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Unread postPosted: Tue Nov 17, 2020 6:04 pm
  

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Fellow Rifts fans, I'd like to submit for your judgment and commentary:

Rifts Africa and the Four Horsemen

A Supplement


My goal is to enhance the setting of Rifts Africa and the Four Horsemen campaign in three ways:
1. Make Africans the key players and front line against the Four Horsemen.
2. Establish more civilizations and organizations in four regions of Rifts Africa.
3. Create a framework for an epic campaign in Africa that progresses from secret investigations and skirmishes to epic, climactic battles with huge stakes.

These first few posts will be "living posts" that I will edit and build on as I go. I will add replies mentioning new content as I go. Please let me know what you think and especially how you think I might improve what I write here.

History of Rifts Africa

The Golden Age: African Union

In the decades leading up to the Coming of the Rifts, Africa came to dominate the world in space exploration, agriculture, and bio-technology. Politically, the continent's many cultures and nations joined their economies and governments together, forming the African Union. This power bloc allowed free trade across the continent and established Africa as an influential superpower of trade, technology, and culture. Africans enjoyed decades of uninterrupted growth, development, and Africans' lifespan, quality of life, education, wealth, and power skyrocketed.

As the Golden Age ended across the rest of the world and the great arms races began, the African Union's Golden Age continued, as they enjoyed trade and mutually-prosperous relations with most of the world. Lacking any military rivals, the continent continued to flourish and develop even more as many other nations shifted their efforts into making powerful weapons and soldiers. While other powers squandered their wealth on weapons, the African Union became the wealthiest, happiest, and and most advanced civilization on Earth.

Then the Rifts came.

The Coming of the Rifts

Africans suffered more than most during the Coming of the Rifts. Tidal waves drowned the great African megacities along the Atlantic coast. Earthquakes leveled most cities further inland. Storms and extended winter wrecked the tropical crops. Even worse, debee invaders rampaged across the continent with few humans capable of challenging them. Having gone entire generations with no internal or external wars or conflicts, and without significant stockpiles of weapons or armor, humans fell in droves at the hands of demons and supernatural hordes. The African Union and almost all its member nations collapsed.

In the centuries since, most of Africa has reverted to wilderness, and the human population has shrunk to a small fraction of its former size. Still, as the P.A. calendar began, humanity managed to rally and organize itself in four regions, adapting the legacy technologies of its golden age or discovering new, supernatural approaches or allies. Across the continent, humans still spoke the unified language of the African Union as a common trade language, still shared legends of their former glory, and still dreamed of driving out the demons and monsters that plagued them. As the 100th year of the P.A. calendar approached, these four regions began to coalesce, and the people began to speak openly of uniting again into nations and a continent-wide alliance. Then it all went to hell.

The Time of the Horsemen

A sudden surge of suffering and death has arisen across the continent. Death cults have sprang up all over the pockets of civilization, whispering of dark days to come, sowing dissent, sabotaging infrastructure, and corrupting any who would heed the harbingers of Armageddon. Demons, witches, and necromancers walk the land, murdering and pillaging. As each region grapples with these new threats, psychics and clairvoyants warn that the worst is yet to come: four apocalypse demons with the power to annihilate all life across Africa and far, far beyond.

It is a dark time of grave uncertainty, when the destiny of a continent, and indeed the Megaverse, hinges on the choices and deeds of a few. Your characters are those few. What will they do?


What this is all about:

I've heard and read a lot of criticism of Africa over the years from people I respect. This is my personal attempt to address many of those criticisms while staying true to the themes of both Rifts in general and the campaign concept laid out in Rifts Africa. This project isn't meant to throw out what's in Africa or fix everything that I've seen objections to. Rather, it's to make the setting and central campaign of Africa more viable for both GMs and players.

The Gathering of Heroes will not be a central focus of this work. My concept is to use the Gathering in a reinforcing and supportive role, like an auxiliary, to support and back up the locals who know the land, culture, language, etc. Where The Gathering might take a more central role might be in larger battles after the early phases if/when a Horseman effectively destroys his region and unites with one of his brothers.

In general, I will also steer clear of shaman-magic and content built on cultural stereotypes. Players and GMs who want to use that content with what I create here still can; what I'm adding isn't incompatible with low-tech magic societies. That said, I intend to add enough content that a GM and party could play a complete campaign in Africa without using those aspects of the original book. Instead, I plan to use established magics and technology elements from other books or try to "look forward" in creating new content appropriate and specific to each region's themes based on "future history" leading to and following the Coming of the Rifts.

I also intend to develop the minions of the Horsemen and their secondary effects/tactics more. The Horsemen themselves are important, but they should be epic boss fights after wading through all kinds of nasty underlings, unraveling subplots, rooting out collaborators, et cetera. Each should have minions, death cults, and collaborators conspiring and fighting for that horseman.

Finally, I intend to present some optional outcomes for each region such that there is room for player choices and adventure outcomes to drive outcomes that include the prospect of one, some, or even all of the Horsemen laying waste to the regions in which they appear. My aim is to have any combination of these outcomes be compatible with the rest of the Rifts setting.

_________________
Hotrod
Bizantium and the Northern Isles, p65 map
Arenas of Atlantis, Rifter 69
Check out my maps here!
Also, check out my Instant NPC Generators!
Like what you see? There's more on my Patreon Page.


Last edited by Hotrod on Tue Nov 24, 2020 10:04 pm, edited 15 times in total.

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Unread postPosted: Tue Nov 17, 2020 6:04 pm
  

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Mount Kilimanjaro: The Tech States


The Golden Age

Mount Kilimanjaro is one of the best places to build a space launch facility on Earth due to its great height and geographic position just 2 degrees off the equator. In the Golden Age of Mankind, the great powers of the world poured treasure and resources into building the Kilimanjaro Space Complex and its supporting industries, and indeed well over 90% of what would become the Orbital community launched from here. Thus, the Kilimanjaro region became the greatest technology center in Africa and the greatest space technology center on Earth.

Ashfall

At the outset of The Coming of the Rifts, the Earth shook, and Mount Kilimanjaro and half a dozen volcanoes to the west erupted, destroying the space launch facilities and burying the surrounding areas in 4-24 feet of ash. Those who survived the earthquakes, choking fumes, the raining ashes dug themselves out only to meet rampaging alien invaders. The few survivors scattered and fled. For two centuries, the volcano and its surroundings became the domain of monsters. Still, the exiled survivors remembered the hidden and buried technology there, and they passed down that information to their descendants.

