top of page
  • Writer's pictureFrancois DesRochers

Scholar's Review #6: RIFTS Sourcebook 2: Mechanoids

Updated: Jan 6

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-03 & 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 are represented by the models and designs 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.

  • AbM Brain. Crafty strategists, but can be cruel and "unfeeling" as required.

  • AbM Runner. Effectively the commander and coordinator of troops, this jack-of-all-trades handles sciences, electronics, and mechanics.

  • AbM Wasp. Intelligent predator that loves the thrill of the hunt and kill.

  • AbM Brute. Designed to command lesser Mechanoids and robots.

  • AbM Exterminator. One of the more aggressive and combat-oriented AbM.

  • AbM Seeker Pod. Originally designed to accompany the Exterminator, they are perfect for espionage and reconnaissance.

  • AbM Tunnel Crawler. Designed for hunting and extermination.

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.

  • Overlord. Free thinker and commander.

  • Oracle. Uncharacteristic compassion to life, including humans. Also loves art, music and creativity. So, the bohemian of the bunch.

  • Brain (and Multi-Brain Combat Vehicle). The mad scientists of the bunch.

  • Runner. Master engineers with a penchant for torturing humanoids. Nasty bugger.

  • Brute - Type 1. A walking tank bristling with ranged weapons.

  • Brute - Type 2. Bruiser with detachable upper portion to compensate for lower speed and mobility compared to other models.

  • Wasp. Intelligent, aggressive and cunning aerial predator.

  • Exterminator. Trigger-happy combat junkie of the group.

  • Seeker Pod. Often partners with the Exterminator; has similar outlook on combat.

  • Tunnel Crawler. Designed to hunt and exterminate humanoids. Sadistic, merciless.

  • Mantis. Specializes in repairs, mining and construction. Don't let that fool you, once you look at the weapon systems it is capable of using.

  • Octupus - Type 1. The medical doctor and cybernetic specialist; uses old body style.

  • Octopus - Type 2. Upgraded body, same function.

Mechanoid Robots. Not satisfied with just replicating their cybernetic dominance, they also created a number of minion robots to assist them.

  • Thinman. Humanoid in form, it functions as a cannon fodder troop in support to Mechanoid extermination protocols. Note: Is the black figure highlighted in the cover art.

  • Runt Combat Robot. Standing just over 4 feet tall, assists Thinmen getting into smaller spaces. Still, a combat threat.

  • Runt Repair Unit. Hovers around to do exactly as advertised. Will attack humanoids on sight, so not to single-minded as you may think.

  • Assault Probe. Designed to prowl around man-sized spaces and kill; only function.

  • Skimmer. Fast, deadly, disposable aerial robot used for recon.

  • Weevil. Another reconnaissance robot used for perimeter defence/surveys.

Spider Fortress. I can't overstate how big this thing is. Standing at 1600 feet (485 m) and over 850 feet (260 m) in diameter, and carries hundreds of Mechanoids.

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.

Return to All Posts

301 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page