• Francois DesRochers

Scholar's Review #12: Rifts World Book 7: Underseas

Updated: May 16


Author: K. Siembieda & C.J. Carella

Release Date: 1995

GENERAL


This book takes a massive leap from the previous World Books. The ocean is a massive and vast setting, one that dwarfs all continents. This book provides a great deal of useful information, races, OCCs, weapons, gear, and above all a compelling setting for story lines. It gives some clear nuggets for the movement of the overall plot line and what is occurring across Rifts Earth.


SECTIONS


Magic Triangles. In addition to the Bermuda Triangle, we have five others scattered across the globe (three in each hemisphere). Random encounter tables galore, including encounters for deep-sea adventures, Dead Man Pools (underwater nexus sites) and nexus effects underwater.


Creatures of the Deep. Some unique and interesting monsters, numbering about a dozen. Includes the Dragon Ray, Giant Octopus and Squids, Lorica Wraith, Sharks (!), Storm Riders, Stridjon and others. Also includes a Genesplicer Random Creation Table, which doubles as a deep-sea demon generator if you take it that route.


Lord of the Deep. Based in the Marianas Trench, we have another godlike alien intelligence with 500,000 MDC. Yeah, and moving on….. Includes a few minions such as the Devil Shark, the Naut’Yll, Psiren and a Cult that worships the Lord of the Deep. Did I mention it has 500k in MDC?


Whale Singers. Good guys formed by the fusing of humans with ocean dwelling animals. They roam the waters across the globe in search of evil, and the Lord of the Deep, one day. An interesting concept, with RCCs for Dolphins, Orca and Whales, as well as the Whale Singer OCC and unique Spellsong magic. Also has an Ocean Wizard and Sea Druid OCC, leading into the Ocean Magic, adapting current spells into ones that make sense under water.


Dolphins and Cetaceans. Dolphins and friends (Orcas and Whales) presented as an RCC, as well as power armour built by Tritonia and New Navy. Yeppers, dolphin mecha.


Tritonia. Artificial island in the Pacific escapes death and destruction, watches the world burn. A slightly utopian city now major trading post in the mid-Pacific. Presents OCCs and RCCs of this D-Bee accepting “floating New Lazlo,” and some combat gear: guns, armour, power armour and vehicles.


Nemo-2 and New Navy. Based on a re-Rifts super submersible carrier, they ride in and fight the good fight for the sake of good old pre-Rifts values. Led by Captain Nemo-2 (interesting origin story), has the OCCs and RCCs to play a campaign based on these guys. Details their various weapons, armour, vehicles, power armour and the larger ships, including the Ticonderoga (a cool 20,000 MDC Main Body).


Human Info and Equipment. Salvage Expert OCC and provides stats for several lists of watercraft and vessels, environmental armour and power armour and vehicles.


Naut’Yll. A militaristic alien race in the southern Atlantic that relies heavily on magic and techno-wizardry, trying to make a place for themselves. Provides several OCCs and a uniqie Korallyte Shaping magic system. They have no love for the Splugorth but seemingly will ally themselves with anyone to gain an advantage. A series of entries for weapons, power armour and submersible vehicles.


Horune Pirates. Not the pirates you find in any Disney movie, these guys pillage and scavenge for a good time. They leverage a willing subservience to the Splugorth as their only real ally. The Horune RCC is detailed, as well as their weapons and technology (power armour and ships).


Atlantis Underseas. Short provision of Kittani weapons and armour they use to maintain their power in and around Atlantis. Highlight for me is the Splugorth Sea Skimmer.


Top Secret NGR Military Data. Some super-secret tech the NGR is making in hopes of turning the tides with the Gargoyle Empire and New Phoenix Empire. Various weapons, power armour and vehicles culminates with the NGR submersible carrier (each with a cool 20,000 MDC Main Body).


IMPRESSIONS


Upon Release (6/10). From the very beginning, this was largely a book bought to keep the collection whole. I didn’t see much use for it aside from the odd monster or a section tangentially associated with my campaigns. The setting was well enough presented, artwork solid in support. I think the Lord of the Deep and the utopian escape a lot of the major characters experienced turned me off more than anything; did I mention before the 500,000 MDC for the Lord of the Deep?


Current Assessment (8/10). Re-reading this book, I realize I sold it short the first time through. As a stand-alone setting, this book gives a really flavourful resource for GMs and players alike. A variety of playable classes and enemies alike are presented, with some annoying vague references to the Lemuria book that crops up now and again; each time presented, they were a vague force of power that dealt a significant smack down to those that needed it. A massive setting, taken in consideration of WB4: Africa, this one provides a great deal of information for the GM to leverage in campaign design. There are some great stories to be told from an ocean’s perspective, with easy tie in to most of the books presented thus far. A solid read, even if you never run an ocean campaign. The artwork, a variety of artists supporting this time around, are largely solid and do a great job capturing the essence of the setting. My only beef remains the Lord of the Deep.


Continue to Scholar's Review #13 (World Book #8 South America 2) (forthcoming)

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