The Tech Rush

Around 50 P.A., scattered groups from Uganda began to return to Mount Kilimanjaro and its surrounding communities. When one of these groups discovered a surviving automated factory, word spread like wildfire, and a veritable gold rush of prospecting began as people dug up, rediscovered, and repurposed their ancestors' technology. The wild rediscoveries invariably led to claim jumping, thievery, and violence, even as it brought opportunity for scavengers, scholars, and scientists. Many of these opportunists banded together into roving groups. Some settled down and built towns and city states, while others remained nomadic, roaming from dig to dig. In the decades since humanity resettled the Kilimanjaro region, many of these groups have coalesced into two city-states that vie against each other and smaller towns and roving bands for the scraps of forgotten technology that yet remain buried.

Amboseli is the oldest and largest community, standing on the shores of Lake Amboseli to the northwest of Mount Kilimanjaro. Amboseli is built on jet and space propulsion technology. Amboseli have a strong affinity for hovercraft and hoverbikes. Amboseli warriors are especially fond of jetpacks and highly-mobile power armor. Amboseli weapons are potent, but short-ranged particle beams, ion blasters, and plasma-based melee weapons.

Amboseli's power structure is an oligarchy of nobles. Economic class is very important to the Amboseli, and land-owners are expected and required to defend anyone living on their land. This has led to the development of a land-owning warrior elite noble class, a highly-regarded engineer class that supports and supplies them, and other lesser classes categorized by profession. Amboseli culture emphasizes duty, courage, and martial prowess.

Kingori is Amboseli's main rival, built between Mount Kilimanjaro and the smaller Mount Arusha to the west. Kingori is built on communications, sensors, and robotic exploration technology. Kingori vehicles lack the speed of Amboseli's, but their optics, radar, and laser technology is highly advanced, giving their warriors the ability to engage foes at long distances and use small drones to scout surrounding areas. Kingori society is egalitarian and democratic, and citizens vote directly on most issues. Kingori adults are expected to keep and maintain a long-range laser rifle ready at hand. Kingori laser rifles are highly personalized and encoded exclusively to their users, and Kingori do not share or sell them among each other or outsiders.

Another dozen or so towns dot the slopes and surrounding areas around Mount Kilimanjaro, and another few dozen active camps and roving bands are active all the time. Most of these groups specialize in some other repurposed technology from the past: bionics, juicer conversion, M.O.M., rocket-based weapons (see Republic of Columbia in South America 1), rail guns, et cetera. These communities will share downgraded versions of their proprietary technology, but they always keep the best versions exclusively to themselves.While these communities trade basic technology and goods with each other, they jealously guard any technologies that they exclusively hold. To share a community secret technology with an outsider is a heinous crime worthy of death, and stealing such technology is considered an act of war.

The Time of War

War there shall be, for this is where War will appear! The apocalypse demon's followers will work to corrupt small communities and roving bands at first while worming their way into positions of influence within Kingori and Amboseli. His collaborators and pawns will include bandits, local warlords, mercenaries, witches, priests of darkness, and demons/deevils that revel in combat. They will provoke roving bands into fighting each other, raiding towns and city states, and goading the larger powers into arming and fighting en masse. At that point, War himself will appear and lead the most powerful faction his followers have come to control against whatever powers remain, reveling in the bloodshed and offering the defeated a choice: join him or die. If he wins, War will lead his followers west to join his brothers, leaving a blasted wasteland of craters and corpses in his wake.

If the people of the Mount Kilimanjaro region can defeat War, they will do so by setting aside differences and uniting against the horseman and his minions. This new, unified power can then become the preeminent technological center of the African continent. If War wins the regional fight, all these wonders and technologies will be smashed, buried, and forgotten.

_________________
Hotrod
Bizantium and the Northern Isles, p65 map
Arenas of Atlantis, Rifter 69
Check out my maps here!
Also, check out my Instant NPC Generators!
Like what you see? There's more on my Patreon Page.


Last edited by Hotrod on Sun Nov 22, 2020 2:25 pm, edited 6 times in total.

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Unread postPosted: Tue Nov 17, 2020 6:04 pm
  

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South Africa


The Golden Age: The Legacy of Apartheid

In the Golden Age, South Africa was one of the most prosperous member state of the African Union, being just behind Nigeria in terms of its population and economics, and cultural influence. Despite this, much of the African Union in the Golden Age saw South Africa as a backward culture for keeping a strong focus on defense and security long after the rest of the African Union states let their militaries atrophy.

Much of South Africa's focus on defense and security came from a long history of ethnic conflict that it couldn't quite forget. South Africa was a "rainbow nation" with a wide variety of cultures, ethnicities, and languages. The large minority Afrikaner white population in particular had a strong distrust of other ethnic groups borne of the nation's legacy of apartheid segregation and ethnic conflict between them and black peoples like the Xhosa, Zulu, Swazi, Tsonga, and many others. The Afrikaners built up large stockpiles of weapons as "insurance" in fortified compounds away from the cities, and many of the other groups followed suit, as well as the national government, which needed to ensure it could squash any uprisings or sectarian conflicts. The rest of Africa scorned this legacy of ethnic tensions. Ironically, this legacy of ethnic tensions saved South Africa.

The Age of War, and the new South Africa

The Coming of the Rifts drowned South Africa's coastal megacities and leveled its inland metropolises just as badly as the rest of Africa. When alien invasion hordes came, the people dispersed into the country. Overnight, the old tensions died. With aliens rampaging across the land, no-one cared about any race but the human race. The armories passed out weapons and armor to every human who could fight, and the united survivors of South Africa joined together to fight the first of many long, bitter wars against their invaders. South Africa has been continually at war on at least one front ever since, but it has survived. South Africa is the only human nation in Africa to continually survive from before the Coming of the Rifts, and it has done so by the gun.

The Kathu Rift is a large, permanent Rift lying near South Africa's northern border, and this has been a source of multiple alien invasions. South Africa's army has eventually annihilated or driven every invasion force off into the Kalahari desert. The South African Army keeps at least a full division deployed to the area around the Kathu Rift at all times. Peaceful newcomers through the Rift are usually warned off (often with warning shots) and directed toward the Kalahari Desert, where patrols can observe and investigate them. Hostile newcomers are shot, and battles at the Kathu Rift are common.

