We pick up right where we left off, where Lee Plazilec, Drey York and Phase Jenkins have just joined The Renegades, a loosely-assembled group of mercenaries who have taken up residence in an abandoned Coalition outpost. The three men have agreed to join the group as special operatives… and their first assignment comes up quicker than they thought when a T-Rex attacks the base, attempting to burst through the outer wall.
Lee wastes no time in drawing his energy rifle up for a shot, but trips over himself and the gun goes clattering to the ground. He retrieves his weapon, somewhat embarrassed, as the T-Rex attacks Drey while being pelted with laser fire from the other mercenaries. Drey, in an act of intense bravery (or remarkable foolishness) attempts to dive into the dinosaur’s enormous mouth, to avoid being impaled on its teeth. However, he seriously midjudges the distance and only serves to leap up and provide the T-Rex with an easier morsel to sink its teeth into. Drey’s armor is punctured by the creature’s massive teeth, but Phase Jenkins saves the day by ripping the beast in half with a massive fire bolt.
Alix, the de facto head of The Renegades, explains that this is why they need the extra help, and thanks them all for their assistance in battle. Shortly afterward, she receives a communication from Cale, one of the kids she was trying to train earlier, who returned to his hometown of Ogden only to see it under attack from the Xiticix, aggressive insectile creatures from a rift, who are building a new hive nearby. The town’s makeshift militia has been effectively destroyed, and the town has now scraped together 500,000 credits to offer anyone who can get rid of the bugs. Most larger mercenary companies laugh off the idea of exterminating a Xiticix hive for a mere half million credits… and so Cale has turned to Alix, imploring her to save her town.
Initially, Alix offers the three special operatives a combined five percent of the stake to help out with this operation, but Lee deftly negotiates (i.e. apathetically refuses to go for less) a two percent stake for each of them.
Upon arrival in town, they see Cale come running in from the other side of town, screaming that the bugs are coming to attack. The mercenaries try to question Cale, asking him how many are coming. He’s either too frightened or possibly still trying to catch his breath with Lee kicks him in the throat for not answering the question. The mercenaries take position within the buildings of the town and make short work of the ten Xiticix warriors who came to invade the town. Phase steals all ten of their alien TK-rifles.
Tracking down the hive, the mercenaries notice that there’s only one mound built so far… signs of a young (and hopefully sparsely populated hive). Alix fires one of her mini-missiles at the wall, blasting a 15-foot crater into it. A second mini-missle to the same location blasts the wall wide open, and the Xiticix begin swarming out of the hive, both from the newly-created hole and the entrances at the top of the four-story mound. Lee wastes no time in charging to the hole in the wall, decapitating one warrior with his vibro-sword as he takes a flying leap into the middle of the crowd, right at the hive’s edge.
Phase and three of the mercenaries open fire on the airborne bugs, picking them off one by one as Drey charges in, igniting his Psi-sword and impaling another Xiticix warrior in the chest. Lee leaps into the hive, and feels the sting of one of the creatures’ bite as he falls forty feet and hits the floor of the hive, absorbing the impact with a skillfull roll. He’s about to explore the two tunnels inside when Phase instructs Alix to let loose all of her remaining mini-missles at the hive’s mushroom-shaped top. The volley of five mini-missiles obliterates the top of the structure, sending thousands of pounds of rubble heading straight down toward Lee, who barely dives out of the way and into the safety of one of the tunnels.
Lee follows the tunnel, which leads up and to a concealed exit – an apparent escape route. He rejoins the battle, dashing up and impaling one of the few remaining Xiticix warriors. Most of the hive has been crushed under the weight of the collapsed hive mound. They make quick work of the rest of the hive and, after exploring the escape tunnel, determine that all of the Xiticix are either dead or buried for good. The mercenaries collect their fee from the town, but Phase has a crisis of conscience and gives his share back, unable to live with the fact that he’s taking their life savings. Moved by his selflessness, Alix and some of the other mercenaries also give a portion of their earnings back to the town. The town, in turn, vows to tell everyone of the generous (and dangerous) mercenaries who were able to destroy an entire Xiticix hive; quite a reputation boost for any mercenaries.
