense or another - or at least, he's discouraged freelancers from communicating amongst each other, even when working on the same book.

Anyway, I don't think Palladium will die while Siembieda is alive, if anything, he's probably the most determined person to stay in the industry given what he's had to sacrifice to keep the truck rolling.

One of the Midwestern guys can be "Kevin*", then.

*played by Tilda Swindon

Loomer
Dec 19, 2007

A Very Special Hell
"Sir, the enemy has routed our dogboys!"

"How?! How could this happen?!"

"They stuck a vacuum cleaner on the front of their tanks and our boys just flipped the gently caress out."

Halloween Jack
Sep 12, 2003

La morte non ha sesso

Simian_Prime posted:

One of the Midwestern guys can be "Kevin*", then.

*played by Tilda Swindon
I don't think that's what We Need to Talk About Kevin was actually about.

Simian_Prime
Nov 6, 2011

When they passed out body parts in the comics today, I got Cathy's nose and Dick Tracy's private parts.

Halloween Jack posted:

I don't think that's what We Need to Talk About Kevin was actually about.

Why is Ezra Miller playing The Flash in the Justice League movie when he clearly should be Green Arrow? :D

occamsnailfile
Nov 4, 2007



zamtrios so lonely
Grimey Drawer
So now that we've met the Howling Commandos, when do we meet Nick Fury? I would say 'fascist Nick Fury' but I'm not sure how much of a difference there is.

Seriously though that's a lot of :words: that can't decide if they're filming Hooch's Heroes or Full Metal Collar.

Also the rigidly enforced nuclear gender roles are strange--dogs aren't that dimorphic though the book seems to be trying to avoid admitting that not all dogs are boys. In a better book they might admit it says a lot more about the slavemasters than it does the slaves but that is not the Rifts way.

Robindaybird
Aug 21, 2007

Neat. Sweet. Petite.

wiegieman posted:

I'm trying to elevate my mind such that I may grasp the concept of Peanut Butter Fudge, and failing, but I know now that the world is a brighter place than it was yesterday.

as Prism said, the ingrediants are pretty simple, but it's so drat good. I'm not home atm, but if you're interested and got PMs I could PM the recipe if you want when I can get access to it.

Barudak
May 7, 2007

Pieces of Peace posted:

In my experience Keeshonds hate nothing and are unable to even grasp the concept that they might bite or injure a living being rather than just licking it a bunch, so probably not the best soldiers. Mine was also a massive scaredy-dog; does RIFTS have rules for forcing Dog Boys to save against hiding under the nearest object if they hear the tiniest hint of an explosion?

Im gonna assume this is accurate to a dog boy statline given this is rifts.

Mine would sprint 10 meters away from you, realize you were now 10 meters away and that was the maximum distance he was comfortable with, wait for you to catch up, then sprint ten more meters.

Robindaybird
Aug 21, 2007

Neat. Sweet. Petite.

I feel like Rifts would be rife with Discworldian black comedy jokes involving fetch.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

FATAL & Friends
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Dragonmech: Steam Warriors: FERAL HALFLINGS

So, first up, we have Coglings. They are halflings who have adapted to life inside mechs, and while they've only been around a few generations, they'rea already a distinct subrace, quicker than normal halflings and well attuned to the gear forests. They are almost all stowaways that hide aboard citymechs and protect their gear forests against intrusion. They are paranoid, fearful little guys, always on guard against anyone spotting them and the dangers of their hmes. Their paranoia is easily the biggest difference between them and their halfling cousins, and most lack the halfling fear resistance. They tend to be rather cowardly, relying on stealth to survive. They are curious, but their curiosity focuses on engines, and they are innately talented with steamtech. They see them as alive, part of a gearwork ecology, thanks to their tendency to live inside giant robots. They see the steam engine as a living environment, and are commonly clockwork rangers.

Coglings are about three feet tall and usually between 30 and 35 pounds. Unlike halflings, they tend to be pale, almost albino, and can go entire generations without seeing the sun. They tend to have short hair and no facial hair, for fear of getting caught in gears. Their armor tends to be made of discarded scrap metal and rarely possess much in the way of cloth, favoring clothes of beetle and spider hide or grease lizard leather. They also are almost always coated in grease and sludge due to their homes being giant engines. By nature, they attempt to avoid contact with others, to avoid being evicted. They do, however, often become friendly with the other inhabitants of the gear forests - usually hermits who have retreated to the engines for solitude. They dislike fellow stowaways, however, who do not respect the gear forest or try to damage the mech. They tend toward neutrality, leaning slightly toward chaos.

