A while ago, I got into a debate about the many fronts the Coalition faces, how this might affect them, and the possibilities of who might win. It also turned out to be a great discussion about the factors that could affect the outcome of every war the Coalition States has entered in to, mostly those factors that Prosek does not know of or may not be considering. What follows is a bit analytical in nature, but I feel that the information it provides could give some ideas for campaigns that take place after the wars (such as my recently posted campaign about the invasion to re-take Atlantis). I will include information for every major conflict that has been alluded to in the Rifts books, most prominently the Coalition States' Campaign of Unity and the New German Republic's war against the Gargoyles, Brodkil and Mindwerks. This is the first of two parts and covers the Western Hemisphere. I have to do some more research to get the rest of it, but keep an eye out for it (I'm really going to enjoy doing the part about Russia). Read on and enjoy…
The Coalition States
First and foremost, I would I like to touch on what I think is the conflict that everyone truly wishes to see and know the outcome of. Much of my information will probably be invalidated by the upcoming world book, but I care not. The conflict between Free Quebec and the Coalition Stats/Chi-Town will probably be one of the most spectacular battles Rifts Earth has ever seen. It pits human against human, technological super-power against technological superpower. The question remains, who is superior.
The Coalition States has a ready supply of expendable soldiers, also known as Dog Boys, though this could change with Desmond Bradford heading up the project. Currently, and throughout the war with Free Quebec, Bradford will most likely remain on the side of Prosek, content to keep his projects secret. The reason for this is that Bradford will want to wait until Prosek's power base has been weakened before striking a major blow. This will reduce the possibility of repercussions from Chi-Town. But enough of this, I will touch upon this potential conflict later.
Free Quebec, as stated in the Rifts RPG (p.150), does not condone the use of mutant animals, seeing them as abominations. One person assumed this meant that they were even more human supremacist in nature, when compared to Chi-Town, and would never associate with the New German Republic. I disagree. If this were so, they would never have sold the Glitter Boy design to Triax Industries in the first place. It is more likely that Free Quebec simply frowns upon the manipulation of genes to create a "monster to fight a monster." Keeping this information in mind, that simply means that Free Quebec does not have "abominations" to use as expendable soldiers. However, that does not mean they do not have expendable soldiers.
Free Quebec kept many things secret from Chi-Town, the most prominent was the user of Juicers in the military, an augmentation that Chi-Town frowns upon (though that has changed somewhat with the Campaign of Unity). Even so, compare the two versions of expendable soldiers. Dog Boys are superior in sniffing out psychics and mages, neither of which Free Quebec employs. In this instance, the Dog Boys can only be used for their superior fighting ability and loyalty to the Coalition States. Free Quebec, however, is likely to use the Juicers as expendable soldiers. They will die in four years anyway and they all long to "go out fighting." A Juicer is superior in every way to a Dog Boy. They are faster, stronger and more intelligent in many cases (they are human, with Dog Boys, you are cross-breeding a human's superior brain with a relatively inferior brain of a dog, resulting in a lower average intelligence).
Lastly, a comparison between technology should be made. For the most part, both Chi-Town and Free Quebec are equals, however, Free Quebec does hold the Glitter Boys, able to destroy many things in one shot. The main disadvantage that the Glitter Boy must face is that they are semi-fixed emplacements and must drill in before firing. That is, unless the pilot wants to pick his ass off the ground every time he fires. This one disadvantage and the more frequent use of plasma weapons (which nullify the Glitter Boys laser protective shielding) is likely to prove fatal to many, thus tactics will still need to be used. If used correctly, a single squad of these power armors can easily take out a heavy mechanized squad.
Just as an example of how the Glitter Boys would effectively be used, here's my thought on the matter (man I love guerilla warfare). A platoon of foot soldiers , and a squad (four to six) Glitter Boys set up the ambush. The Glitter Boys are hidden in the trees, camouflaged and hidden from passive radar (they aren't moving after all). The platoon goes off, finding a small group of mechanized infantry (UAR/IAR and SAMAS units) and foot soldiers. Knowing they are outnumbered, the platoon retreats, leading the robots on by constantly taking pot shots at them while they run, only doing minimal damage. They eventually lead the robots and foot soldiers to a clearing, the one which the Glitter Boys surround, completely concealed. Once the robots are in the middle of all the Glitter Boys, they open fire, quickly taking out the mechanized units, leaving the foot soldiers to be picked off by the platoon. Simple, yet effective (and yes, the Coalition would get used to this tactic quickly, so it would not work forever, but probably long enough for Free Quebec to gain the advantage).
