Scholar's Review #53: World Book 32: Lemuria
Updated: Jan 21
Authors: Greg Diaczyk and Kevin Siembieda
Release Date: April 2012
I believe originally introduced in World Book 7: Underseas, the Lemurians were presented as a force for good battling the evil forces of the Lord of the Deep and subordinate races and allies to the Splugorth of Atlantis. This World Book finally opens the doorway to this ancient and powerful civilization, explaining their history from before the time Atlantis vanished, up until today. We get to the secrets of their society, which is based around Stone Magic and the intricacies of the Code of Life (read: DNA) that is expressed in their unique understanding of Biomancy magic, as well as the society and martial forces employed to battle the monstrous and demonic.
The Lemurians. Once roaming the Earth at the time of the Atlanteans and Nazcans, the Lemurians leveraged the use of Stone Magic and their deep knowledge of the Code of Life (i.e. DNA), allowing them to create beneficial chimeras and adapt their own physiology. When Atlantis disappeared, taking with it much of the magical energy of Earth, it left their society vulnerable to the monsters that also remained. To avoid conflict, they submerged their cities, ultimately searching for and finding a portal in the Marianas Trench to escape. The Lord of the Deep, who normally occupied this pocket dimension, was unable to stop all the Lemurians from escaping through before the portal closed, trapping him in a magic-deprived Earth; the Lemurians took stock of their loses. When the apocalypse erupted and magic flooded Earth anew, the Lemurians escaped this pocket dimension and returned to Earth, now more hostile than ever.
Lemurian People. We discover the Lemurians were once human, but through millennia of Biomancy they have genetically engineered themselves to function both on land in the water and are organized in a caste-based system. We are given some hints to their military organization and some upcoming OCCs. Lemurian technology is very heavily biased to magical devices, relying on Biomancy and Stone Magic and very alien to anyone outside their society. Not all is roses, however, as indicated with the Mauian Order, a group of Lemurians devoted to destruction of True Atlanteans for a series of reasons (truly evil sect).
Lemurian Floating Cities. Using the City of Mu as a template for GMs, there is a detailed presentation of what these cities look like, and how they are organized. These things are truly massive, with eight ziggurats along the outer ring, forming a **radius** of 4-8 miles (6.4 to 12.8 km). The inner and central ziggurats’ functions are covered, along with defences, other locations and pertinent details (e.g. no less than one Tree of Life *PER* ziggurat). The concept of “Lemuria” is very much based around these structures; there is no land-locked or fixed location and they hold this very secretly, even from allies and friends. There is an interesting entry regarding the Easter Island Moai Guardian Statues.
Lemurian Agriculture & Food. A well done piece on how they produce and hunt for food, including a series of oceanic fauna shaped by Biomancy.
Aquatic Races. A series of additional D-Bee entries for use in an oceanic campaign.
Ichthylean. Appearing like half-man and half-fish.
Junk Crab. A man-sized Hermit Crab from another dimension with a penchant to pile junk of their shell towering 10-15 feet tall. Includes rules for a Junk Crab PC to create their own “Junk Shell,” complete with defensive weapons. Very interesting entry.
Lemurians. The eponymous RCC, with very detailed direction on OCC selection as well.
Merans. Basically your mermaids and mermen.
New and Notable Skills. Not much to report here other than the blindingly obvious. New Aquatic Skills that flesh out across the Skill Categories (e.g. Lore, Languages, Piloting and Aquatic “Horsemanship” skills, Weapon Proficiencies), as well as a secret and restrictive Hand to Hand: Kapu Kuailua (Demon Combat).
Lemurian OCCs of Note. Honestly, did you expect a book about a brand new society to not include a series of OCCs?
Biomancer Gene-Mage. Much more advanced than the Jungle Elves of South America and benevolent than the Splugorth Bio-Wizardry, this practitioner of magic copmes with (literally) pages of special abilities.
Birdman Warrior. Elite warrior-defenders of Lemuria and Easter Island, the few allowed to pilot Moai Stone Guardians.
Oceanic Guardsman. The infantry shock troops and sentries for Lemuria.
Sea Sentinel. Lemurian equivalent to naval fighter pilots, formed as a reaction to the Reachers from the Deep. They have an ability similar to the Cyber-Knight’s Zen Combat abilities, which is a nightmare for any GM.
Serpent Hunter. Your “sea cavalry” as they ride aquatic lifeforms and perform knightly things.
Lemurian Scout. Your Lemurian Wilderness Scout with internal class specialization options.
Spouter. Lemurian master psychic with a new discipline of hydro-kinetic psionic powers; includes the psionic powers.
Lemurian Biomancy Spells. A significant list of new spells. Unlike RUE or the Book of Magic, where they list spells by Level, this one is presented in, ultimately, one of the most confusing and off-putting lists I’ve seen to date.
Invocations available to Biomancers. A list of spells that *is* presented in a manner similar to RUE and Book of Magic. Phew….
New Ocean Magic Spells. Another 8 spells, presented in the same damned format at Lemurian Biomancy. Honestly, even for a list of only eight spells, it’s just… bad.
Biomancy Bio-Armour. These living constructs have a symbiotic relationship with the pilot, and has several important features detailed herein. Basically your underwater power armour (and you thought you’d get a book without *some* kind of technology).
Avian Bio-Armour. Exclusive to Birdmen Warriors.
Barnacle Bio-Armour. An unusual suit, basically a mesh covered in 3D4 x 10 barnacles that can be sourced for PPE or charged and fired like a grenade.