Coglings abandoned the faith of the old halflings, and their religions vary wildly depending on what their tribe developed into. The tribes do not communicate with each other, after all. However, almost all believe that spirits control the gear forests, or 'great engines.' They are often animist, worshipping the engine-soul itself. This is not the same as belief in Dotrak - no Dotraki will talk about the spirits of the gear forests, and instead view them as microcosms of the great universal engine. Coglings, however, are highly animist, and worship gear forest spirits...which do exist, because cogling clerics, rare as they are, do get spells. Oddly, they seem capable of constructing their own gods - mechanical sculptures imbued with life via the Awaken Construct spell. Coglings speak Common, an old dialect of Halfling, and two languages of their own. First, they speak Cogling Signing, a form of sign language adapted for the noisy gear forests, and Colging Engine Talk, a form of mechanical sculpture that allows meaning to be transmitted by arrangements of spare parts. (However, they do not get Cogling Engine Talk free - it's a bonus language, alongside Dwarven and Gnome.)

Coglings get +2 Dex and -2 Str, and are Small. They have a base speed of 20 feet, and get +2 to Climb, Jump and Move Silently checks, and another +2 to Hide checks in gear forests. They also get a +1 racial bonus to Fort and Will, and +2 to Ref. They get a +1 racial bonus to all attacks with thrown weapons and slings, and they get the Gearstride feat for free. They have low-light vision, and their favored class is clockwork ranger. Coglings, uniquely, may take one of two new ranger combat styles instead of archery or two-weapon combat if they want. First is Hazard Master, which gives them the Hazard Master feat free at level 2, Hazard Lord at 6, and Hazard Killer at 11. Lizard Master is the other style, granting Lizard Fighter at 2, Lizard Warrior at 6 and Lizard Lord at 11.

So where did these things come from? It is believed that the first halfling migration to a citymech was led by the clan leader Alton Nightswallow, whose clan were con artists and thieves. They were in Duerok when the rains became terrible, and were forced out for their crimes. They knew they wouldn't survive the surface, so they hid in the mines. For years, they survived there, and the clan shrank. Alton heard about the construction of the first citymech, and he worked out a way to sneak aboard. He and the 16 remaining members of his clan broke in via the mining tunnels, evading the sentries and slipping aboard the components as they were put together. They had no real understanding of the technology, but they got on board. Alton told other halflings about his 'new scam', and soon, other halflings followed suit. They found the only real place to hide aboard the highly militarized mech was in the gear forest, and the Nightswallows began learning it as best they could. Eventually, they and the other halflings that moved to citymechs became coglings.

Like halflings, coglings rely a lot on small family groups, which effectively serve them as clans, though they are much smaller than most halfling clans. These groups are all related, hate outsiders, and tend to be loosely organized. Technical and religious skill are what grant leadership roles, usually, and coglings do not reproduce quickly. They just don't have the ofod or space to do so, and each new kid is a chance to be detected. Their food is primarily either mushrooms grown on grease, hunted beetles and insects, farmed grese lizards or stolen food from other areas. Despite their paranoia, they do have a playful side, typically exercised in the running of obstacle courses through the gear forests. They may even occasionally reconstruct parts of the gear forest to make particularly difficult courses, and this might become a sport of the coglings in general if they were ever to actually meet and organize. It's hardly safe, but it's why all coglings that survive to adulthood have the Gearstride feat. Coglings also tend to turn animal pets into cyborgs, to better adapt them to life in the gear forests. Only Int 2 or less beasts can be so modified, and it's not easy - DC 20 Craft (mechcraft) check, only doable if you have Knowledge (steam engines) 10 and Heal 5, plus 100 gp in materials for Small critters, or more for bigger ones. This turns the creature into a construct with a d10 HD, though it no longer heals naturally and must instead be repaired, as other constructs do.

Next time: Tik'toks. Yes.

Nessus
Dec 22, 2003

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



All this Dog Boy business is making me think of the Coalition abruptly falling, not to magick, not to fascism, not to D-Bee intrusion, but to a mass uprising of Dog Boys who have realized that in this bleak world of mega-damage lasers and drug-addicted cyber-dwarves, you have to be the Good Boy.

