Rebuilding Rifts 4 – The Chopping Block
As previously mentioned Rifts Nightfall will focus on the Dark Ages in North America, but it won’t necessarily reduce everything to a barren wasteland nor will it follow the original continuity. The power and scale of the Coalition States may be too much in 109 PA, but that doesn’t mean smaller kingdoms – some of them even stranger than what is imagined in the original Rifts game – wouldn’t exist in the wild. I didn’t just want to slim Rifts down to a knives-and-horses survival game. Rifts is an exotic post-apoc world and I want to maintain the sense of strangeness one gets from alien invaders, gated demons, bizarre magical societies, recovered Golden Age mecha and other weirdness. Rifts Nightfall both subtracts things (the Coalition States as an empire, the Federation of Magic, the Pecos Empire) and adds new locations, usually in the form of small towns and cities with unique characteristics that make for good roleplaying opportunities. This will be an alternate Rifts world, where key NPCs or factions may make anachronistic appearances and familiar places may take on a completely different shape.
Places Removed or Changed:
- Manistique Empirium – removed because it was redundant with Ishpeming, nothing unique, area too crowded with countries already
- The Coalition States – slimmed down, population 1/10th of that listed, independent city-states which are in communication with each other and may cooperate sometimes, but not a unified police state.
- Colorado Baronies – only Hope and Charity exist, others removed because the area is too crowded.
- Pecos Empire – removed entirely. Simvan marauders roam the Wasteland at will but never form a unified force.
- Vampire Kingdoms – splintered into tiny statelets rather than a unified kingdom, but their area of coverage has expanded to include the drier parts of the former USA, including Arizona, Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico, Utah, Nevada, all the way up to Nebraska. The Wasteland is full of vampires and their petty kingdoms and some even rule within the Magic Zone.
- Chi-Town – renamed to Charcoal, is a technocratic police state ruled by Chairman Karl Prosek, similar to the CS as presented in the core but their technology level is lower (few aircraft, no mecha, no Dog Boys, no skyscrapers, no giant burbs, skelebots in small numbers). Charcoal’s domain extends about 200 km around the city. They are also at war with several demon kingdoms.
- Ironheart (Sudbury) – removed. Makes the north too civilized, and realistically not possible to have such a large advanced civilization in this location (no farmland, for one thing).
- Free Quebec (Montreal) – an industrial socialist council rules the city, no Glitter Boys or advanced tech available, the city has scavenged old tech and keeps it running but just barely. Concentrating on refurbishing/building factories, dams, smelters, refineries and other mid-20th century plants. Under siege by Xiticix and demons, may soon fall. Heavily reliant on hydro-electric power around Chicoutimi/Lake Saint-Jean.
- Lone Star (Texas) – genegineering dictatorship ruled by President Bradford, who took over the facility in a coup supported by his fanatically-loyal Dog Boys only 3 years ago. The atrocities he’s cooking up now may end up destroying his little empire in a few years time.
- Magic Zone – expanded to include Eastern seaboard, US southwest, northwest and parts of Dinosaur Swamp. This is the most dangerous part of North America because it is not ruled by humans at all; almost every kingdom here is ruled by Wraith-Lords, Demon Kings (such as those in Demon York) or other terrible monsters. Stormspire is ruled by saurians, the City of Brass is a monster haven and slave market similar to Atlantis. But see below.
- Lord Dunscon rules with an iron hand over the small town of Soulharvest, where he curries favor with demons and splugorth, to the latter’s eternal amusement.
- Dweomer City – Just too damn happy and nice, so now it’s a faery-ruled magical city that humans can only intermittently enter, more legend than fact. It is the source of a lot of magic items found in the Magic Zone, but it does not trade with mere mortals. The Lords of Magic exist but they wander the eastern Wasteland to teach magic to gifted individuals.
- Archie-3 – same but robot armies are reduced in size by 100. Archie is still in his ‘evaluation phase’ and sends out scouting parties everywhere. Shemmarians are rare and only occasionally fight the Splugorth.
- Splugorth – Atlantis is the same as ever, but the Splugorth have set up slave centres at Demon York, the City of Brass, Husktown and Skulldome, deep in the heart of North America. They are a much more active presence everywhere except the small areas controlled by Charcoal, Lone Star, Free Quebec, Ironheart and Ishpeming.
- Tolkeen – still there, though a fraction of its corebook size.
- Lazlo – a small magical enclave run by a benevolent dragon. Population 1,300. Lazlo has the character, ideals and some of the personalities of the original, but is about 1000 times smaller and has little to no effect on Rifts Nightfall politics.
- New Lazlo – removed, redundant.
- For El Dorado – removed. Now a base for the Splugorth called Skulldome.
- The Black Market – removed. There is no continent-wide network of illegal suppliers providing everything under the sun. None.
- Clarkdale, Newtown, Chillicothe, Whykin, Wichita Falls, Durango, Wilmington – removed because all contribute to overcrowding the setting
Next time: new locations to make Rifts even weirder!