Chitin Bio-Armour. So, imagine you’re told to stand still while a cloud of insects completely surrounds you, magically imbued to secret a goop that, after 20 minute ritual, solidifies into a plate armour. Includes a HF roll to pass or the ritual fails, and I guess you win the chance to start over? Perhaps my phobia of insects is influencing my bias here, but, uh, nope!
Coral Bio-Armour. Much like the Chitin Armour, a ritual requires the wearer to be surrounded by a substance drawn from a coral reef, which solidifies into a suit of armour.
Crustacean Bio-Armour. The tankiest version of the Bio-Armour entries. Think the Chitin Armour process, but with crabs and other crustaceans.
Dolphin Bio-Armour. Almost exclusive to Scouths and Sea Sentinels. Requires the participation and concurrence of Dolphins, creating a suit that includes a mermaid-like dolphin tail.
Kelp Bio-Armour. Like the Coral Bio-Armour, but with kelp….
Leviathan Bio-Armour. Exclusive to Serpent Hunters. Much like the Dolphin-Armour, this suit requires assistance from the Thrall Sea Serpent.
Shark Bio-Armour. Like the Dolphin Armour, a pack of sharks surrounds the individual. The ritual is a little divergent and has some possible side-effects detailed in the Combat Frenzy/Bloodlust special ability that I thought were a well thought addition.
Wood Bio-Armour. You guessed it, find a forest or large trees and get covered in bark that turns into MDC.
Wave Strider. More a personal suit of body armour, it is also created using Biomancy.
Lemurian Bio-Weapons. A series of hand weapons and ranged weapons. No surprises here.
Bio-Construct Symbiotes. A series of Biomancy designed implements and equipment, with some truly ingenious and interesting entries.
Lemurian Transportation. A variety of entries, including underwater “jetpacks,” and combat vehicles, including a few submarine variants.
Enemies of Lemuria. Starting with a very succinct and well-appreciated map.
Milu. A crab-like race, who employ a form of necromancy and worship of an alien vampire intelligence. Gives the stats to create a Milu and their Milu-Vampires. Includes an entry for Davey Jones, Master Vampire and demigod General of the Milu who is the linchpin to the Milu power on Rifts Earth.
Other Enemies. Does a run through the normal suspects (e.g. Lord of the Deep, Splugorth and their oceanic minions), and much like most World Books presents the diplomatic relations with surrounding countries.
Exotic Creatures of the Sea. Over a dozen new creatures and monsters. Includes the Blue Otter (cute beings that are great as familiars), Death Hunter Fish (enemies of the Milu, hence the name, Giant Sea Slug, Ichthyosaur (mix of giant crocodile and dolphin), Jonah’s Fish (Lemurians use as a covert APC!), Kilmoran Eels, Line Rays, Mega Rays, Narcassai Swordfish, Sabre-Toothed Sea Lions, Sea Dragon Turtles (not true dragons), Storm Crabs (like, woah, these be big crabs that act like sentient tank-pets(!) for Lemuria), Terror Eels and Twisted Treasure Seahorse (another great entry for a familiar).
Sea Monsters and War Steeds
Sea Serpents/Monsters/Steeds (all Biomancy engineered). Panther Shark (a four-legged shark that functions both on land in the water – yeah, you read that right), Sea Lance (dolphin with seal feet, a pair of wings and a unicorn horn – yes, you read that correctly as well), Sea Saber (mix of manta and sabre-toothed lion), Sea Whip (an Orca merged with a barrel-chested feline of some sort), Seal Serpent (take a seal, make it super large and then super loooong), Serpent Seahorse (giant mastiff merged with seahorse appearance – elegance meets ferocity, just like the brochure promised), Shadow Serpent (not a dragon), Thrall Sea Serpent (billed as an aquatic T-Rex) and Tiger Serpent (yep, Tiger-like head and feet merged with a giant seal body).
Sea Dragons. Most include rules for creating Hatchling or Adult versions. Includes the Leviathan, Ghost Dragon, Hydros Dragon, Octo Dragon and Sand Dragon.
Current Assessment (7/10). This was a relatively recent acquisition, as I realized I had not collected all the World Books and was rapidly approaching this one. In all honesty, were I not doing this fulsome review of the Rifts library, it may have remained as a curiosity I would "eventually get to." In retrospect, that assessment did this book a huge disservice. Introducing a new society into Rifts is always a bit of a risk: too much detail to be pedantic, not enough to leave readers questioning the gaping holes; this book definitely fits squarely between the two and does so with flair. The history and the society are presented in a manner that Game Masters and players alike will enjoy, with enough detail to make a great addition to a campaign. They have a unique way of doing things and a niche place in Rifts Earth and you get that reading the book. There is the familiar breakdown and order to the sections, supported by some truly inspiring artwork, particularly from Chuck Walton. There were a few comical moments during the review that I had to reread to be sure I correctly understood things, but these each reinforced the overarching theme of the society (regardless how much a hard no the Chitin Armour would be for me personally). The examples of different chimera results from Biomancy left me wondering if this was art informing text or vice versa (that Sea Lance, yo - legitimate head scratcher, LOL). Truly, the book's only failing (besides some really eye-watering formatting choices) is the relatively niche applicability to Game Masters' campaigns, dependent on how much they wish to leverage the oceanic setting. Otherwise, this is a really solid entry into the Rifts line-up, supported by great art and worth the read, even if you don't use it as a primary source.
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