As the Great Question is reconciled, the Humans will be cared for - as ever it was.

And in the end, the Good Boy will be all of them.

Dareon
Apr 6, 2009

by vyelkin
I think the Dog Boy Uprising, as cool as it would be, would wind up being too self-aware for Siembieda.

Joe Slowboat
Nov 9, 2016

Higgledy-Piggledy Whale Statements



I'd just like to chime in that 'Dr. Moreau's Most Lovable PMC' would be a pretty great campaign concept in anything but Rifts. Pugmire meets Mad Max, what's not to love?

Captain Hats
Jan 6, 2009

ELF

occamsnailfile posted:

So now that we've met the Howling Commandos, when do we meet Nick Fury?

Nick Furry in this case, surely?

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 5, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


Rifts World Book 13: Lone Star - Part Four: "The keen olfactory sense of these canine mutants can locate cancerous cells in skin cancer, lung cancer and malignant tumors."


"I'm just saying, it's easy to pee in these, but I really wouldn't mind pants..."

Dog Pack R.C.C.
Dog Boys or Psi-Hounds


So, it's time to reprint a corebook class. To be fair, there are modest updates. It talks more about the role of dog boys largely as watchdogs against the supernatural, along with psi-stalkers. In addition, they're used as recon or first assault by the military. Sometimes they're sent undercover as fake "runaways" to gain intelligence, though naturally this kind of operation has the greatest AWOL rate, though the Coalition sees this as a way of testing to see what dogs stay loyal because... science? Ah, the classic Coalition mustache twirl- "Even when we lose, we win! Somehow! Trust us on this!"

And-

Rifts World Book 13: Lone Star posted:

A human might feel a bit of a loss over the death of a favorite hunting dog killed by a wild animal, but one simply discards the dead body and goes out to purchase a new dog. This is the general attitude of the Coalition military and most citizens. The mutant canines are just big doggies that walk on two legs, sport arms and hands, and talk instead of bark. If a job is too dangerous for a human, send in a mutant animal. If it dies, a new one can always be purchased, bred, or grown.

Rifts World Book 13: Lone Star posted:

As noted previously, most Dog Boys don't see anything wrong with how they are treated, and tend to concur that they are expendable, rather than jeopardize valuable human lives. This also means that they rarely feel cheated or abused, and are happy to be part of the human pack.
:sigh:


Always battling the boundary of the art.

Their abilities are largely the same as in the corebook, but have been simplified a little in some cases and complicated in others. We also get some detail on their vision (they can see color, though it's muted compared to humans), they now have an ineffectual bite attack, and a note that they're twice as likely to be struck by ley line energy during ley line storms, though what the base chance of that is unclear. There's also an obscure rule that dog boys take penalties from ley line storms, so if you happen to have a copy of Rifts World Book Two: Atlantis and the rules for now, you can reference the poo poo out of that. The breed table is sadly not expanded at all breed-wise, though it gives a few very slight extra bonuses to some breeds. The mutation table has been expanded modestly. As as before, if given the chance there's no much reason not to roll on the mutation tables; the chances of getting something negative are very small and any penalties are matched by consummate benefits.

There's also an error where they're given the old dog boy armor with lower M.D.C. values instead of the new armor from Coalition War Machine and this book because I guess they just copy-pasted it from the core book, whups.


Free to stand up perfectly straight, for a change.

"Feral" Dog Boys

So, "Feral" is a Coalition term for dog boys who escape, and naturally the Coalition does their rugged best to exterminate them, since they're a bad example and often have knowledge of Coalition operations. It notes, though, that they have some forgiveness for those they think just got lost or young pups out on a lark, though those they think are making repeated efforts are sent to the dog boy farm upstate. Same goes for those suspected in helping a dog boy escape.

However, there are those that get loose and even build communities of their own, and these "Free Borns" tend to have more individuality and a general dislike for the Coalition. However, they still often attach to human communities and a few have regrets and want to return to the Coalition. However, since the Coalition doesn't accept rogues back in anything other than a body bag, the joke's on them.