It doesn’t take long for that reputation to pay off dividends. The three specialists are offered a job transporting Chris Tillman, a Coalition RCSG Scientist, out of Chi-Town. Tillman came across some powerful new information in his study of the rifts… information that could potentially help the Coalition gain even more of a stranglehold over North America. Having a crisis of conscience, Tillman now wants to desert the CS and seek refuge in Free Quebec. He can’t pay them any money, but does own a Snow Lion APC that they can use for transport and can keep when they’re done (or sell, whichever they choose).
Phase takes Alix and two other mercenaries from the group, while Drey rides up ahead on his Wastelander motorcycle, and Lee follows behind in his Big Boss ATV, hopefully to keep a lookout in case of Coalition patrols. As it happens two Coalition Skull Patrol cars fly past Lee, who radios to them and asks if there’s a reward for Tillman’s apprehension. Lee tries to negotiate for admission to the upper echelons of Chi-Town in exchange for that information, but once they verify Lee’s information, the Skull Patrol Cars fire a volley of missles at Lee’s Big Boss ATV. Lee’s enhanced reflexes allow him to barely leap clear before his vehicle is reduced to a charred heap of scrap metal. Believing Lee to be dead, the Skull Patrol Cars join a larger Coalition strike force and head toward the APC carrying Tillman.
Phase and Drey, meanwhile, concerned that Lee hadn’t checked in for some time, decided to hide the APC in a particularly dense part of the forest, while Drey circles back to find out what happened. As the APC is concealed, they see the entire squad of Coalition air assault vehicles fly by them. They pass right over Drey, who rides past the APC and finds the wreckage of Lee’s Big Boss ATV. He finds Lee too, who tells him that he was surprise attacked by the Coalition forces, who destroyed his APC without warning. In order to accommodate another passenger on the way back, Lee is forced to ride on the Wastelander’s motorcycle like a little kid. And, perhaps in some act of karmic justice, Lee misjudges his leap onto the handlebars and racks himself painfully.
Arriving back at the APC, they decide to put the bike in the larger vehicle and take an alternate route to Free Quebec. The rest of the trip out of what was formerly known as the United States is uneventful. However, as they’re driving along the shores of Lake Ontario, they notice a large wave is rolling toward the APC. It looks like a small tidal wave, and the APC speeds up to avoid getting hit by it… surprised to find that the wave continues to swell in size… and turns toward the APC and continues to approach.
The mercenaries open fire on the wave, punching holes in it with their energy weapons. Each time it’s hit, they hear an inhuman scream emanating from the wave. Drey decides to stop wasting time and unload his rifle’s entire clip into the wave all at once. Unfortunately, he stumbles while aiming and instead of shooting out of the weapons port, fires into the APC and blows a large hole in the side of the vehicle. Drey claims that he missed because the driver hit a bump in the road, but no one else felt it, and Phase didn’t seem to have any difficulty emptying HIS entire clip into the wave with a perfectly-aimed shot at the same time, which elicits screams of agony from the watery mass.
The wave hits the APC, the impact rocking the vehicle… and then the water starts pouring into the vehicle through the weapons ports and Drey’s newly-created hole in the side. As it pools inside, it begins to shape into a vaguely humanoid form, which Lee wastes no time in attacking with his vibro-sword. Unfortunately, the blade passes cleanly through the water, which easily reforms as the creature grows in size. A final volley of laser fire puts an end to the creature, which disappears with an unholy cry in a burst of steam.
In Free Quebec, the mercenaries hand over Tillman to his handler, Cutter. Cutter remarks at the efficiency with which they got Tillman there… and has heard rumors that they have even destroyed an entire Xiticix hive on their own. He mentions that a friend of his, Cyrus Hayes, is starting up a new venture in New Kenora, and has a Xiticix problem that he’d be willing to pay them to help with. He and his associates are starting up Iron Heart Armaments, a new military vehicle manufacturer that is refitting pre-Rifts vehicle designs with modern armor and weaponry. However, there’s a Xiticix hive near the town – a little too close for his investors’ comfort. He’s willing to pay the group one million credits to get rid of the problem in the next 72 hours.
