Rifts Bionics Sourcebook
Rifts Bionics Sourcebook Capsule Review by Joe G Kushner on 13/10/02
Style: 3 (Average)
Substance: 3 (Average)
If you've ever wanted a collection of Rifts bionics and cybernetics in one place, here it is.
Product: Rifts Bionics Sourcebook
Author: Kevin Siembieda
Page count: 112
Year published: 2002
Comp copy?: yes
Capsule Review by Joe G Kushner on 13/10/02
Genre tags: Fantasy Science Fiction Horror Post-apocalyse
Rifts Bionics Sourcebook keeps the disturbing trend of Palladium collecting material and reprinting it in full swing. Here youíll be able to find almost every piece of cyborg and bionic material in a Rifts campaign, and of course long term players will known that those materials originated in Heroes Unlimited and other systems so weíre seeing reprints of reprints.
The book introduces cybernetics first and provides information on the numerous O.C.C.ís associated with the concept. One of the larger sections of O.C.C.ís that surprised me in this book was the City Rat. Here youíve got seven different types of City Rats, each one specializing in a different type of criminal life. Need to find information out thatís secured in some computer somewhere? The Hack Rat is your man. Need some help in the city? The Hero City Rat is there to steer you clear of evil. Looking for trouble? The Gutter Ratís looking for you.
Other O.C.C.ís defined include the Cyber-Snatcher, individuals skilled at removing bionics and selling them back to the black market. GMs who make use of such black market goods should occasionally have the original owner come back looking for not only the Cyber-Snatchers but the people who wound up buying his limbs.
Each section of cybernetics is broken down into utility so if you need standard goods, most likely theyíd be found under Commercial Cybernetics while if you need Black Market goods, like Cyber Armor and Finger Guns, youíd look under Black Market.
The second section deals with bionics and it covers just about every aspect mentioned in previous books. Want techno-magic bionics? Itís covered. Want the goods from Russia and Japan? Theyíre in here. Want to see a full listing of O.C.C.ís? Done. Just as important to GMs and players though, outside of all the goodies, is the advice on switching O.C.C.ís. What happens if a Juicer becomes a Cyborg? What happens if you move from say a partial borg to a full conversion borg?
One of the weaknesses of the book though is the fact that it doesnít collect all of the information. While it brings in Russian and Japanese goods, it doesnítí bring in their O.C.C.ís. While itís nice to see the various City Rats and their incarnations, most players Iíve gamed with prefer the power of the Cyrborg and would rather see the Slave Cyborg and Mining ĎBorg get taken out and the other borgs put in. Even if it wouldíve resulted in a page increase and price increase, having a book on bionics, especially one where the City Rat gets a large chunk of glory, shouldíve been standard.
So who is this book aimed at? If you want most of your material in one place, youíve now got it. This is a good thing. If you donít own all the Rifts books and have a healthy interested in Bionics, then this collection is a good thing. If you want the players who always mess with borgs in your campaign to have one book they can look through instead of eight or nine, then youíre in luck.
The layout is standard two columns of text with the usual high quality level of art weíve come to expect from Palladium. Of course most of that art has seen print in other products before ranging from Triax and the NGR to the core books. Even the cover, as great as it is, is a reprinted illustration.
This book isnít for your standard player and its failure to expand a few pages to accommodate Rifts Russia O.C.C.s is baffling. In the end, a product with reprinted material like this is an average product to most viewers simply because itís not breaking any new ground and in this case, isnít collecting all of the information in one source as it sets out to do.