Scholar's Review #16: Rifts World Book 11: Coalition War Campaign
Author: Kevin Siembieda
Release Date: 1996
Following the advancement of the setting plot line after World Book 10: Juicer Uprising, the Coalition States get a major inject into its military. It gives a fairly comprehensive overview of the major movements between the Coalition and the other major players across North America and within its sphere of influence. Continuing the plot, the military might of the Coalition is awakening to start flexing their borders and taking control of humanity’s destiny. Whether you love them or hate them, they are a major player that can provide players and GMs alike a great resource to manipulate for campaigns, adventures, and character ideas, not limited to the wilderness but also within the Burbs and other CS territories.
Prelude to War. A largely narrative segment, it provides the Coalition’s perspective on the development of its war machine, starting with the Campaign of Unity with Arkansas now joining the CS, and the secession of Free Quebec. Erin Tarn’s entry provides her opinion to the speech, and what I believe is the first time we specifically reference to Adolf Hitler in comparison to Karl Prosek; let’s be honest, we all said it and knew it to be true.
Declared Enemies of the Coalition States. A list of NPC characters and organizations that the CS has marked as the highest order of priority for capture or destruction:
Erin Tarn. Rogue Scholar extraordinaire (14th level)
Sir Winslow Thorpe. Erin Tarn’s Cyber-Knight Protector (10th level)
Naruni Enterprises. In addition to recognizing Ishpeming and Manistique as independent kingdoms with a non-aggression and trade pact, these aliens have fallen afoul with the CS in the post-Juicer Uprising meta.
Free Quebec. Well, they never did give up their Glitter Boys and they did vote overwhelmingly to secede. Nobody likes a break-up.
Federation of Magic. Colour me surprised.
Tolkeen. Like nobody saw this one coming.
Others. Provides a bit of an overview of ARCHIE-03, Atlantis, Cyber-Knights, Lazlo and others.
Coalition Allies. A list of organizations and countries formally recognized as being “part of the club” now.
Ishpeming and Manistique Imperium. Goes into more detail on the new BF-status they have with Chi-town and the CS.
Others. Provides some additional information on places like CS Iron Heart, CS Lone Star, CS Missouri, Golden Age Weaponsmiths, Triax and others.
Coalition Law. A segment that runs over the different laws and penalties for breaking them, city access laws, as well as Chi-Town and CS slang. Good background or reference material for a GM.
The Coalition Army. This details the new expansion that the CS military is rolling out to take on North America writ-large. It provides the overall hierarchy (from Emperor down), regional state forces, and other components of the military like the CS Intelligence Division (CSID)Rifts Control Study Group (RCSG) and others.
Modern Warfare. A sub-section that attempts to provide some more detail on CS strategy and tactics, some standard mission, indoctrination, etc.
Game Master Tips. A section on The Coalition Good or Evil? Provides some additional commentary on the CS as a society, the people that live in it, and how they view themselves and those that oppose them. There are some good role-playing tips, as well as some great resources for players looking to play a character from the CS, such as the CS rank reference chart, uniforms, medals and awards, Shell Shock rules (optional) and a bunch of new skills. The serving officer in me cringes each time I flip to the diagram of a soldier saluting from the waist up, yet standing at-ease waist down.
Coalition Miliary OCCs. A laundry list of new OCCs that give a CS player a plethora to choose from now. There are some really interesting ones that likely won’t see much play time; looking at you, RCSG Scientist.
Coalition War Machine. The meat of the book, we have a boat-load of tech. About 100 pages worth.
CS Weapons. Hand-held weapons from pistols to missiles and vibro-weapons.
CS Body Armour. The new body armour, brilliantly rendered by Newton Ewell.
Power Armour. A slew of new vehicles for the picking.
Skelebots. A slew of new Skelebots, once again showcasing some great artwork.
Robots. Some reprints, but really an expanded line of heavy bashers and shooters.
CS Combat Vehicles. Tanks, Infantry Fighting Vehicles, Mobile Fortress, Aircraft, Patrol Vehicles and Cars, Rocket Cycles, Helicopters and Jet Fighters.
Coalition Police and Law Enforcement. Provides an overview of the Internal Security Specialists (ISS) and its sub-division the Non-Human Tactical Strike and Eradication Team (NTSET) and all their related OCCs.
The Burbs. Several pages devoted to a précis of what it is like to live and die in the Burbs. There is some good information here for running a campaign in this setting.
Denizens. Some D-Bees that one assumes are typically not hunted down to extinction, including the N’mbyr Gorilla, Tittvol Sword Fist, Quick Flex Alien, Vanguard Brawler, Trimadore, Kremin Cyborg.
Monsters. A few beasts, including the Devil Sloth, Vampire Flat Worm and the ever improbable Spiny Ravager (look at the measurements, then Google a semi-trailer’s; go ahead, I’ll wait).
The Prosek Regime. Some interesting NPC character sheets, including Karl Prosek, his son Joseph, Generals Cabot and Underhill (chuckle, that name). The portraits are absolutely stunning, by Martin McKenna.
Adventures and Settings. Some HLS and other information to bulwark your campaign.
Upon Release (9/10). When this book first released, I was really excited to see what the new CS war machine would look like, and boy, was I ever satisfied! I recall around this time, online dissent around the CS military was that there didn’t seem to be any advancement in technology, that it was dated. Well, the artwork and the feel of the book really drove home the concept of the Coalition States, a slumbering giant of technology and xenophobia awakening to flex its might, expand its territory and influence in North America. The fact that this book seemed to replicate the successful format and presentation of World Book 5: Triax & the NGR did not escape me, and I was equally impressed with the CWC. The expansion of options, robots and PA, as well as the background and GM information really worked for me. That and the artwork throughout was brilliant.
Current Assessment (9/10). Not having read World Book 10: Juicer Uprising until very recently, I have to admit there were elements of this book I missed on the first go around. I still shake my head at the images of saluting personnel while standing “at ease,” and several of the entries are likely the result of artwork submissions more than anything else, but they still evoke the atmosphere. The retelling of the Campaign of Unity and the socio-political movements that it caused still suggests a sense of foreboding around the burgeoning alliances and enmities that are coming to the fore. This book is really targeted to fans of the CS (and those that love to hate them I guess) and GMs in particular. There is a smorgasbord of opportunity here for a GM to create a number of campaigns and adventures, no matter where in North America you may be. To some extent, this could also include dimensional travellers or those with ties to the NGR, given several paragraphs throughout. If your setting is in North America, this World Book makes a strong case as a mandatory buy for your library.
Continue to Scholar's Review #17 (World Book #12: Psyscape) (forthcoming)
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