Now, based on all the above information, my conclusion would be a stalemate. Free Quebec would gain an advantage for a short period of time, true, but in the end, they would only force the Coalition to withdraw. No one can truly win this particular war. A few factors that would contribute to a more significant defeat, one in which the Coalition States would lose some of their support (either from the Manistique Imperium or Ishpeming, among others) would be if Free Quebec were able to strike an alliance with the New German Republic. This is unlikely, however, since the NGR is busy dealing with the gargoyles, Brodkil and other creatures (mostly Mindwerks, which they are largely unaware of). Because of this, the NGR will not want to spare an alliance that would call for the shipment of Triax manufactured weapons from Europe to Free Quebec. The NGR will need all the help they can get. So, if you view the Coalition withdrawing as a victory, Free Quebec has won the war, though only temporarily and the results will probably be similar to what the U.S. saw during the Cold War with the Soviet Union.
The ever-present war with Tolkeen is imminent and will probably be the bloodiest conflict fought on North American soil. The Coalition knows this, they also know that they have little defense against magic, which is why Dog Boys and Psi-Stalkers will be used extensively. The Dog Boys will be able to flush out the magic-users, forcing them to expend some of the P.P.E., allowing the Psi-Stalkers and foot soldiers to finish them off quickly. As powerful as a magic-user can be, they are still limited by the psychic energy they can control.
This simple, but extremely effective, tactic will get the Coalition as far as the city of Tolkeen, then a switch must be made. Since Tolkeen sits on a nexus and has a large number of ley lines pulsating throughout the city, magic-users will have a nearly unlimited source of energy, similar in many ways to the Coalition's use of nuclear power plants in their assault vehicles and mechanized units. However, Chi-Town has been waiting for this moment for a long time and will hold nothing back. Air strikes, missile volleys and every manner of long-range attack will be made, eventually leveling the city.
Chi-Town is unlikely to allow Tolkeen to remain standing, completely eradicating any evidence that it ever existed. In the end, the Coalition will win, leaving a scar on the planet that will take centuries to heal. A major contributor to this victory, whether the Coalition knows it or not, will be the Federation of Magic. Allistair Dunscon has sworn revenge against Tolkeen for allowing his men to be slaughtered so many years ago. His plan to forge an alliance, then hold back and watch as Tolkeen citizens and soldiers are slaughtered, hideously, will happen, and it will tear wider the rift between the Federation and the survivors of Tolkeen (though there will be few, but no one will ever enter an alliance with Dunscon for fear of betrayal).
Other factors that will contribute to this war, and could drag it out longer or give the Coalition an advantage are few, but there worth discussing. The biggest threat to Emperor Prosek's campaign against Tolkeen is the Xiticix. They are quite close and will be stirred and dismayed by the conflict to the south. Smoke from fires and explosions, as well as tremors from missile and artillery attacks will shake the Xiticix, aggravating them and causing large swarms of warriors to be dispatched from the Duluth hive. The Xiticix, until put back by the Coalition military, will be a thorn in their side, causing a great number of casualties.
Another factor that must be considered is, again, Doctor Desmond Bradford. Will this be Bradford's time to strike, declaring Lone Star a separate entity from the Coalition and he it's leader (be it dictator, emperor, or president), no longer supplying the military with Dog Boys? Again, I doubt it. Few people rally behind Bradford, and most soldiers don't like him or are kept in the dark. The soldiers would, most likely, be horrified by what Bradford had done, and work quickly to overthrow him. Keeping this in mind, it is highly unlikely that Bradford will attempt secession. He has no (or very little) military support and he would not want to risk losing his greatest resource.
Federation of Magic
The Federation of Magic and the Coalition States have been at war for nearly fifty years, and Allistair will never forgive the Prosek line for murdering his father. However, there is little to be said here. The Federation is spread too thin and there is nothing for the Coalition to lay siege to. The City of Brass is well-protected and well-hidden, plus, the Coalition does not know of it's existence. Eventually, the "True" Federation of Magic may see the loss of their leader, Lord Dunscon, but that will be a long time coming.
With respect to the Coalition's conflict with the Federation, it is a conflict that will never end. The Coalition will always have to deal with the evil magic-users from the Magic Zone (not all are actually evil, but the Coalition believes so), but the Federation may not always have the Coalition States to deal with.
The Pecos Empire
The Coalition States has little to worry about from the Pecos Empire. It is nothing more than a loose collection of warring factions. Until they stop warring among themselves and forge an alliance of some type, they are no threat to anyone but themselves.
