• Francois DesRochers

Scholar’s Review #52: RIFTS World Book 31 – Triax 2


Author: Taylor White, Brandon Aten and Kevin Siembieda

Release Date: April 2010

GENERAL


It has been five years of in-game time since the first break-through introduction into the New German Republic and the Triax machines of war that has led humanity’s fight against the demonic and monstrous invaders. A lot has happened in that time, and the factories of Triax haven’t stopped, while the government of the NGR has made significant efforts to forge alliances with other human nation-state actors across the region; and they have a plan. Somewhat akin to World Book 11: Coalition War Campaign, this book advances the narrative and presents the major muscle movements for the past five or six years. If adventuring across Europe is your thing, well this book is a really good addition for you and your group then; if big, stompy robots and scads of technology is your thing, then this book is going to put a smile on your face.


SECTIONS


The New German Republic. A bit of a review of the historical narrative that defines the region since the onset of the apocalypse, and how the Triax/NGR dynamic has transformed since this human nation came under siege. A major events timeline gives way to a more detailed review of the War Against the Gargoyles from 104-109 PA. The Triax/NGR technology has been the cornerstone advantage that kept them from being completely overrun. Several key events, scientific advances, assistance from unknown sources and allies, and strategic campaigns to clear Poland, Germany, Switzerland and France demonstrate that NGR offensives that have put the Gargoyles on the back foot, giving NGR a measure of respite. These successes are not without setbacks either, as the Gargoyles have made several key victories, including assassination of the NGR President; as the CEO of Triax is the Vice-President, she is immediately conferred full presidential powers. With a more pronounced alliance with 30,000 Coalition States troops flown into France, and the Polish human settlements, the Gargoyle Empire has splintered.


The NGR Military. As one would imagine, in such an environment of such constant conflict, enacting full militarization, the military has become a major entity in the NGR society. Bounties for monsters and the Black Market are reviewed.


The NGR Government. The Executive Branch and role of the President, as well as the foreign relations we know from previous books. Several major cities are detailed and nicely presented on a near-full page map. We then learn more about Denmark, the Autobahn (including a randomized encounter table) and Railbahn. There is an interesting section on the average NGR citizen and NGR D-Bee, as well how they feel on the war effort, alliances with the CS, magic, psychics and mutants, and staple foods.


NGR & D-Bees. The German people want D-Bees neither in their society nor on Earth writ-large. However, there are all D-Bee NGR units and in industrial service, which certainly gives GMs and players an opportunity to fold in an adventure. To be sure, they certainly have *fewer* rights than human counterparts. Of note, we finally get a detailed overview of General Rasheen, presented in the form of an interview transcript.


Triax Industries. A short history of the corporation from before the apocalypse, through to disasters that consumed the Earth, and the myriad of challenges that occurred thereafter. There are some interesting items here:

  • Energy Drinks. A variety of energy drinks (bonuses, penalties and chances of addictiveness)

  • Triax Commercial Vehicles. Cars, trucks, and hover vehicles entries.

  • RRK. We discover another commercial entity and a few vehicle entries

  • WaffenTek. A few vehicles entries from another non-Triax company.

  • Vehicle Upgrades. Returning to Triax, a laundry list for several pages with upgrades one can purchase.

  • Triax Domestic Robots. Various robot drones to accomplish domestic tasks; Housekeeper, Chauffeur, Landscaper/Farmer, Personal Assistant, and pets.

Triax Weapons. Well, it wouldn’t be a Triax book without this section now, would it? A series of new and upgraded pistols, rifles and heavy weapons; includes a section on Robot and Power Armour weapons. Again, like the previous section, we have WaffenTek entries, before returning to Triax model body armour, and pages (and pages and pages) of more power armour and robot entries, new Jaeger Weapons Systems, and Robot Drones.


Triax Robot Vehicles. Did you really think you were going to get a book like this, and not find yourself staring at a bunch of new model robots? We go back (yet again) to more robot designs, several of which depart from the normative NGR aesthetic, with quadruped-styled designs among others. Make no mistake, if you want big stompy robots, the NGR does big stompy robots.


NGR Combat Vehicles. A hover tank is followed by a couple of utility aircraft. Not much else really to tell.


XML Cybernetic Airframes. Introduces the Cyborg Combat Pilot, which get hardwired into an airframe and can accomplish more than a normal pilot. Introduces several weapon pods that each frame can choose to add on to its basic load out as well.


NGR Mobile Bases and Deployment Pods. A series of different function pods, effectively box cars dropped from high altitude; includes things like Battle Gear, Bunker, Power Armour, Sensor Pods, among others. A neat idea that really reminds me of Space Marine drop pods, only more for gear and equipment.


Harbingers of War. Giant production machines of war, the five land-based and one super-secret naval superstructure, are the largest pieces of human military hardware out there for the NGR.

  • NGR Undertow (the naval version). With its gobsmacking crew of 6,000 personnel and capacity to house another 35,000 personnel. The bridge section alone has 20,000 MDC, which is a paltry fraction of the 100,000 MDC for the Main Body. Bear in mind the dimensions of this thing. As one contemplates the dry dock requirements to build ships of this size, it takes some effort to suspend your reality and just remember this is an RPG.

  • Mobile Infantry Strike Base. Originally presented in Sourcebook 3: Mindwerks. The updated versions are substantive constructs on their own, but when compared to the naval model, this thing strikes me as simply a glorified, miniaturized version of its big brother – with tracks and wheels. Each of the three segment options are detailed.

IMPRESSIONS


Current Assessment (7/10). Something I only recently acquired and read through, I appreciate the approach the authors took in advancing the timeline and giving a narrative to follow. It isn’t as prescriptive as the Siege on Tolkeen series, but certainly gives a GM some major muscle movements to play with and use to create, merge or adapt their own campaigns, which is a solid bonus. The idea that technological advances and the “study of one’s enemy” has provided humanity the chance to fight back and carve a more stable position is not something new, but I appreciate that it wasn’t a completely one-sided affair. The NGR and allies have made advances, but have suffered loss as well. As a whole though, I found this book wanting, compared to World Book 5. This may be simply need some expectation management, but I found, as a whole, this one a shadow of its predecessors (I include Sourcebook 3 in this comparison). Don’t get me wrong, there is a lot to work with here, but I found the robot, vehicle and overall design departed from the aesthetic I was expecting. Then there is the NGR Undertow, and its place as yet another Rifts McGuffin – those dimensions, yo. The artwork throughout supports, but I found myself relatively unmoved until we get to page 108 and the updated armour (Michael Wilson?). There were a number of other pieces I would have associated more with Northern Gun vice Triax (e.g. Longstrike and Rainmaker). As a follow-up for any European-based campaign, this is easily a definite buy for you, as it presents a great series of narrative elements to play with, drawing from a number of other sources (e.g. Atlantis, England, Africa, Underseas). Overall, it’s a solid enough entry, just not quite packing the punch I was expecting or hoping for.

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