South Africa's Army must also deal with hostile forces coming from the east, west, and south. Splugorth slavers and Horune pirates constantly raid South Africa's coasts to the point that the nation has no fishing or coastal settlements other than some patrol bases meant to fight off incursions. Though most raids are fairly quick, they are common enough that South Africa can be said to be fighting on three fronts most of the time.

As a result, South African society is heavily militarized. Childhood education includes military training, and all able-bodied men and childless women are required to serve 6-year terms in the military upon reaching adulthood. The South African Army is the most developed, experienced, and professional human military force on the African continent, combining robots, power armor, artillery, and aircraft. Their technology isn't as good as that of the Kilimanjaro enclaves, who make better weapons, armor and vehicles, but their veteran troops are the best-trained and most-capable fighting soldiers in Africa. Culturally, South African society values spartan, efficient, and plain lifestyles and service to their nation.

Culturally, South Africa started off being quite xenophobic, with little tolerance for debees. However, a series of reforms in recent decades have softened this position. The first reform was the establishment of a foreign legion sixty years ago to bolster troop numbers. Though it was intended as a way for foreign humans to become citizens, its recruiters mistakenly misinterpreted the legal term "alien," to mean "alien humanoids" rather than "human foreigner," as parliament had intended. Parliament learned what had happened when the first debees took their place in civilian society as citizens. In the decades since, this has become a standard practice, and now the descendants of debee veterans serve in the regular army. These debees are mostly non-supernatural (no M.D.C.), and most look fairly human (elf, dwarf, mind bleeder, et cetera). South Africa's Army also uses some magic users and psychics in an irregular division of the Army, from which they get attached to regular military units for specific missions. Magic users and psychics have begun to find a place within civilian society as well. Most magic users and psionics try to use their powers in subtle ways or in private; flashy or ostentatious public exhibitions are considered wasteful and rude.

The incorporation of debees, magic, and psionics has bolstered their strength, and allowed South Africa to start considering expanding its ambitions beyond survival as it builds up its strength. Up to now, South Africa has had little influence or interest outside its borders. Monsters and debees plague the Kalahari Desert and Savanna for almost a thousand miles to the north, while pirates and raiders dominate the seas around them. In recent years, the South African Army has sent a few long patrols to range out and meet with other powers, but the distances and dangers have prevented meaningful trade or alliances with the other human or friendly civilizations of Africa, with no way to grow except through military expansion. Thus, the republic of South Africa has been coiling its strength for a new campaign, a campaign in which its army would be the invader.

The Time of Death

Death will appear in South Africa, where he will lurk and use his minions to wreak havoc. His chief human collaborators will be necromancers, witches, priests of darkness, and death cultists. His minions will include undead terrors, as well as demons and deevils that delight in the macabre, like Ghouls and Nasu. However, Death will not try to thoroughly wreck the region he appears in like his brothers will; his goal will be to either keep the South African region too busy with fending off his minions to bother with troubles in other parts of the continent, or else to corrupt South Africa and turn it into a massive death cult. Death himself will not take much direct action until two or more of his brothers unite, at which point he will gather his minions and head north towards the other horsemen and their hordes, likely being the last to arrive. Once Death joins his brothers, they will seek out and destroy some Millennium Trees in Uganda before riding north to the city of Rama, where they can join at the super-nexus of in the Phoenix Empire.

South Africa will likely survive and weather the brunt of attacks from Death's minions as long as the Four Horsemen are ultimately defeated. However, the way that it survives will shape its future. The nation may become so focused on hunting down the agents of death that it embraces a culture of inquisition, presuming guilt and bringing death to debees and dissidents. If this happens, then Death will be able to remain and will become a driving force in this region for generations to come. Alternately, it may reach out and seek to help and unite and liberate other human peoples in Africa from the threat of the Four Horsemen and the oppression of evil debees, adapting an expeditionary mindset. If this leads to violent expansionism and imperialism, Death will also remain and become a driving force in this region and beyond. If this is more focused on diplomacy, trade, and cooperation, then Death will vanish when the last of his brothers falls.

_________________
Hotrod
Bizantium and the Northern Isles, p65 map
Arenas of Atlantis, Rifter 69
Check out my maps here!
Also, check out my Instant NPC Generators!
Like what you see? There's more on my Patreon Page.


Last edited by Hotrod on Tue Nov 24, 2020 10:22 pm, edited 7 times in total.

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Unread postPosted: Tue Nov 17, 2020 6:05 pm
  

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Nigeria


The Giant of the Golden Age

Nigeria was the richest, most populous, and most powerful member at the outset of the African Union, and its prosperity only grew in the decades that followed. Long known as "The Giant of Africa," Nigeria built towering coastal arcology mega-cities, a trend that other members followed through the Golden Age, though none built as many arcologies, or built them as large as the Nigerians. Nigeria's people and leaders led the development of the pan-African language, trade, and technology across the continent. While all of Africa prospered in the Golden Age, none prospered more so than Nigeria, and none suffered worse in the cataclysm that followed.

The Fall

Massive earthquakes toppled the great coastal arcologies, and the few lucky enough to survive the falling super-structures drowned in tsunamis that followed. Inland, the skyscrapers of the older cities fell, and the survivors soon found themselves without electricity, running water, shelter, or a reliable food supply. Half the country's population died in a matter of minutes, and half of the remainder died out in the subsequent year from injuries, sickness, exposure, and starvation. Then there were the Rifts.

Nigeria had no army and only a very small police force before the Coming of the Rifts, so when aliens poured out through the Rifts, the people had no way of fighting them off. In addition to the monsters that plagued all of Rifts Earth, a single Rift brought in many hundreds of a clan of Lizard Men who moved in and vied for control over people, ley lines, and nexuses. The people had little choice but to run, hide, or submit to the Lizard Men, the only invaders who seemed to value keeping humans alive as slaves. In a matter of weeks, the former citizens of Africa's premier state became refugees or slaves to the Lizard Men, scraping out a desperate existence in a chaos of shifting petty dominions. Over a generation, the Lizard Men forced out competing warlords and then focused their time on vying with each other in chaotic, petty squabbles.

Over the next fifty years, three things happened. First, many debees came through Nigeria and fell under the power of the Lizard Men, bonding with the native people under the same masters' yokes. Second, the people of Nigeria came to learn the ways of magic, first by providing P.P.E. to their masters in ceremonial magic, and then by learning the secrets of that ceremonial magic directly from their masters and fellow debee slaves. Finally, the people of Nigeria who remembered living in freedom instilled a yearning for freedom both in their descendants and the debee slaves.

