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  • Writer's pictureFrancois DesRochers

Scholar’s Review #68: Sourcebook: Shemarrian Nation


Author: Josh Sinsapaugh

Release Date: 2009


GENERAL


Ever since the first glimpse into ARCHIE-03 back in Rifts Sourcebook 1, more so after the revised Sourcebook 1 (introduced the Republicans), the Shemarrian Warriors have been a mainstay fixture throughout the series. Throughout the development of the North American setting of Rifts Earth, we have been glimpses and updates to the enigma. For those not in the know, they were presented as a D-Bee race that roamed the Eastern Seaboard, and made for a great encounter entry for GMs looking to spice things up. Given the Monst-Rex mounts and the damage dealing rifles they wielded, they were a definite threat to any party that sought to tangle with them. But we never really got into any significant detail, despite multiple times ARCHIE-03 made appearances. Now, we delve into the Shemarrian Nation, and get a closer look into ARCHIE-03’s plans.


SECTIONS


Obscurity to Infamy. After the release of the Delaration of Sovreignty, ostensibly released by the Shemarrian Nation, there has been mixed reaction. Free Quebec, the first to receive it, tucked it away and ignored the plea of a D-Bee race; they were far enough to cause no concern anyways. Once word spread, they and the CS denounced it. Others saw it as a curiosity: “Who are the Shemarians?” Most don’t care, too busy trying to survive. Given the sheer magnitude of terrain and dispersed nature of the Shemarians, unless they themselves are threatened, the Shemarians will likely silently let folks pass by unmolested; unless you’re Atlantean, or a large-scale force. A series of Facts, Rumours and Lies are presented that provide the GM with some absolutely great background and adventure plot hooks to exploit.


The Real Truth. Largely a collection of confirmations to information already presented in previous books: Shemarrians are constructs of ARCHIE-03, their “culture” a work of fiction, there are no Shemarrian cities, and they have an intense hatred for Atlantean forces. A few bits are presented, such as male Shemarians in order to confuse outside analyses of the Shemarians. We are also presented with more details on their deployments (e.g. numbers by “Tribe” and region, squad compositions) and how this is meant to maximize their protection of the mountain facilities, but also keep tabs on the surrounding regions. This is a great subterfuge to protect ARCHIE-03 and Hagan Lanovich’s plans.


Shemarrian Androids. If you’ve not yet come across this information, I’m sorry to spoil it for you – yes, Shemarrians and their steeds are all androids. Surprise! We get a great bit on the history of how they were conceived and developed over the years. The Great Deception has worked exquisitely, and the CS/FQ/Lazlo have bought the story hook-line-sinker (see what I did there?). Given the Declaration of Sovriegnty, ARCHIE-03 now leverages this as an excuse to chase away FQ/CS patrols and violently repel any Atlantean forces.


Artificial Intelligence. The idea was to create life-like beings that functioned more than mindless killing robots. They were designed to look like a living being and implanted with a neural intelligence (NI) to act (simulate) in a way that reinforces this misconception. This extends to the ShemarRians themselves not knowing they are indeed robots. This means they follow programed protocols but execute them in a way that makes them appear entirely natural.


The Shemarrian Nation’s Warhost

  • Shemarrian Warriors. The classic design first presented in Sourcebook 1, they are the backbone of the Shemarrian Nation. Typically encountered as individuals and riding a mount, groups of 5-8 are not unheard of. Even a singular Shemarrian is not something to be trifled with.

  • Shemarrian Berserker (New). Specializing in close combat and melee weapons, they hold their own against Juicers and Crazies. Interestingly, uses the male ego against itself, as a female warrior cutting down brothers-in-arms was thought to be demoralizing. After reading their combat stats, I can understand why!


  • Shemarrian War Chief (New). Presented as the senior officers to the clannish warrior D-Bees, they are the most cunning, clever and experienced of the Shemarrians. Best described as a merge of the Warrior and Berserker.

  • Shemarrian War Goddess (New). Previous models handle Juicers and combat cyborgs; these handles Kittani power armor, Overlords and Power Lords, and greater demons. Larger, stronger and more heavily armored, they possess an upgraded NI and several hidden weapon systems. Typically reserved for major encounters, especially those with Atlantean forces.

