Rifts: A Life Less Ordinary
The year is 106 P.A. After centuries of cataclysm and darkness, mankind has rediscovered the old world’s technology and begun rebuilding Earth with a new image. The humano-centric Coalition States has grown to become the de facto North American superpower, carving a swathe of influence across much of the mideastern United States and southeastern Canada. The CS and its allies keep non-humans oppressed and fight back against the forces of magic and evil as they wield their war machine like a sword, cutting down all those who dare oppose them.
Sentient being from all over the Megaverse have come to Earth, either accidentally or purposefully, via the eruption of Rifts in the time-space continuum. These rifts bridge stellar and dimensional distances and temporarily link two or more very different worlds, allowing those of one world to cross over into another. The major, permanent Rifts are constantly allowing otherwordly creatures into this world, and that’s something the Coalition would like to stop. But it has other, more important matters to deal with: the growing animosity with the former Coalition State of Free Quebec, the development of CS Minnesota, the wary suspicion of the Federation of Magic, rumours of kingdoms of vampires in Mexico, the mysterious insectoid Xiticix hives in southern Manitoba, the New German Republic’s ongoing war against the Gargoyle Kingdoms, and what the hell is going on in Atlantis?
War is coming.
The Coalition military is stepping up its production and mobilizing its troops. More and more soldiers are heading to the Coalition’s western border to stomp out the Federation of Magic once and for all, thereby removing one of the many threats to the Coalition’s autocratic rule. With alien creatures, practitioners of magic and other dark arts, and rampant and novel uses of modern technology peppering the world, is it any wonder that chaos reigns on Earth?
But this is a time for heroes, those who wish for a better world, those who know that the greatest power against the Coalition is knowledge. Ragtag bands of misfit adventurers are everywhere, doing their part to rid the world of menaces supernatural and mundane, staying alive by dint of superior wit, knowledge, or firepower, because they certainly don’t have numbers on their side.
These are their stories.
You can’t go home again.
Never has that adage been truer than it is for you now. Until recently, you were living the high life, proudly serving the Coalition States as a small cog in their giant multi-faceted war machine. You had a roof over your head, never wanted for food or clothing, and even drew a modest salary. You had a purpose and never believed that anyone or anything could shake your devotion to the state. Through a series of unfortunate circumstances, however, the life you knew ended and now you are on the run from your former life, breezing through the Newtowns and Shantytowns of the ’Burbs and losing yourself within the town-sized communities surrounding Chi-Town.
The only advantage you have is that the Coalition’s gaze has turned outward, building up their forces for the coming war against the pro-magic forces of Tolkeen and her allies.
In order to succeed, your band of military deserters must earn enough money to purchase, repair and maintain your arms and armour, not to mention the giant Spider-Skull Walker you have stolen from your former employers. This way of life is new and exciting, but also scary as the penalty for desertion and theft of Coalition military technology is death. It remains to be seen how your training, resourcefulness, and deeply-held social and political beliefs will serve you in this new world you’ve been forced into.
You can’t go home again.
Not that you had a great home to begin with. For one reason or another, you have joined up with a temporal raider, Aerthos, and his apprentice, a temporal wizard, space- and dimension-hopping your way to wealth and power. Your adventures brought you into contact with many kinds of people, but none stranger than the denizens of the island kingdom of Atlantis, a lost and seemingly mythical land which resurfaced during the Great Cataclysm while other continents saw destruction and chaos.
Aerthos now lies dead, killed by his apprentice under unknown circumstances, and seemingly both the master’s friends and his enemies know about it. You are in grave danger and the only option is to leave Atlantis and the long arm of those who wish you dead.
You have a name and a new future ahead of you, but a concerted assault against a new ally has kicked you through a rift and landing you in one of the most dangerous regions on Earth. How will you survive? Who wants you dead? And will you ever solve the mystery of Aerthos’ death? Your power is great, but the danger may be greater than even you can handle. Stay vigilant.
You can’t go home again.
For over half a year, you have felt the comfort of having a home away from home, a family built around camaraderie and a common purpose rather than blood, a brotherhood that worked together, fought together, and, at times, dies together. Such was life in a mercenary group, and it gave you opportunities that you never would have gotten otherwise in the staid culture surrounding Free Quebec.
Now, your family is scattered to the four winds, each tiny fragment leading everyone on a merry chase, because one of you is carrying an artifact that could turn the tide of war. You can’t trust anybody as you make your way across the breadth of Canada, not Free Quebec, not the Coalition States, not Lazlo, not the Xiticix, not the Psi-Stalker tribes, not the Shemarrians, not the Simvan, not even the Cyber-Knights or the Tundra Rangers, because everyone wants that power. You’ve got a job to do—to ensure the artifact gets to safety on the west coast, where it can be studied.
Along the way, there will be money to be made. Whether you earn that money through honest labour or by dishonest means, that’s on your own conscience. But a little dishonesty is nothing compared to survival in the harsh Canadian wilderness. Happy hunting!