Slowly, gradually, warlord by warlord, the humans and debees of Nigeria overthrew their masters. The process took generations and the concerted efforts of many people, but 200 years after the Coming of the Rifts, Nigeria killed or drove off the last Lizard Man tyrant, and the region became a collection of mostly free communities. Many of those communities were starting to discuss reuniting as a nation. Then the Splugorth came.

A People Without Cities

For the last century, the Splutorth City of Gorth to the west of Nigeria has been a major base for Splugorth slavers and raiders, and Nigeria is their favorite target. The High Lord in charge has long delighted in targeting its Nigeria's most populous population centers. This has encouraged the people to spread out and adapt an agrarian and somewhat nomadic lifestyle. It has also kept them from organizing and uniting. Instead, the loose communities have developed ways to help neighbors evade and resist the Splugorth slavers. Nigerians live out on the land, rarely building large structures and only gathering in numbers when necessary.

While Nigerians understand and appreciate what technology can do, their lack of permanent settlements makes it difficult to use any kind of industrial technology. Thus, high-tech is generally either imported by traders from far away or passed down as heirlooms. People capable of maintaining, repairing, and making new items are highly respected. Technology is more of a status symbol, not something they generally rely on. Instead, they rely on the magic they learned from the Lizard Men and other debees.

Nigerian magic users in Rifts have a particular focus on ceremonial magic. While they can use ley lines and nexus points like any magic user, they focus more on gathering people together to get additional P.P.E. needed for their most potent powers. They have a particular focus on weather control; most (75%) are Rain Makers. Their ability to regulate and control the weather makes them extremely useful for growing crops, impeding Splugorth slaver patrols, and hiding their people. Thanks in part to the Rain Makers, Nigeria's farms produce abundant food, far in excess of their own needs. The people are accustomed to plenty, and this makes the Time of the Horsemen all the harder for Nigeria.

The Great Famine

Famine will appear in this area. With a large population, Famine's ability to ruin food supplies will be a major threat. Collaborators will include witches, priests of darkness, corrupted rainmakers (bad weather to ruin crops), and appropriate demons/deevils that specialize in wasting/hunger. Famine and his minions/collaborators will seek to lay waste to the whole region, and once victorious will either migrate southeast to link up with Pestilence in the Congo, east to link up with War around Mount Kilimanjaro, or south to link up with Death.

Victory over Famine will require the loose confederation to pool its resources and have neighbors helping out neighbors, and this will effectively create a new, powerful, and cosmopolitan nation far more capable of resisting and defeating Splugorth slavers. Defeat will turn the region into a dusty, empty wasteland and likely result in the Splugorth abandoning their stronghold due to a lack of available slaves to capture.

_________________
Hotrod
Bizantium and the Northern Isles, p65 map
Arenas of Atlantis, Rifter 69
Check out my maps here!
Also, check out my Instant NPC Generators!
Like what you see? There's more on my Patreon Page.


Last edited by Hotrod on Wed Nov 25, 2020 8:45 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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Unread postPosted: Tue Nov 17, 2020 6:06 pm
  

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The Congo


The Congo is a huge region in Rifts that takes up almost half the continent. There are three loos cultures/nations there based on genetic engineering, Mystic Herbology, and Biomancy respectively.

Pestilence will appear in the Congo. Devouring swarms of locusts and the diseases they bring are a natural fit for the Congo and the bio-centric nature of the locals' power. Collaborators could include witches, priests of darkness, corrupted biomancers and genetic engineers, and minions could include the beetles that Pestilence produces from his staff, engineered/biomanced superbugs, and demons/deevils that specialize in pestilence (demon locusts, for example). Having laid waste to the Congo, Pestilence will either head northwest to seek Famine or east to seek War.

If the three nations of the Congo defeat Pestilence, they will emerge stronger and united, forming a new Congo nation. If Pestilence defeats them, then the region will be laid waste, and the Congo itself will become a withered husk. Even if Pestilence is defeated later and other humans attempt to recreate the rain forest, it will take generations of work on a massive scale to reestablish the Congo to its former glory.

_________________
Hotrod
Bizantium and the Northern Isles, p65 map
Arenas of Atlantis, Rifter 69
Check out my maps here!
Also, check out my Instant NPC Generators!
Like what you see? There's more on my Patreon Page.


Last edited by Hotrod on Tue Nov 17, 2020 8:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Unread postPosted: Tue Nov 17, 2020 6:07 pm
  

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Uganda: the Front Line Against the Phoenix Empire



Missing the Golden Age

Prior to the Coming of the Rifts, many Africans regarded Uganda a country that much of the African Union's Golden Age progress had passed by. Landlocked and lacking unique resources, Uganda was a quiet and rural region. Many of its most ambitious people migrated to coastal megacities or the Kilimanjaro Space Complex to the south. However, Uganda enjoyed a quiet prosperity thanks to two key factors: the introduction of hardy, low-maintenance crops engineered to do well in its climate, and the healthy appetites of its wealthier neighbors.


Missing the Apocalypse

The Coming of the Rifts didn't hit Uganda as hard as most of the African Union. Being landlocked, lacking major cities to topple, and having plenty of hardy crops that grew wild with little need for active maintenance the death toll of the immediate Coming of the Rifts allowed much of the population to survive the initial earthquakes, especially outside the cities. The alien invasions that followed devastated much of the land, but in the midst of these terrors, the survivors found shelter around three ley line nexuses where sapling Millennium trees grew. In the centuries that followed, these Millennium Trees sheltered and protected Ugandans against demonic invaders and disasters of many kinds.

As the three trees shielded the Ugandans, so the Ugandans have come to shield much of Africa by stopping the southward expansion of the Phoenix Empire. Each tree is a bastion against evil supernatural creatures, a self-sufficient city-state, and a headquarters for one of the three fighting orders that focus on fighting supernatural evil.


The Three Trees of Uganda

The Tree at Gulu is the northernmost tree in Uganda, and thus the closest to the Phoenix Empire's frontier. The Gulu Tree is particularly determined to fight evil supernatural invaders both nearby and across Africa. Few Millennium Tree Druids visit or stay long here; the tree regards such folk as useless bums worthy only of dreams implying they should do something productive or get lost. Instead, the tree focuses its gifts on people who will put its gifts to use fighting supernatural enemies directly and those who support such warriors. Such visitors will sometimes get a single gift, but most of the tree's gifts go to support The Gulu Order, a large group of warrior monks who use weapons and armor given by the tree.