  • Male Shemarrian Hunters (New). Introduced in 108 P.A., they helped complete the deception of the Shemarrians as a true race of D-Bees. Often used as a forward observer, they deploy with an advanced electronic warfare suite that plays havoc with enemy communications and sensors, allowing the remaining Shemarrians to exploit the confusion. No slouch in combat either, they are typically armed with the famed Shemarrian rail guns.

  • Shemarrian Pariah (New). These Shemarrians had “most bionics and armor removed” prior to being exiled; nobody has discerned why. They are a great element of deception, giving the curious a view of the Shemarrians as D-Bees of flesh and blood. This gives ARCHIE-03 a unique perspective into humanity’s worldview and a great source of intelligence.

  • Shemarrian Spinster (New). Deemed “unfit for battle,” this logistics and support unit is the Shemarrian medic. They have “devoted” themselves to medicine and science, the other classes view them with pity and respect. Shorter and stockier, they ride specially programmed Monster-Rexes “Pack Mules” that resupply deployed war parties.


Shemarrian Weaponry. Never traded or handled by anyone other than Shemarrians, the technology is decades ahead of even Triax.

  • Rail Gun (6000 model). The standard weapon of all Shemarians.

  • Rail Gun (4000 model). A short-barreled version of the original 6000-model.

  • Assault Rifle. Issued to Spinsters and Male Hunters.

  • .30-06 Hunting Rifle. An S.D.C. bolt-action rifle issued to Male Hunters.

  • She-LPP80 Laser Pulse Rifle. An old pulse laser rifle from ancient data banks modified to “look Shemarrian.”

  • She-PB20 Particle Beam Rifle. An old particle beam rifle from ancient data banks modified to “look Shemarrian.”

  • She-PLR25 Plasma Rifle. An old plasma rifle from ancient data banks modified to “look Shemarrian.”

  • She-IP30 Ion Pistol. An old ion pistol from ancient data banks modified to “look Shemarrian.”

  • Shemarrian Blades. A series of wicked blades and polearms use by the Shemarrians.


Shemarrian War Steeds and Animals

  • Monst-Rex. The classic from back in Sourcebook 1. Thought to have been brought from the Shemarrian home world, they have become infamous across North America as warrior steeds. A few “wild” beasts roam the Eastern Seaboard. Comes with a series of ‘weapon slots’ that a GM can chose to make them more unique.

  • Monst-Rex “Pack Mule.” Designed to assist Spinsters in logistical operations, prefers evasion to combat, but is no slouch.

  • Monst-Crane. Another beast brought from the Shemarrian home world, this flightless bird-like creature is another method of transport.

  • Shemarrian Wolf (Shemar-Wolf). An alien canine creature seen more commonly with the Shemarrians, the story is they acclimated to the Shemarrians as semi-domesticated D-Bee beasts. More often seen with lone individual Shemarrians.

  • Genuine Imitations. In addition to the Shemarrian-related creations, ARCHIE-03 and Hagan Lanovich have also deployed a series of replicated animals (e.g. Rhino-Buffalo, Fury Beetles, Ostraurus) designed to look and react like the real thing. Come armed with several weapon systems, which could make for some really bizarre table-top encounters with the Players: “What do you mean the Fury Beetle launched a mini-missile volley?!”


New Cyberworks/Archie Robots

  • Avian Spy. Small, bird of prey-shaped drones of various species for reconnaissance and espionage. Decades in use, several have roosted in Chi-Town, Free Quebec and other notable city-states of the Federation of Magic. Only the Republicans have figured it out and shoot down any and all birds of prey they sight out of place or following them.

  • R’Mar Alien. These beings resemble a D-Bee species that just happened to take residence on Rifts Earth. They acquire raw materials from legitimate sources (e.g. Ishpeming and Manistique Imperium) or scavenging for ARCHIE-03 needs – includes Titan Robotics manufacturing. Making little effort to conceal their mechanical nature, those interacting with the R’Mar perceive them as a race of cyborgs or bionically enhanced creatures.


Shemarrians and the World. A segment that covers the ‘diplomatic relations’ of the Shamarrians with key groups. Includes groups sent into Lazlo, Eastern Canada, Mexico, and even Atlantis. Not all are on good terms, despite their efforts to keep Atlantean forces at bay; could they turn and show disfavor to others?

