Rifts: A Life Less Ordinary

AWOL 001

001
So you’ve ended up in prison. You thought you were doing the right thing. You had faith in the system, but somehow or another, that system has failed you. Or betrayed you. You knew you were different from the others. You had the audacity to think for yourself, to challenge the authorities under which you were raised, to dare to “do the right thing.” Not the institutional “right thing” demanded of you by the system, but the honest and true “right thing” that allows everyone to live in peace.

You have been placed in adjoining cells, able to communicate with each other but not close enough to touch. Every day you are taken out for exercise, but kept under supervision by your jailers. Your fellow inmates are in for various offenses ranging from assault to murder, but very few of them speak treasonous thoughts or anti-Coalition attitudes. You hope that, at some point, you will be permitted to retain legal counsel in order to plead your case.

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AWOL 002

002
Despite having been caught and imprisoned, you have escaped confinement and, possibly, execution for your supposed crimes against humanity. While liberating, knowing that you are now wanted criminals with a death sentence hanging over your heads is a scary prospect—you have been on the other side of the wanted poster far too many times. Your group of unwitting refugees is now holed up in a gritty and unpredictable Shantytown called Babel, hiding in an old warehouse with a loose alliance of the area’s youth street gangs. The next step is to make some contacts, make some money and get better prepared to fight back should worse come to worst. But in this lawless community ruled by an uneasy alliance of street gangs, who can you trust?

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AWOL 003

003
Your first step into a bright new world was not without its hitches. Despite your intelligence, your ingenuity and perseverance, not to mention all of your military-grade firepower, you were surprised by just how little you knew of the outside world. None of your time spent hunting D-Bees, patrolling the ’Burbs or confiscating contraband items amounted to a hill of beans in the outside world. You knew there was an entire non-Coalition universe out there beyond the walls of the city, but compared to the denizens of that world, you are abject newbies. Let us hope you can learn to live in the chaotic “uncivilized” world before the other shoe drops.

But you managed to join a D-Bee hunting group and bagged yourself a dinosaur, so that’s something!

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AWOL 004

Success! Your group is now whole again and at maximum combat readiness, which is great because it seems the political situation in your new home, the ’Burb Shantytown of Babel, is rapidly becoming unstable. The loose alliance of gang bosses that runs Babel is getting looser by the day. The Alkali Beasts are in active conflict with Shea Stadiuim and the rest of the council is trying to keep the peace while at the same time choosing sides and hoping to be on the winning team. And with the gang leaders warring on the council, the respective gangs are hunkering down to prepare for war

This instability comes at the worst possible time: a Coalition patrol will be coming Babel’s way in the next few days, and if they see how chaotic the Shantytown’s situation is, they may decide an all-out Purge is in order, razing the entire ’Burb and everyone within. And since your party is made up of Coalition military escapees, you do not welcome a full-scale assault where you may be discovered.

A quick trip to Mrs. Brisby provided a short-term answer that might prevent additional Coalition scrutiny: not one, but two assassination jobs…

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AWOL 005

Your first assassination is a success. After a pretty intense firefight featuring helicopters, leaping between buildings, guns exploding in people’s faces, terror, and more than a little chaos, Phenex, the don of the Aftermarket gang, has been killed. The gang is in chaos, and there’s a bounty being offered for information leading to Phenex’s killers. The loss of Phenex—and scattered reports of it being a Coalition strike team or a NTSET squad or some kind of surprise ISS raid—has sent hte gang back to their Warehouse “hotel” base, and there is very little evidence of activity from within.

Who know that you could recon, plan, supply, and execute an assassination in just one day? Now that your confidence has increased, you have just one more day to complete your second job, or you risk having the Coalition investigate the area just as a major gang war erupts.

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Heterodox 001

The temporal raider Aerthos and his apprentice, Idris, has hired the rest of you to act as traveling companions and extra muscle as Idris completes his training to become a temporal wizard. Little do the temporal mages realize that each has his or her own reasons for tagging along with this group, reasons that have nothing at all to do with amassing wealth. These secrets have kept the group together through raid after raid, fight after fight, and dimensional jump after dimensional jump.