Gulu Order Spearmen
use the Warrior Monk O.C.C. from Palladium Fantasy with appropriate skill selections for Rifts. They use unique Millennium Tree spears (stats TBD) and wear Bark Armor.
Gulu Order Archers use the Warrior Monk O.C.C. from Palladium Fantasy, but in lieu of that O.C.C.'s abilities with the spear, they take the Longbowman's O.C.C. abilities with the longbow. They use Millennium Tree Longbows (see Eastern Territories from PF) and wear Leaf Armor.
Regardless of their specialty, monks of the Gulu Order develop such an affinity for their Millennium Tree armor and weapons that they can channel P.P.E. to repair these gifts and even reproduce some of a Millennium Tree's powers at a much smaller and weaker scale (powers TBD). Monks of the Gulu Order mistrust technology, preferring to use their symbiotic relationship with their gifts to solve their problems. The Gulu Order is open to any non-supernatural person (no MDC), and members are inducted as youths and raised in a special monastery branch of the Gulu Tree. Most of its monks either live in the tree or in the surrounding communities, where they keep the peace and fight off supernatural invaders. Some monks wander far from the tree, but all monks maintain a mental connection with the Gulu Tree and will feel instinctively drawn to help the tree and other monks when supernatural evil threatens them.

Other communities in and around the Gulu Tree's region of influence live lives that are fairly simple, without much technology, depending on gifts from the tree to keep their lands fertile and productive. Most of these villages see the Gulu Tree itself and The Gulu Tree's sphere of influence is fairly small, however, as it devotes far more of its gifts to the Gulu Order than to the farmers supporting them. At times of great need, the Gulu Tree will create an Avatar (see PF's Eastern Territories) and call all members who can come to fight off a great threat nearby.

The Tree at Mbale is closest to the Kilimanjaro region. Thanks to shared ancestry and robust trade with the Kilimanjaro region, the communities in and around the Mbale Tree are the most tech-savvy in Uganda. They are also the most widespread, most-organized, and most-productive farming communities in Uganda. Each village and community sends a representative to a council that votes on matters and selects the leadership of the Mbale Riders

The Mbale Tree is the largest of the three in Africa, and it delights in growth and productivity. Most of its gifts are the types that are useful for raising crops: the Staff of Purity, the Staff of Prosperity, and the Wand of Dowsing are particularly common. The Wand of Dowsing is highly prized in the Kilimanjaro region among the scavenger groups seeking buried relics and technology.

The Mbale Riders
are a paramilitary organization based at the Mbale Tree. Their style of fighting is supremely well-suited to the wide-open savannah, using fast movement and long-range shooting. Hovercraft, hover-bikes, jet bikes, and jet packs are their preferred vehicles, while their favorite weapons are long-range guns like rail guns, laser rifles, and conventional (S.D.C.) rifles. [Happy to take suggestions on a good O.C.C. for the Mbale Riders].

The Riders themselves train and live in and around the Mbale Tree and are the most centralized of the Ugandan fighting orders. Thanks to radio antennas at the top of the Mbale Tree and aerial drones repeating signals, the Riders will hear any call for help among its constituent communities instantly and send riders out within a few minutes. Riders also often go out on short patrols in variable groups, and occasionally, pairs or even individual Riders will go on long patrols across most of Africa, and sometimes beyond to gather information, explore, and meet with other groups.

The Tree at Fort Portal stands between Lake Albert and Lake Edward at the edge of the Congo. The savanna around the Fort Portal Tree is dotted with ranches and herds: cattle, goats, and other livestock. To the west, the Congo stretches out, and the wildlife hunting game and predators are thick and plentiful. Settlements are small and spread out, and there is no central authority.

The Portal Tree delights in the cycles of animal life, herding, hunting, and healing. Its branches and inner passages are a bewildering maze that seem to open, and close when they are out of sight. They do not actually do so, but the magic of the tree confuses and confounds most visitors. Those who the Portal Tree likes will generally find their way to what they seek. Visitors or enemies must roll to save vs magic at 18 spell strength three consecutive times or else become hopelessly lost and find no way through the tree's inner passages. The Portal Tree allows a chosen few to live inside and walk its passages unhindered. These are the Portal Rangers.

The Portal Rangers
are a mysterious order of elite hunters that seem to appear and disappear without explanation. [I don't have a good concept for them yet].

Though each tree and its surrounding peoples' have different approaches to living, working, and fighting, they generally respect each other, and they trade in basic goods, share information, and occasionally team up to fight demons. Despite their strength, Uganda remains a major crossroads for demons, minions, and collaborators moving north and south. This has become worse in the Time of the Horsemen.


The Battlefield of Africa

In the year leading up to the Horsemen arriving, demonic incursions from the north will increase threefold. All three fighting orders will have their hands full with hunts, skirmishes, and non-boss battles as the locals take on interlopers and invaders. However, there will be little of the corruption games or investigating local collaborators. The people of Uganda are solidly against the Phoenix Empire and the Armageddon demons, and they are prepared to die fighting them.

And die they may. Should Death unite with War, Famine, and/or Pestilence, Uganda is a good region for 1-3 climactic battles against each Millennium Tree. The Ugandan fighting orders are used to fighting disorganized demons, not the coordinated hordes of the Armageddon Demons and the professional army of the Phoenix Empire. They will need all the help they can get. This will probably be the best area for the Gathering of Heroes to go assist in fighting the Horsemen, and the Ugandans will take any help they can get to win.

Alas, even beating the Horsemen may not be enough to save Uganda. If either Kilimanjaro falls to War or the Congo succumbs to Pestilence, or if either region suffers too much to continue trading with and supporting Uganda, their support will lapse, the power base for two of the three Millennium Trees will be gone, and this region's prospects for holding off the wrath of the Phoenix Empire will become grim.

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Unread postPosted: Tue Nov 17, 2020 6:07 pm
  

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Placeholder Reply: the Phoenix Empire in depth. I've got nothing so far.

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Unread postPosted: Tue Nov 17, 2020 6:09 pm
  

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This reply is for the Four Horsemen Campaign notes.