  • Iroquois League. A group ARCHIE-03 has the hardest time understanding, they matched the Declaration of Sovereignty with their own warning to the Shemarrians. The Preserve’s heartland is off limits, under penalty of death. Thus far, each and every Shemarrian that has breached this border has been rebuked, turned away, or destroyed! ARCHIE-03 is annoyed by remains unconcerned; the Iroquois remain to themselves.

  • Free Quebec. Viewing the Shemarrians as both a threat and possible ally against the Splugorth, the causes ARCHIE-03 both chagrin and amusement. “The enemy of my enemy is my friend” is an unspoken, bilateral agreement, despite Free Quebec’s fears of a burgeoning D-Bee nation at their doorsteps. Shemarrians are constantly driving away of Free Quebec forces.

  • Pirate Kingdom of Montreal. A nest villainy, it is the pirate version of MercTown and Old Bones. There is a Titan Robotics station here, where covert repairs in an underground shop can be conducted. Mostly used for “show of presence” operations to trade scavenged weapons from Kittani raids.

  • Lazlo. Officially recognizes the Shemarrians, but has little real interest in them. ARCHIE-03 views them as militarily inferior, and their use of magic is a footnote. Lazlo’s curiosity, however, is something of concern. They have already sent a number of expeditions into the Shemarrian regions, none of which have returned with any new information.

  • Coalition States. So long as Shemarrians engage with Splugorth forces, they are content to ignore them, they remain apathetic and hate the D-Bees as a matter of principle. They view CS troops movements the same as Free Quebec, constantly driving them away.

  • Atlantis. The archenemy of ARCHIE-03, and therefore the Shemarrians. Constantly harassing the forces of Atlantis, they are ruthless and have kept it shy of all-out warfare. Lord Splynncryth views them as an oddity, not a threat. That said, if they draw attention to the expansion colonies, they may force a scale back of operations. This unwanted attention from others across North America is the primary concern, as his agreement with other power brokers was to remain on Atlantis.

  • Horune Pirates. Scourge of the oceans, they admire the Shemarrian fighting spirit, but know little about them other than they present a good fight and they have been plundering North America for decades now. No prissy land-lubbing D-Bee with a big gun is going to stop them.

  • Federation of Magic. Despite a little concern on the eastern fringes, put simply, they don’t care.


Encounter Tables. There are a series of encounter tables that give any GM looking to run a campaign in this region a real boon. A table for Shemarrian patrols, as well as an Eastern Wildlands table that is wildly varied in what you can roll up.


CONCLUSION


Initial Impression (7/10). As a companion book to any campaign across the Atlantic Seaboard, I found the information gives a GM a good baseline to expand their adventures and campaigns. There are some new ideas presented that really gives the Shemarrians a new lease on life. Until now, they have been largely relegated to the background, as newer releases overshadow them. We now have a giant goose-egg over the region that basically announces, “There be Shemarrians here.” For any group of adventurers that traverse the region, this makes for an interesting twist to any expectations. It’s another book that reminds me that the ARCHIE-03 dynamic is secretly Kevin Siembieda’s favorite character from the world building – and I’m fine with that!


The one criticism I have is that much of this book presents information that should remain Game Master’s Eyes only. There is a mystery to the Shemarrians that is lost if every Player knows exactly what’s going on (e.g. ARCHIE-03 secretly employs a series of geosynchronous communication satellites, giving them a 1000 mile (1,600 km) range in terms of observation). The Shemarrians are fairly over-powered in comparison to most Player Characters, but this fits the theme. I appreciated the inclusion of things like the logistics and sustainment operations that account for the vast territory claimed. The artwork really lends some character to the Shemarrians, with Michael Mumah leading the charge, supported by some great works from previous publications. That cover art by Apollo Okamura is evocative as well. As a sourcebook, it does the job well, giving the GM option space that I find would be well appreciated by most gaming groups.


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Keith Hunt
Keith Hunt
22 ene

Another great overview and review. Always loved the duel role that the Shemarrians play as an ultra cool D-Bee race and just another case of ARCHIE 3 messing with the human population.🤣 I held off on buying this book, knowing that I was getting it from the Titan Robotics Kickstarter campaign in the form of the CyberWorks collection. Still need to get around to reading it. Your review has certainly bumped it up the reading pile for me.

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