Similar things can be said about the Vampire Kingdoms of Old Mexico. They cannot cross the Rio Grande River directly because of their petrifying fear of water (and with good reason). They could get to the Coalition States if they were to march their army north through New Mexico or Arizona, then east, around the source of the Rio Grande, but this would be illogical and impractical. If the vampires were to take this route, they would have the Lyn-Srial of the Grand Canyon (not to mention other forces of good) and the problem of finding shelter for several thousand vampires before daybreak. Needless to say, the vampires invading or attacking the Coalition (and vice versa) is a very unlikely scenario.
By this, I am referring to Lazlo, New Lazlo, Iron Heart, and the other, smaller kingdoms and city-states that dot North America. Lazlo and New Lazlo both have little to worry about. They are relatively low priorities at the moment and are not likely targets in the near future. Not until Tolkeen, Free Quebec and the Magic Zone have all been tamed. A.R.C.H.I.E. is also not likely to come into play unless the Coalition gets too close to his operating center in Maryland. Should this happen, A.R.C.H.I.E. will simply send an associate from Titan Arms (one of his robots) to deal with them, possibly offering an alliance.
All in all, aside from those major fronts discussed above, no other fronts will, likely, take root.
That about covers the fronts for the Coalition States, now for the rest of the world (maybe a better title for this work would have been "Annihilating Life on the Planet in Ten Easy Steps…").
The main reason I wrote this article was so that I could touch on this subject in more detail. Atlantis has always been a fascinating setting, I just thought that the introduction of the Splugorth was rulers was a little off and messed with the power-base. I simply accept it because it does make for great story lines (I've used Splynncryth as a major instigator of trouble in my campaigns before). My idea for the liberation of Atlantis has been in the back of my mind since I started role-playing with Palladium's Games about eight years ago. The campaign I've included on my site and this information here is the culmination of everything I have slowly been developing as time went on (whether I knew I was developing it or not).
I touched on this in the campaign write-up, but here it is again. If this particular military campaign were to ever take place, it would require years, probably decades, of planning and the elimination of various factors, the most prominent being the Sunaj.
The Atlanteans know about the Sunaj and the danger they pose to the race as a whole. If their operations continue, the Atlantean race will soon be exterminated. This will lead to stepped up efforts to determine just who the Sunaj are and where they are coming from. Eventually, enough proof must be accumulated to point the finger at Clan Aerihman, resulting in the methodical, and eventual, extermination of the entire clan. This will be done without remorse or second-guesses. The Aerihman Clan chose to deceive their fellow clan members and attempt genocide, thus, the clans will see nothing wrong with their elimination, feeling that the Aerihman are no better than the supernatural predators the Atlanteans hunt.
Before anyone argues that Clan Aerihman is far too large to hunt down and destroy, keep in mind that I have not given an approximate time. Eventually, the clan will be destroyed, however it will take a great deal of time. Because Clan Aerihman is one of the largest of the clans, it could easily take a quarter of a century or more to ferret most (about 80 to 90%) out. The reason I give such a relatively short time span is that many of forces of good will aid in the Atlantean's cause to destroy the traitors. Cosmo-Knights, Cyber-Knights, Samurai, Priests of Light, and generally good-natured people (even unprincipled) will aid in the cause. Those of anarchist or are not as likely to help, but they are certainly not about to associate with them. Even the most diabolic creature cannot conceive of eliminating their own race. After all, if you destroy them, who will you have to rule over.
Additional time will need to be gathered to deal with the planning of the invasion of Atlantis. Logically, once the Atlanteans know they will be attempting to liberate Atlantis, planning will begin. Thus, when the Atlanteans begin the hunt and methodical extermination of Clan Aerihman, the planning of the invasion will also begin. Total, the planning process will take at least fifty to one hundred years. Spies must be placed and intelligence gathered. Most likely, this will be accomplished through contact with the many slaves that populate Atlantis. Even when dealing with the slaves, however, one must still be careful since Maxi-Men are still quite loyal to their Splugorth masters.
The location which the Atlanteans will use to launch their assault is open to GM discretion, however, I will discuss some of the most likely. First, we have Manoa. The Manoans would, in a heartbeat, strike an alliance with the Atlanteans, being of the same race. Most likely, the Manoans would watch help to keep Lagarto busy, while the Atlanteans left by boat or by magic to invade on the southern shores of Atlantis.
Another likely staging area is the west African coast. A most likely area would be the Congo or what used to be the Ivory Coast. The main reasons for this are that they are remote enough that the base could easily remain hidden among the many ruins, but remains close enough to Atlantis to still be able to take the island continent by surprise.