The Summoning: The Giza Pyramid, in Rama the City of Doom
Pharaoh Rama-Set planned and prepared for this moment for over a century. At a moment when dawn coincided with a lunar eclipse, thousands of demons would complete an elaborate ritual, and he would summon forth and unite the Horsemen. He planned for everything, psionically blocking the event to all would-be observers and clairvoyants, setting up barriers and force fields around the pyramid to keep out interlopers, and creating elaborate ruses and cover stories to keep the ritual's true purpose secret to all outsiders. Then, at the moment when the Horsemen began to emerge from the great Rift he'd created, some saboteurs blocked the critical flow of magic energy from the pyramid and released it in a titanic wave that flattened most buildings near the great pyramid. The Four Horsemen's arrival was delayed by a few years and scattered across the continent. The rage of Rama-Set and his demons was immense, and they vented it on the slaves and weaker citizens of Rama in a night of bloody slaughter.

The party could be in Rama when the initial summoning happens. If so, they will have to find a way to escape the wrath of the rampaging demon horde. In the days after, they could also work as spies and try to collect information about what is to come, where the Horsemen are expected to arrive, and what Rama-Set is doing about it. If they can get accurate information out to the free peoples of Africa, that will help the rest of the continent to better organize and prepare for the horrors to come.

Conspiracies, Cults, and Chaos
Prior to the Horsemen arriving, Rama-Set will send out demons and emissaries to try to prepare things for the horsemen: establishing death cults, building hidden temples, setting up conspiracies to destabilize regions, and assassinating key leaders and figures across the continent. This will be a time of whispered rumors, secret meetings, and acts of terror across the continent. Violence will swell across the continent, but most of the violence will be on a small, personal scale.

Meeting this threat, heroes will rise in Africa to uncover and fight these demons, cults, and collaborators. Other heroes will come from around the world and across the Megaverse to help, called and guided there by forces they do not understand. There will be no single Gathering of Heroes at this point; these efforts will be spread out and uncoordinated as these heroes root out the conspiracies of the Horsemen's followers and try to learn as much as they can about the horror to come. The more they expose, the more likely these regions are to unite and cooperate with each other against the coming threat.

Regional Wars
After the Horsemen arrive, Rama-Set will send demons out as scouts, guides, and minions to attend to and assist the Horsemen, and their minions and collaborators will come out of hiding and put their plans into action, openly declaring themselves for the apocalypse demons. Battles will rage across the continent, most of them being fights between Africans defending their homes and the minions and collaborators of the Four Horsemen. Well-organized heroes and regional forces may attack a Horseman directly, and this is the best time to do so, before they can amass their horde, lay waste to the region, and gather. The famous Gathering of Heroes in the north of Africa will happen, but it will come too late to help with most of this fighting, at best showing up just in time to help with a final fight against a Horseman. More likely, the bulk of the Gathering will likely arrive in force only once two or more of the Horsemen join forces and prepare to attack Millennium Trees.

Battles for the Trees
Once all the Four Horsemen (or as many as are remaining on Rifts Earth) have gathered, they will head towards Egypt. However, they will not head there directly; instead, they will seek out, attack, and destroy 1-3 millennium trees on their way to the super-nexus in Rama. This will be a large-scale, direct assault. The Horsemen themselves are immune to the magic of the Millennium Trees (including their defensive explosions), and their weapons do triple damage against the trees and their gifts. Millennium Tree weapons will work against the Horsemen, just not any direct attacks or actions from the tree itself. Their followers are similarly protected, though they are not immune to the trees' defensive explosions. The Horsemen will focus on killing the tree; they will not retreat, and will only fight those who get between them and the tree. Their minions and collaborators will focus on holding off the tree's defenders. Each tree assault will be a big, climactic fight that draws every hero in the area and gives them a chance to concentrate their efforts and destroy one or more of the apocalypse demons.

The tree itself will know that the attack is coming well in advance and will send out pleas for help via dreams and psychic visions, which may draw the Gathering of Heroes to it. The tree will attempt to heal its defenders and provide gifts of weapons and armor to anyone willing to defend it, but every gift and healing diminishes the tree. Even a successful defense will likely leave the tree marred and diminished for generations to come.

Once the Horsemen cut down the tree, it is slain, and the Horsemen and their followers will work their magic to corrupt its remains, creating many thousands of corrupted Millennium Tree items, making their armies all the more powerful and rallying more to their cause.

Armageddon

Once the Horseman have killed enough Millennium trees (one for each horseman, and remember, there's a weak, easy target in Rama: the Tree of Sorrows), they will make for the Pyramid of Giza, where Rama-Set and his demon army will unite them into the Apocalypse demon (sacrificing their mortal collaborators in the process).

Whatever is left of the Gathering will engage the Horsemen and fight to the death, and it is unlikely to prevail. The player characters may join this fight or may be tasked with some other desperate idea: nuclear attack, opening a Rift to the Xiticix homeworld or other hellish dimension, or any other longshot idea the player characters can think of that might prevent or interrupt this final ceremony.

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Unread postPosted: Tue Nov 17, 2020 6:10 pm
  

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:? I am so excited to see this thread :bandit:

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Unread postPosted: Wed Nov 18, 2020 4:40 pm
  

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Captain_Nibbz wrote:
:? I am so excited to see this thread :bandit:

Thanks!

I've revised the overall history and the Mount Kilimanjaro region. Happy to have your thoughts.

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Unread postPosted: Thu Nov 19, 2020 11:38 am
  

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This is a strong effort. Generating distinctions between the different regions of the continent is a great first step in writing alot of the wrongs. Area's I think would be the most interesting overal would be the west Coast(the area where-in the Sonjay and Mali empires once resided) and the area's surrounding the 'Great Lakes'. Africa is intensly diverse of course.

One thing I would like to see is something placed on the East Coast in terms of trade and mercantile efforts. The Indian ocean was historically a massive trade-highway and South_East Asia, India,The Middle East and East coast of Africa are all intensly underdeveloped.

I also really like the idea of incorporating the Horseman as a challenge principal in opposition to the Local populations. That definately deals with one of the massive, and obvious problems with the original book.

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Unread postPosted: Thu Nov 19, 2020 2:55 pm
  

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Just finished reading everything again. I am absolutely loving this so far.