The mercenaries take their Snow Lion APC, once it’s been repaired and fitted with proper weapons systems, and travel the 1,300 miles to New Kenora, on the northern shore of the Lake of the Woods. They meet with Hayes, who shows them the three hives on a nearby peninsula. The mercenaries don’t waste any time, requesting several fusion blocks, which they strategically and stealthily place around the base of the hive. Drey successfully rigs them all to explode simultaneously.
Upon detonation, all three hives are obliterated and the peninsula itself is weakened to the point where a large portion of it, along with the hives, becomes unstable and slides into the lake. In addition, the nighttime explosion wakes all the residents of New Kenora… either from the tremors of what was effectively a megaton explosion rumbling through the countryside… or from the shattered windows on every building on this side of town, thanks to the sonic force of the explosion.
Cyrus chuckles and admits that they’re technique was a little more direct than he anticipated, but it got the job done and production on their company’s product lines can now begin. He has a use for mercenaries of such resourcefulness, and offers them each an impressive compensation package if they’ll consider hiring out their services to Iron Heart Armament… which everyone accepts.
The first month is relatively uneventful, consisting of guard duty more than anything else; keeping nosy locals away from the company’s buildings while more permanent security is installed. The one day, Cyrus approaches them and says, “Follow me down to the docks… guard duty is over.”
The mercenaries follow Cyrus and discover two prototype watercraft tied to the dock. He holds up two sets of keys and smiles at them.
“Who wants to take these out for a spin?”
Our adventure opens with Lee Plazilec, fresh off his M.O.M. (Crazy) conversion. Having agreed to work off the 400,000 credits he owes for the procedure, Lee is eager to get out there and really make a dent in the money he owes. When “Mr. M.O.M.”, his cyber-doc, tells him about some punks that have been snooping around nearby, Lee jumps at the chance to go teach them a lesson. And hey, if he can bring back some cybernetic parts to further cut down on his debt, all the better.
Meanwhile, Drey York is returning home to his adopted family in The Burbs. After rigorous training to become a Cyber-Knight, he has come home to see his loved ones once more before venturing out into the world to battle injustice. When he sets foot inside the tenement apartment building he once called home, he’s drawn upstairs to the sound of sobbing. He finds his adopted parents, worried sick about their son (Drey’s younger brother), who joined up with a bunch of thugs and is out doing who knows what. Drey promises to bring him back, before anything bad happens.
Elsewhere, Phase Jenkins watches the clock at work count down to the weekend. He just developed a TK-flyer, and is anxious to try it out. When it’s time to go home, Phase bursts out of the building and runs all the way home. He checks to make sure there aren’t any roving sky cycle patrols or Dog Boy packs around, and takes off, soaring high into the skies.
At the site of the office building, Lee makes his way upstairs. He hears two voices approaching and leaps out onto the landing of the stairwell, using his vibro-sword to cut the legs off of one punk before beheading the other. Finishing off the legless punk, Lee heads further up the stairs where he attacks two more unsuspecting punks, stabbing one of them in the neck, and cutting the other one from shoulder to waist as the unfortunate kid fumbles with his gun. Lee watches with satisfaction as the kid’s upper torso slides off his lower extremities and plops onto the ground.
On the ground level of the building, Drey makes his way up the stairs, following Lee’s path of carnage. Lee prowls up behind three more young punks on one of the floors and cuts through all of them with relative ease before heading back to the stairs to continue his ascent. Here he runs into Drey, who has just made it to the landing beneath him. Drey charges, but Lee deftly dodges, and Drey hits the wall. Drey turns around just in time to see Lee attacking with his vibro-sword. Igniting his own psi-sword at the same time, they attack simultaneously and slice into one another’s armor.
While Lee and Drey battle on the stairwell, Phase has problems of his own. Two sky cycles swoop in, pursuing his little TK-flyer. One of them shoots the flyer with a laser blast that cripples the vehicle and forces Phase to make a crash landing on the roof of the same building. In an attempt to scare off the sky cycles, Phase casts a Call Lightning spell, and brings a mega-damage bolt of lightning down on the building’s satellite dish. It punches straight through the roof of the building, as well as the next several floors, striking just short of where Lee and Drey are facing off.