Over the last few months the party has been traveling together, tensions between Idris and Aerthos have increased noticeably, and more than once, master and student have had extremely loud and vocal differences of opinion. Idris believes temporal raiding can be done without all the needless violence and cruelty, and Aerthos argues that the violence is something their victims will remember, thereby increasing the raider’s profile. The rest of you tend to side with Idris and there have even been half-hearted plans to do away with Aerthos once Idris becomes powerful enough.

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AWOL 006

The hit on Githzerai did not go as expected. The Ghosts in the Mainline gang boss’ reputation as an immortal is well deserved. During the battle within the Ghosts hangar base, he transformed into a thirty-foot-long dragon, a transformation which shocked not only your party but every single one of the Ghosts in the hangar base except the two Burster lieutenants. As if that wasn’t enough, the ultimate sponsor of the assassination order was none other than Githzerai himself, who wanted to see who among the ’Burb denizens was up to the task of killing him.

With your passion for freedom and unwillingness to subject yourself to anymore cruel masters, you have convinced Githzerai to use his influence to mediate the petty bickering between the Alkali Beasts and Shea Stadium, thereby giving the expected Coalition flyby no gang war to object to. You have also convinced him that there is something in or about Babel that is worth saving, and he is eager for you to show him just what that something is.

So now that the immediate crisis has been averted and Babel undergoes a minor power shuffle, what lies in store for our intrepid former CS soldiers? Your combat ’borg is in dire need of expensive repair, your psychics have been stretching their powers to their limit during reconnaissance, and your reluctant leader will soon receive an important and potentially dangerous communique.

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Heterodox 002

Your employer is dead, and his friends and enemies alike are aware of it. One or more of them has alerted the authorities, forcing your flight from the monster-ruled island nation of Atlantis. A mysterious ley line walker calling himself Abernathy has aided your escape, directing you to someone who can help you, but before he could give you more information, the stone pyramid in which you were hiding was hit by Kittani soldiers and a Serpent power armour suit. During the battle, the pyramid itself was damaged and your doorway to freedom sent you to an unintended location—Mexico, a land full of danger and inhuman monsters.

Aside from immediate survival, many questions need to be answered: Did Idris act subconsciously when killing Aerthos, or was he somehow manipulated into doing so? If the latter, then who did it? How did Aerthos’ enemies send the authorities after you so quickly? What caused Aerthos’ madness in the first place? And where is the help promised by Abernathy? Finally, and most importantly, what are you going to do now?

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Terminus 001

For the last few months, you have been employed by the mercenary company, Fulbright’s 50. It is a group on a holy mission, as its leader, Captain Horatio Ignatius Fulbright, has recently discovered that he is the demigod son of the Babylonian god, Bel Marduk. Since learning of his heritage, Captain Fulbright has dedicated his life and his unit to fighting the forces of evil: demons, deevils, warlords, slavers, allies of the Splugorth, rift monsters, and even human organizations who oppress the people (ie. The Coalition).

Fulbright’s 50 specializes in courier work, transporting dangerous goods, escorting caravans, and protecting items of power and pre-Rifts artifacts. As rookies of the group, you have been assigned the difficult and mundane jobs and have endured good-natured ribbing from the group’s more senior members, but find a great sense of satisfaction from doing good in the world.

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Terminus 002

Disaster has struck your mercenary family of the last several months! While escorting some very important magical artifacts westward, Fulbright’s 50 was set upon by an platoon of the Coalition’s shock troops—Skelebots! The fight was short, but the platoon came in from multiple directions while a couple of SAMAS power armour suits occupied Fulbright’s heavy guns from the air. Then came the UAR-1 Enforcer bot and word of more Skelebots accompanying a Coalition Mark V transport.

Through tenacity and superior firepower, the remains of Fulbright’s 50 escaped and rendezvoused to debrief and plan the next stage of their journey. You learned of the precious cargo you were carrying: The Mobius, a magical artifact of great power that could turn the tide of the upcoming war between the Coalition States and the magical free-state of Tolkeen. In order to protect the artifact until it can be studied at an institute of magical learning on the west coast, Fulbright’s 50 would have to split up into many small teams so that anyone looking for the Mobius would have many false leads to chase.

But why the hell did they entrust the real thing to a band of rookies?

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