Two thoughts though: The Congo seems a little bit weak in detail compared to the other areas, do you have any plans or ideas for expanding on this area? Additionally, Uganda has some really good foundations going for it thus far, do you plan on fleshing this out more with different orders of hunters and defenders?

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Unread postPosted: Thu Nov 19, 2020 4:04 pm
  

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Captain_Nibbz wrote:
Just finished reading everything again. I am absolutely loving this so far.

Two thoughts though: The Congo seems a little bit weak in detail compared to the other areas, do you have any plans or ideas for expanding on this area? Additionally, Uganda has some really good foundations going for it thus far, do you plan on fleshing this out more with different orders of hunters and defenders?

I took what I wrote up on another thread and put it in here as an outline; I plan on building it up by edits as I go. So far, I've expanded the overall continent's history and the Kilimanjaro region.

You're 100% right on the Congo. I have a vague idea of having multiple cultures focused on bio-tech and/or bio-magic. It could be as simple as importing Biomancy, mystic herbology, and some genetic engineering/mutant animals from Lone Star, but I need to come up with some kind of history that takes the Congo from what it is today, through the Coming of the Rifts, and the three centuries after it, in ways that feel right for Rifts.

I'm thinking of having Uganda and the region around Lake Victoria be something akin to Gondor in Middle Earth or Cadia in 40k: a longtime front line against demons and monsters from the north. I do plan on developing it, Nigeria, South Africa, and the Phoenix Empire more.

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Unread postPosted: Thu Nov 19, 2020 4:12 pm
  

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Wise_Owl wrote:
This is a strong effort. Generating distinctions between the different regions of the continent is a great first step in writing alot of the wrongs. Area's I think would be the most interesting overal would be the west Coast(the area where-in the Sonjay and Mali empires once resided) and the area's surrounding the 'Great Lakes'. Africa is intensly diverse of course.

One thing I would like to see is something placed on the East Coast in terms of trade and mercantile efforts. The Indian ocean was historically a massive trade-highway and South_East Asia, India,The Middle East and East coast of Africa are all intensly underdeveloped.


I will look into the regions you mention.

Overall, I've been thinking of keeping most human civilization away from the coasts and oceans for two reasons. First, having major seafaring nations on Africa's coast might complicate the overall settings as laid out in Underseas and Lemuria. Second, and more importantly, Africa is described as somewhat mysterious in Rifts, and that seems more plausible if few people go there or leave. Keeping human communities away from the coast helps keep the people of the continent fairly isolated from Europe and the rest of the setting. The way I'm thinking of writing it is to have the Splugorth and Horune raid the coasts too often for people to build near them.

I also really like the idea of incorporating the Horseman as a challenge principal in opposition to the Local populations. That definately deals with one of the massive, and obvious problems with the original book.[/quote]

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Unread postPosted: Sat Nov 21, 2020 3:09 pm
  

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I've expanded the Uganda post with a local history and more local details. I'm centering the political and power structure of Uganda around three Millennium Trees and the groups that use each tree as home bases and bastions.

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Unread postPosted: Sat Nov 21, 2020 4:44 pm
  

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Hotrod wrote:
I've expanded the Uganda post with a local history and more local details. I'm centering the political and power structure of Uganda around three Millennium Trees and the groups that use each tree as home bases and bastions.


I really like this expansion on Uganda. I think that makes for a much kore interesting cultural center with a fleshed out and dedicated purpose.

Can't wait to see what you come up with next :D

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Unread postPosted: Sat Nov 21, 2020 8:25 pm
  

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I'm intrigued.
It's no easy task to balance a region that's so rich in undiscovered history, hampered in part by the lack of the sort of chiseled-in-stone records we have for ancient Egypt, with a more modern worldview.
On one hand you have a part of the globe that would be second only to Asia in ancient magic dating back to the even before the Atlantean era.
On the other hand, you have the potential of Golden Age Africa, who, in a fair world, would have thrown off the damage of colonialism and the shackles of tribalism, retaining respective cultural identities while embracing the technological possibilities of the future.

The MCU gave us a glimpse of what one sort of such a land would look like, with Wakanda, complete with its own brand of bitter politics.
So I'm looking forward to see how this develops in its own unique way..

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Unread postPosted: Sun Nov 22, 2020 9:25 am
  

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taalismn wrote:
I'm intrigued.
It's no easy task to balance a region that's so rich in undiscovered history, hampered in part by the lack of the sort of chiseled-in-stone records we have for ancient Egypt, with a more modern worldview.
On one hand you have a part of the globe that would be second only to Asia in ancient magic dating back to the even before the Atlantean era.
On the other hand, you have the potential of Golden Age Africa, who, in a fair world, would have thrown off the damage of colonialism and the shackles of tribalism, retaining respective cultural identities while embracing the technological possibilities of the future.

The MCU gave us a glimpse of what one sort of such a land would look like, with Wakanda, complete with its own brand of bitter politics.
So I'm looking forward to see how this develops in its own unique way.


You make a good point. I've chosen looking forward vs looking back in my inspiration for this supplement, and that is not a risk-free choice. What I consider avoiding cultural stereotypes, another might consider abandoning or ignoring cultural history. The one region where I'm using the present-day culture and history into account is South Africa, and even there, it's more a matter of how they deal with the legacy of apartheid moving forward. South Africa is an exception in the Golden Age African Union, which prioritized bringing all African nations together and moving forward together over maintaining local and cultural traditions.

A skeptic might say that I'm using the concept of the African Union to paint the entire continent with a broad brush and ignore the depth and complexities of African history, cultures, and traditions. I make no pretense of being an expert on African history or cultures, and I generally prefer novel Rifts content over content built on present-day or historical tropes. That said, I also respect that there are fans who enjoy that kind of content, and if you have some suggestions on how to do so in ways that could be interesting and fun, I've got a lot of time for that discussion.

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Unread postPosted: Sun Nov 22, 2020 5:10 pm
  

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Captain_Nibbz wrote:
Hotrod wrote:
I've expanded the Uganda post with a local history and more local details. I'm centering the political and power structure of Uganda around three Millennium Trees and the groups that use each tree as home bases and bastions.


I really like this expansion on Uganda. I think that makes for a much kore interesting cultural center with a fleshed out and dedicated purpose.

Can't wait to see what you come up with next :D


Thanks!

I have expanded on the South Africa post now. My concept for their military is a generic modern-style army. They have a foreign legion (mostly debees) and a magic/psychic division. It might be fun to think up some toys or concepts for them.