The sky cycles retaliate by letting loose with volley of laserfire, which blast out massive chunks of the roof and upper floors of the building. As the sky cycles circle around, a loud rumbling comes from the nearby trees, and a giant Coalition UAR-1 Enforcer robot lumbers out into the open, approaching the building. Without a second thought, Lee runs down to the third floor and takes a flying leap at the juggernaut, embedding his vibro-sword in the robot’s head and dangling from it, thirty feet in the air.
One of the punks, clad in Samson power armor, fires two mini-missiles at one of the sky cycles, hitting the engine and causing a massive mid-air explosion.
Meanwhile, Lee wastes no time hoisting himself up with his sword, swinging around, and shooting out one of the UAR-1’s eyes with his ion blaster. Drey joins the fray and leaps off the eighth story of the building, snapping his voulge in the process and hanging off the robot’s rain gun turret to avoid falling. The UAR-1 attempts to swat Lee away but misses, allowing the other eye of the robot as the power armor, under Phase’s directions, fires its rail guns at the robot’s sensor turret and blows it off, crippling the robot’s targeting systems and visual sensors.
Drey slides down the front and disembowels the robot, slicing through hydraulic hoses and servos with his psi-sword. Before he can finish gutting the UAR-1, the remaining sky cycle picks Drey off with a well-placed laser blast, sending him tumbling to the ground. Phase casts an Energy Field spell on Drey to protect him, while the Samson power armor leaps from the building onto the UAR-1, using rail guns to blow off its head at extremely close range.
Taking an opening when he has one, Drey shoots at the sky cycle, hitting its jet thruster and sending the vehicle spiraling out of control, crashing and exploding some distance away.
Lee sets to work dismantling the UAR-1, severing its weapon systems and virtually anything else of value. He tries to mount the UAR-1’s primary rail gun on his own ATV, but the weight crushes his vehicle and he’s forced to abandon that plan, stashing it in an abandoned building nearby, so he can come back with the proper equipment. It isn’t long before Coalition reinforcements arrive, including two spider skull walkers, two SAMAS units, two more sky cycles, and another UAR-1. The group wisely retreats, into the parking garage of the building, where they find vehicles to aid in their escape.
Lee is in his own ATV far ahead of the others, racing down the road away from the Coalition troops. The Samson power armor is close behind, followed by Phase and Drey in another ATV, with Drey’s younger brother. Fortunately, just as the SAMAS are closing in on them, two gigantic red-skinned demonic D-Bees wander into the area, and the Coalition troops are forced to concentrate their efforts on the creatures, allowing the party to escape just in the nick of time.
While Drey returns his brother home, Lee gets a heavier vehicle and transports all of the miscellaneous UAR-1 parts to Mr. Mom, in exchange for his debt being forgiven. When the three of them are together again, the Samson power armor shows up, beckoning them to approach. The pilot removes the armor’s helmet and, to everyone’s surprise, the pilot is a young woman! Her beauty seems in stark contrast to her fearsome fighting and piloting skills.
She introduces herself as Alix Delgado, and tells the group that the band of punks were supposed to be trainees for her mercenary outfit, but they were weak in comparison to the abilities of the three of them. Inviting Lee, Phase and Drey back to her outfit’s headquarters, the group soon meets the rest of the merc group known as The Renegades, which have called an abandoned CS outpost their home. The three of them are given a warm welcome and invited to stay the night, to see how they like things.
At first, Alix offers them each 1,000 credits a week, each, as a salary, plus an equal share of any spoils the outfit manages to secure. However, Lee’s hard bargaining, combined with the fact that a gigantic T-Rex suddenly attacks the base, prompts Alix to offer to double the salary (2,000 credits per week, each), allow them to keep their own spoils, and have free access to equipment and weapons repair on the base, if they’ll join up right now.