The last possibility that comes to mind is the coast of Old Portugal. The population density is low and there are few kingdoms here. Also, it is extremely close to Atlantis, however, it is also dangerously close to Splynn, which could cause a great deal of complications.
The only area of the world that seems completely implausible is the Florida coastline. The reason being that the main force of Atlanteans would need to pass directly through the Bermuda Triangle, something that is, most likely, out of the question.
The methods by which the Atlanteans will take back their homeland will vary extensively, however, I have a few theories. First, they will probably attack from the south, eliminating the Splugorthian allies (gargoyles and Metzla, primarily) and leaving Splynn open. Also, by landing near the center of the southern coast, the Atlanteans will be able to split Splugorth's forces (though they would come dangerously close to sandwiching themselves between). By dividing the forces, the Atlanteans will be able to cut off reinforcements, leaving Splynn even weaker. The invasion itself will, most likely, take months, possibly years, as the Atlanteans slowly wear down the defenses around Splynn and destroy Splynncryth's allies, but with the magical power of the Atlanteans and the magic-rich environment that makes up Atlantis, the Atlanteans will, eventually re-take their homeland.
The invasion will result in a great many casualties, to be certain, probably close to 50% of the Atlantean army, and only marginally enough to force Splynncryth's retreat (there is no way the Atlanteans will be able to kill or destroy Splynncryth). Most likely, it will take a thousand years to rebuild the continent to it's previous glory and this task will consume much of the Atlantean's future.
I've discussed this before as well, but I will add to it here. The Atlanteans are a proud and noble people, this much is explained in Rifts World Book Two: Atlantis (see the description of the True Atlantean and their disposition). Because of this factor, the Atlanteans will not ally themselves with any one nation or force, with the exception of Manoa. Manoa remains the exception because the Manoans are direct descendants of the original inhabitants of Atlantis. The only other possibilities for alliances will come from those who offer their assistance of their own free will, and few are likely to do so. Those that may include the Cyber-Knights, Psi-Warriors (and other Psyscape trained psychics), and knights (most likely from England, but other knights are possible).
There you have it, my thoughts on the Atlantean liberation, written in full. Many other possible scenarios exist, I'm sure, but this is the one that I felt was the most plausible and created the best story line.
The New German Republic
The NGR is an area where little information is actually given regarding the conflicts, so everything I present here is pure speculation based on equipment and armaments available to each side.
The gargoyles will certainly be a tough foe for the NGR military to defeat. They are blessed with high intelligence and natural abilities that make even the lowliest of gargoyles the equivalent of any cyborg soldier or power armor trooper. Many are also blessed with natural spell-casting abilities, for which the NGR has no defenses.
Unfortunately, these advances will do little to aid the gargoyles. The NGR military's technological level is, in this case, far superior to the natural abilities of the gargoyles. Because of these super-vehicles, such as the NGR Mobile Infantry Command Center, the gargoyles will have a difficult time standing their ground. Though it is unlikely the European gargoyles will be wiped from the face of the planet, they will certainly not overthrow the New German Republic and other human kingdoms of Europe.
Instead, the gargoyles will be pushed deeper into the Swiss Alps, allowing them to regroup and the NGR to increase their power base. Perhaps in several decades later, the gargoyles will have regrouped, and the war will begin anew. However, in the end, they will only be pushed away again. Thus, it is more likely that the war between the NGR and the gargoyles will be a never-ending cycle, unless another of the kingdoms in Europe brings an end to that.
The Brodkil are the only group in Europe that are able to stand their ground against the NGR. Not because of their own abilities or technological level, but because they have allied themselves with Mindwerks. Mindwerks has given the Brodkil everything they need, from cybernetics and bionics to implants and energy weapons.
The Brodkil, since allying themselves with the Angel of Death, have increased in power exponentially, allowing them to secure their hold on the territories they already control. Should it come to war between the Brodkil Empire and the New German Republic, the Republic will be extremely hard pressed to win. Even if they do, it is likely that they will see, at minimum, a loss of half their territories, possibly more. The Brodkil, the more likely victors, will see a complete acquisition of the New German Republic's territories and near-complete enslavement of the population, with a few cells of resistance left to fight.
Mindwerks will remain hidden, never openly confronting the New German Republic. The Angel of Death will see their vengeance given life through the NGR's conflict with the Brodkil Empire, should that ever come to pass. The Angel of Death prefers the anonymity, though the Angel of Vengeance would rather see otherwise, she simply follows the will of her "mother."