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Unread postPosted: Sun Nov 22, 2020 9:33 pm
  

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You solicited suggestions for some OCCs?

Okay, here's some suggestions:

-Mbale Riders---I'd go with a modified CS 'Fly Boy' OCC, or Russian Warlord Mechanized Cavalry

-Portal Rangers----These guys could be families of Psi-Ghosts(from Psyscape)...or, if you wanted to go the route of magic, maybe modified Shifters with an emphasis on stealth magic and short range teleportation magic. Or, if you wanted to bring in Ninajs & Superspies material, ninja-style martial artists with lots of Arts of Invisibility martial arts powers tacked on.

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Unread postPosted: Sun Nov 22, 2020 11:12 pm
  

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Cool concept Hotrod.
With the Congo always having rumours as the last bastion of extinct creatures (from dinosaurs to ice age mammals) it would be neat to see some that either did survive, or similar creatures that have rifted into the region.
The riders or rangers should have some type of exotic mounts as well, instead of just tech options.
Maybe some Shing from the Thundercloud galaxy have found their way to Africa and are hiding amongst the local lion population while deciding what to do?
Can't wait to read some more!


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Unread postPosted: Tue Nov 24, 2020 2:21 pm
  

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This is really good stuff. I need to finish reading through it but my only concern would be what we see in North and South America and that is making it too full. When I did my original Four Horsemen campaign the players went days without finding any human or d-bee settlement so I would need to keep some open and monster filled areas for myself.

But still great ideas in here I look forward to finish reading it.

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Unread postPosted: Tue Nov 24, 2020 4:01 pm
  

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Warshield73 wrote:
This is really good stuff. I need to finish reading through it but my only concern would be what we see in North and South America and that is making it too full. When I did my original Four Horsemen campaign the players went days without finding any human or d-bee settlement so I would need to keep some open and monster filled areas for myself.

But still great ideas in here I look forward to finish reading it.

That's a good point, and I'm 100% with you. Africa is enormous; four times that of the continental United States. I certainly don't want to give an impression of Africa being full, or indeed of any of these regions being full, either. Rifts: Africa discusses the vast geography of Africa at some length. Perhaps I should add some emphasis on how much of that vast geography is untamed wilderness.

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Unread postPosted: Wed Nov 25, 2020 12:52 pm
  

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Hotrod wrote:
Warshield73 wrote:
This is really good stuff. I need to finish reading through it but my only concern would be what we see in North and South America and that is making it too full. When I did my original Four Horsemen campaign the players went days without finding any human or d-bee settlement so I would need to keep some open and monster filled areas for myself.

But still great ideas in here I look forward to finish reading it.

That's a good point, and I'm 100% with you. Africa is enormous; four times that of the continental United States. I certainly don't want to give an impression of Africa being full, or indeed of any of these regions being full, either. Rifts: Africa discusses the vast geography of Africa at some length. Perhaps I should add some emphasis on how much of that vast geography is untamed wilderness.

I think this is probably a good. Pointing out how dangerous and sparsely populated areas are would probably work to keep some of that wide open feel. Also, and I haven't had a chance to finish reading this yet so maybe it's in there, but also a description of what happens to these areas when the four arrive. Like this is what this town is like before but it dies during sort of thing. I did a horrible job of this when I ran the original Four Horseman, granted I was like 19, but it would have helped me if more of that apocalyptic atmosphere was built in.

Like I said though, great work so far.

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Unread postPosted: Wed Nov 25, 2020 7:31 pm
  

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Warshield73 wrote:
Hotrod wrote:
Warshield73 wrote:
This is really good stuff. I need to finish reading through it but my only concern would be what we see in North and South America and that is making it too full. When I did my original Four Horsemen campaign the players went days without finding any human or d-bee settlement so I would need to keep some open and monster filled areas for myself.

But still great ideas in here I look forward to finish reading it.

That's a good point, and I'm 100% with you. Africa is enormous; four times that of the continental United States. I certainly don't want to give an impression of Africa being full, or indeed of any of these regions being full, either. Rifts: Africa discusses the vast geography of Africa at some length. Perhaps I should add some emphasis on how much of that vast geography is untamed wilderness.

I think this is probably a good. Pointing out how dangerous and sparsely populated areas are would probably work to keep some of that wide open feel. Also, and I haven't had a chance to finish reading this yet so maybe it's in there, but also a description of what happens to these areas when the four arrive. Like this is what this town is like before but it dies during sort of thing. I did a horrible job of this when I ran the original Four Horseman, granted I was like 19, but it would have helped me if more of that apocalyptic atmosphere was built in.

Like I said though, great work so far.


I think all of this is a good idea :D You're doing a fantastic job so far Hotrod!

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Unread postPosted: Wed Nov 25, 2020 8:47 pm
  

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Joined: Fri Apr 13, 2001 1:01 am
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Location: Orion Arm, Milky Way Galaxy
Captain_Nibbz wrote:
Warshield73 wrote:
Hotrod wrote:
Warshield73 wrote:
This is really good stuff. I need to finish reading through it but my only concern would be what we see in North and South America and that is making it too full. When I did my original Four Horsemen campaign the players went days without finding any human or d-bee settlement so I would need to keep some open and monster filled areas for myself.

But still great ideas in here I look forward to finish reading it.

That's a good point, and I'm 100% with you. Africa is enormous; four times that of the continental United States. I certainly don't want to give an impression of Africa being full, or indeed of any of these regions being full, either. Rifts: Africa discusses the vast geography of Africa at some length. Perhaps I should add some emphasis on how much of that vast geography is untamed wilderness.

I think this is probably a good. Pointing out how dangerous and sparsely populated areas are would probably work to keep some of that wide open feel. Also, and I haven't had a chance to finish reading this yet so maybe it's in there, but also a description of what happens to these areas when the four arrive. Like this is what this town is like before but it dies during sort of thing. I did a horrible job of this when I ran the original Four Horseman, granted I was like 19, but it would have helped me if more of that apocalyptic atmosphere was built in.

Like I said though, great work so far.


I think all of this is a good idea :D You're doing a fantastic job so far Hotrod!

Thanks! I'll be looking to emphasize the emptiness of the land the next time I do a top-to-bottom revision. In the meantime, I'm working through the regions. I just finished my development of Nigeria, a land of abundant food, but no cities, where ceremonial magic and weather control is big.

Next up: The Congo.

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