Scholar's Review #6: RIFTS Sourcebook 2: Mechanoids
Updated: Jan 15
Scholar’s Review #6: RIFTS Sourcebook 2: Mechanoids
Author: K. Siembieda
Release Date: 1992
Released a couple of years after the first RIFTS: RPG, Sourcebook 2: Mechanoids (SB: 2) is the vehicle for Kevin to fold the Mechanoids menace into the RIFTS setting. The source material is largely based on the original Mechanoids Invasion Trilogy, converted into the MDC setting and with a storyline advance. The Mechanoids make for a great enemy.
Premonitions. A plea from Lazlo about an impending doom to RIFTS Earth (like, another one?) that needs the collective humanity’s response to tackle. A bit of grimdark to set the tone. Presents the CS reaction and a Doomsday cult that could be used in a quick campaign.
ARCHIE-3 & Hagan. The pair bring a Shifter into their lair and as he opens up a rift, Mechanoids pour out. Realizing the error of their ways (and that these interlopers are crazy powerful, but more crazy), they start the guerrilla campaign to stymie the Mechanoids invasion. Hagan has a new power armour and robot, along with more ARCHIE robots to assist, all brilliantly illustrated by Kevin Long.
Aberrant Mechanoids (AbM – GM Option). So, basically, an AbM is represented by the models depicted in the original publication. They are considerably underpowered compared to their more diabolical newer-model cousins, but provide an interesting counter-point to the ideas presented in the premonitions segment.
The Evil Mechanoids. Brilliantly illustrated by Newton Ewell, these suckers pack a punch and can take it on the chin with the best of them. Bearing in mind that the MDC values are for absolutely monstrously large and tall beings. By example, the Oracle with Main Body of 500 MDC is 13m x 13m x 40m, or about 4 standard shipping containers side by side, four tall and four long (64 total), and the Type One Brute is moderately comparable to the UAR-1 Enforcer for size and threat.
Adventures. Four different adventure mini-modules and a number of random encounter charts. Some good fodder for adventure ideas here.
Upon Release (8/10). Wow, these guys are tough as nails and powerful to boot! The adventure module provides an interesting piece to play, and a great way to introduce the Mechanoids. My players certainly did not enjoy tangling with them. I honestly love the introduction of more ARCHIE-3 pieces and found that to be the most enjoyable piece to the book.
Current Assessment (7/10). As I recreate my impressions on the releases thus far, this one stands out as a particular piece of power creep. The Evil Mechanoids are definitely something that could fit the bill for the premonitions, and they hold up well against the newer releases; likely made them that much more over the top during initial release. As a module for storytelling and campaign development, it certainly provides a few good strings to tug on and incorporate or begin a new campaign with. I still love how ARCHIE-3 keeps reappearing.
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