Scholar's Review #11: RIFTS World Book 6: South America
Updated: Jan 15
Author: C.J. Carella
Release Date: 1994
The book does something really well, it drives straight to the point and accomplishes an overview of the northern half of the continent. It delved into enough background detail, weapons, tech and inter-state politics to give a GM a really good basis to plan a series of adventures. It does what Africa failed to do, primarily by allowing the continent to be explored in more depth by dividing it into two books; essentially a single massive manuscript packaged in two parts. This really did it justice.
Overview of South America. A nicely done review of the notes sent from a Professor Augusto Cudbury, a Lazlo-based scientist on expedition to explore South America. Much in the style of Eric Tarn, has a much grittier feel to the text. I thought this was fabulously presented.
Columbia. Human-led country, though not completely supremacist (Dwarves as full citizens due to Techno-Wizardry skills), that ironically takes up most of present day Venezuela. Historical overview into PA and the internecine war with the vampires to their West. Led by 6 feudal baron families. Presents Anti-Monsters (magical graft of bionics, found on the cover) as weapons, armour and vehicles.
Vampire Kingdom of Haktla. Four master vampires running around 685,000 vampires, slaves, and D-Bees, including Brodkil. Under a mutual aid agreement with Enumu, King of Drought (a demon lord). Expansion hesitates due to 4 Horsemen threat, as well as kingdoms of southern South America, as well as Atlantis.
Pirate Kingdoms. Heart of the old Amazon, largely slave traders/raiders with ties to Splugorth. Really a wild-west of pirates and boat-gangs. Kind of like Waterworld, just sucs a hell of a lot less.
Kryang Land. Slaver pirate band at war with Columbia. Led by Kryand, a demonic D-Bee who is considered an ally of convenience by Atlantis.
Slavers Port. Atlantis outpost in South America; major commerce! Reviews Sailor and Pirate OCC, as well as others available from other books. A nice way to flesh out the Splugorth influence across Atlantic seabord.
Land of 1000 Islands
Kingdom of Bahia. Magic-based monarchy with Voodoo magic. Close trading ties with Columbia. Notes on military, Voodoo OCC and Loas Spirit Entities, which I thought were really nicely done.
Maga Islands. Centre of learning and magic, made me think of a South American Lazlo. Humans and D-Bees live together, primarily influenced by jungle elves and their Biomancy and Elemental magic. Governed by a council of psionic trees… A bit of a hippie commune vibe. Jungle Elves OCC, Biomancy Trees and items, Biomancy OCC and magic.
Kingdom of Logarto. Lizardmen refugees with population around 2 million under the thumb of a Splugorth-directed dragon (20th level dragon, 14th level Psychic). Lots of dragons and reptilians, including numerous Lizard Mages. Ignored by Atlantis in favour of Europe and Africa. Details on huge army and equipment, including much Jurassic Park influenced power armour and robots. Worst offender is a Kevin Long illustration involving a T-Rex and a tank.
El Dorado. Legendary cities were actually Atlantean colonies during fall of Atlantis. Neatly presented.
Manoa. The original El Dorado, with around 2 million people. Amazonians and Atlanteans forged alliance and created an oasis among chaos. Left as magic ebbed, ripped back during apocalypse. Become the Atlantean Clan Skellian stronghold looking to rebuild and reclaim Atlantis. Amazon RCC and Atlantean Monster Hunter tattoo OCC. Oh yeah, more Chiang-ku dragons.
Omagua. Jaguar people of approximatelt 1.5 million persons. Based on Project Achilles to create mutant super-soldiers, provides pre- and post-apocalypse review. Several RCCs including Felinois, Flying Tiger, Flame Panther and more. Werejaguars/panthers and a triumvirate of “cat gods.”
Cibola, Guilded City. Around 1.4 million people controlled by an alien intelligence called the Inix. Slave society with city highlights, some demonic D-Bee RCCS, overview of weapons, power armour and vehicles, as well as magic potions and drugs they specialize.
Rain Forest. Quick overview of wilderness not laid claim by the above entries; Brazil, Bolivia and Peru. A couple of forgettable OCCs presented.
Monsters of Amazon. A small selection of beasts including an interesting take on zombies, monster squid, demon manta ray and Tusked Magicians.
Ships of the Sea. Splugorth vessels big (really big, like 28,000 MDC big) and small, providing a nice addition that fleshes out Splugorth pre-eminence in the Atlantic across both hemispheres.
BlackShip Scenario. A self-contained adventure for GMs to run if they so choose.
Initial Impression (4/10). In all honesty, a quick skim of a friend’s copy left me wanting nothing to do with this book. South America held no interest for me and I didn’t grasp the content C.J. Carella was trying to sell. It was a hard pass for me at the time, right up there with England and Africa as uninteresting for me.
Current Impression (7/10). This was a really well put together piece of writing. The interactions between the states under the threat/support of Atlantis really provides a medium for GMs to manipulate and create engaging scenarios, from one-off adventures to longer campaigns. There isn’t anything over the top except for a couple of supernatural/alien intelligences (oh, and one mondo dragon), but overall I was very surprisingly impressed with my current reading. A really diverse litany of states to play with. After reviewing WB5: Triax and the NGR, my hopes were high (please not a repeat of Africa). Well this one delivered a template the really proved why WB4: Africa did not live up to expectations. Artwork in this book is solid, too!
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