Stat-wise, they're just like normal dog boys except that they can select from a variety of O.C.C.s instead of just the dog boy soldier skill package. It notes a lot of them still have the same soldier skillset since it just gets passed down from parents to children, or become wilderness scouts or vagabonds. Otherwise, it notes that most males tend towards headhunter, or mercenary classes, while females tend towards classes like operator, body fixer, scientist, or scholar. Of course, this comes from the author's notion of sexual dimorphism, since both sexes of canine are aggressive in different ways, and the fact that males are larger doesn't necessarily make them them more aggressive or dangerous. That digression aside, they rarely taken up magic or augmentation classes, but there are a few dog boy cyber-knights. Bizarrely, dog boys get a fixed number of secondary skills regardless of their class, which means they'll often get more skills than usual, since Rifts has generally reduced the amount of secondary skills classes get over time (giving classes more fixed skills and less skill picks). Honestly, they're pretty solid and straight-up better than humans other than the general "and the Coalition shoots you on sight" drawback, but that's the majority of Rifts character options anyway.


"Well, Wile E. had to buy it sooner or later, considering his lifestyle."

Dog Boy Special Forces R.C.C.s

But enough about freedom, time for some specialty slaves.


"The worst part of being a wet dog is always smelling myself."

Navy "Sea Dogs"

So, the Coalition Navy mainly uses Newfoundland dog boys due to their swimming talents and- wait. There isn't a Coalition Navy at this point in continuity. Well, there will be soon enough when that supplement comes out, so I guess it's close enough for Palladium. They're pretty much just dog boys, but wetter. Bizarrely, they get vastly better stats than any other dog boy so far, including a very high Affinity, mental Endurance, and are as tough and strong as Pit Bulls. The only real drawback is that their natural scent and tracking is reduced. They also get saddled with bunch of vehicle and sea skills, with not many other picks.


But Ralph was the wolf, not the sheepdog!

K-9 "Sniffers"

These are dog boys bred for their sense of smell and then trained at the heretofore unmentioned Cabot & Dog Boy Training Grounds located on the runs of Lackland AFB in San Antonio. You know, right smack dab in the middle of the Pecos Empire where everybody shoots Coalition soldiers more-or-less on sight. Makes sense! Speaking of things that only make sense with sarcasm included, they have a Intelligence requirement, but... their I.Q. uses a different roll, so you don't know if you an qualify to play one until you roll it, but you don't know what you roll until you play it.

:psyduck:

It's a bit of circular nonsense. In any case, their Intelligence and physical Endurance is a little higher than humans, and they get all the benefits of the dog boy class plus special powers, but slightly fewer skills. And what are those special powers?

Well, the first power is to smell cancer. That is not a typo. This is clearly based off of studies that have suggested that dogs may have some ability to smell cancerous tissue, but the methodology of the studies is a little questionable. Of course, this goes along with the similarly Siembieda-penned dolphins with their ability to sonically detect diseases and track UFOs. What the gently caress, Coalition? You have dogs that can smell cancer! Certainly you can lend one or two to hospitals, but no. They also get the ability to sniff for less unusual stuff like for drugs, explosives, or bionics. But they also get the ability to "Sense Impending Natural Disasters"... electromagnetically. Mmhm.


Cujo works for us now.

Kill Hounds

May not want to let these ones around the kids.

So, these are recently engineering dogs from fighting breeds aimed at performing war crimes. No, seriously - they're trained as murder machines and sent against D-Bee villages and being told to kill everything. They're described as "aggressive, dominant, self-oriented and murderous", but only "possibly with an evil alignment". Somehow 20% of them are "Unprincipled" even though " they never hesitate at a chance to hunt, track or kill" and "The mutant has just one goal: kill!" and-

Rifts World Book 13: Lone Star posted:

In this regard, they are more animalistic: narrowly focused on their purpose (i.e. fight and kill), aggressive (be alert, fight and kill), and reasonably strong-willed (don't back down, fight and kill)!

Rifts World Book 13: Lone Star posted:

Natural, instinctive hunters and killers who love to give chase, intimidate/bully, torture, fight, maim and kill (by tearing apart their opponents).
And yet, somehow the majority are "selfish" and not "evil". :rolleyes: That aside, they're dumb, abrasive, and mean, but they're strong, agile, and tough... for S.D.C. creatures, anyway. They get some modest combat bonuses and can lift and leap a lot, but their sense of smell is reduced. They get some basic cybernetics like a clock-calendar, so they know when it's time to reap. And they get a few drawbacks:
  • They ignore pain, which means they have no idea how injured they really are.
  • They're lazy save when they get to engage in violence or challenges, and have difficulty retaining complex plans or details.
  • Kill hounds are aggressive to a fault and tend not to back down until their enemy is dead or they're restrained.
  • Go into a berserker rage where they go apeshit on their target and anybody trying to stop them from going apeshit on their target.
  • 20% have a issue where they go into sudden rages where they attack people without warning.
  • 33% have "Jekyll and Hyde" mood swings where they suddenly turn surly and moody.
I bet you're just burning to play an genocidal S.D.C. Scrappy-Doo that goes nuts on some gargoyle they can't even hurt only to be torn limb from limb, right? Are you a roleplayer or a rollplayer?

Rifts World Book 13: Lone Star posted:

"Don't worry," snarls the Kill Hound Alpha Dog with a grin, "we'll get those D-bee terrorists. You just stand ready to take care of any that happen to slip past us. You never know what you might flush out when you raid one of their nests." And chuckles, eyes sparkling in anticipation.
Next: Ride to Live! Live to Ride!

Alien Rope Burn fucked around with this message at 14:28 on Jun 10, 2017

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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

Joe Slowboat posted:

I'd just like to chime in that 'Dr. Moreau's Most Lovable PMC' would be a pretty great campaign concept in anything but Rifts. Pugmire meets Mad Max, what's not to love?

Ironclaw, Myriad Song, and maybe even Albedo (depending on tone) are RIGHT THERE for this, after all.

Dareon
Apr 6, 2009

by vyelkin

Alien Rope Burn posted:

But they also get the ability to "Sense Impending Natural Disasters"... electromagnetically. Mmhm.

This is actually a fairly solid idea of what a dog boy could do, given the reports and observations of cats and dogs reacting to earthquakes before they happen, and the current theory (Mostly still in the realm of pseudoscience, mind you, but gaining ground) that you can detect a hell of a lot through studying the earth's electromagnetic field.

How useful that ability would be in a tabletop game is another question, but this is Rifts, the game that gave us Eyeball A Fella.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 5, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!

Dareon posted:

This is actually a fairly solid idea of what a dog boy could do, given the reports and observations of cats and dogs reacting to earthquakes before they happen, and the current theory (Mostly still in the realm of pseudoscience, mind you, but gaining ground) that you can detect a hell of a lot through studying the earth's electromagnetic field.

As far as I can tell, a lot of that sort of thing is anecdotal and it's hard to test. The main issue is that animals do weird stuff all the time and people attribute it after the fact to the disaster due to it being a widespread belief, but there are far more people who don't report oddities with their pets. It's certainly possible they might react to sounds we can't hear (like the infrasonic vibrations of an earthquake) but it's obviously hard to test since we can't necessarily arrange earthquakes. Even if they do detect disasters, it seems unlikely that they necessarily know what's going on - just that something unusual or alarming is.

ED: But Rifts also uses the notion that dogs and other animals can sense ghosts and the supernatural, so science may be totally irrelevant. :v:

Alien Rope Burn fucked around with this message at 14:09 on Jun 10, 2017

Kurieg
Jul 19, 2012

RIP Lutri: 5/19/20-4/2/20
:blizz::gamefreak:
If there isn't an enclave of free war-dogs in another country that are 100% loyal to said country simply by dint of being treated like people rather than tools then some writer at rifts needs to be loving shot.

Tsilkani
Jul 28, 2013

Kurieg posted:

If there isn't an enclave of free war-dogs in another country that are 100% loyal to said country simply by dint of being treated like people rather than tools then some writer at rifts needs to be loving shot.

That would require Kevin to stop constantly having an erection for the Coalition, and considering the most recent sourcebook is Coalition States: Heroes of Humanity... well, you do the math.

Kurieg
Jul 19, 2012

RIP Lutri: 5/19/20-4/2/20
:blizz::gamefreak:
Well I did the math and it's saying Kevin needs to be shot.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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

Tsilkani posted:

That would require Kevin to stop constantly having an erection for the Coalition, and considering the most recent sourcebook is Coalition States: Heroes of Humanity... well, you do the math.

I think at a certain point if you're constantly putting your heroes as the guys with the nazi regalia you kinda stop getting the benefit of the doubt as to whether or not you are, at least, Nazi adjacent.

'He's just contrarian/tone-deaf/stupid!' only goes so far. See: GW's 40k writing.

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Tsilkani
Jul 28, 2013

I'm just thankful that Savage Rifts treats the Coalition like the monsters they are and keeps them confined to the 'monster manual', as it were.

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