Lee, Drey and Phase form an uneasy truce and join up with The Renegades, at least for the time being. They now focus their attention on the attacking T-Rex…
Allow me to introduce the characters in our campaign, and a little about their backstories:
DREY “SILVERHAWK” YORK (Cyber-Knight)
When Drey was a young boy his housing complex on the outskirts of The Burbs was firebombed. Twenty-three tenants, including his mother, father and older sister, were killed in the attack, which mysteriously went unclaimed by any militant group in the area. Orphaned, Drey found comfort in the arms of a refugee family from River City. However, the stay with his new family was brief, as a man claiming to be his uncle arrived to take Drey under his wing.
Uncle Montgomery, Drey soon learned, was the black sheep of the family, having left them to travel the world as a crusading cyber-knight. Monty began teaching Drey the ways of his mysterious order, easing the young man’s sadness and filling him with a sense of purpose as he trained himself to be an instrument that would stand up for the oppressed and fight injustice.
After earning his knighthood, Drey parted ways with his uncle, ready to set out into the world and find his own path. He has returned to The Burbs to visit his adopted family one last time before risking life and limb in the pursuit of truth, justice, and all that good stuff.
LEE PLAZILEC (Crazy)
Born into the filth and squalor of one of the fringe areas of The Burbs, Lee Plazilec had only one dream… to rise to his deserved place at the top of Chi-Town, amongst the Coalition elite. Sadly, all legitimate attempts to rise up the ladder of success have failed miserably.
His parents were low-level magic users and are believed to have been executed by the Coalition. Lee was then left to fend for himself amongst the less savory elements of The Burbs. He wasn’t strong enough to be effective muscle, and wasn’t smart enough to be the brains of an operation. So he, like so many others, sought to artificially enhance himself and rise to his deserved position at the top.
With few options at his disposal, Lee visited a mysterious cyber-doc known as “Mr. MOM”. The doc specialized in the so-called “crazy conversions”, which augmented the brain with neural implants designed to increase physical and metal attributes to near-superhuman levels. Lee would not be dissuaded by the dangers of the procedure, nor the half-million credit price tag.
After undergoing the radical procedure, Lee Plazilec was reborn a new man… a super man. He now faces a year of indentured servitude to the doc who augmented him, which he agreed to in exchange for a conversion he couldn’t afford. In Lee’s mind, it’s a small price to pay, considering he’s been given the power to take what’s rightfully his.
PHASE JENKINS (Techno-Wizard)
Phase Jenkins is a miserable friend. He’s never on time, forgets everything, and rarely cares what you have to say. Unless, of course, you know where to find some wicked techno-magic.
Motivated largely by curiosity, Phase rarely hesitates to put himself in dangerous situations (both financially and bodily) in his search for new ways to combine magic and technology. He has a particular fondness and sympathy for D-Bees because, in his experience, they typically have a greater understanding of how to incorporate those two elements together. Phase’s curiosity has gotten him intro trouble more than once, as has his open and welcoming attitude towards all D-Bees, some of which have proven to be anything but reciprocal.
Phase has been making an honest living as a technician in The Burbs for the last few years, content so long as he’s able to use his free time to explore his interests in techno-magic. Although he has to be careful not to reveal his abilities in The Burbs, it’s the close proximity to the technology of the Coalition and the mystic arts of some of his below-the-radar neighbors that allows his hobby to flourish.
This campaign is set in the post-apocalyptic world of Rifts Earth. The current year is 101 P.A. (2387 A.D.).
Toward the end of the 21st century, human civilization was at its height. Referred to as the “Golden Age of Man”, this period in our evolutuion saw great advances in the areas of science, medicine and technology. Inventions like bionics, cybernetics, energy weapons and hover technology were gaining popularity, and societies of the world managed to put aside their differences and work together for the betterment and advancement of the human race.
Unfortunately, the peace was short lived, as corporations and governments raced to develop new and more powerful technologies, hoping to gain the advantage over everyone else. Fear and suspicion returned to their minds, and it didn’t take long for hostilities to reach a boiling point. In 2098 A.D., war broke out across the planet. A nuclear holocaust followed, which tore our world asunder.
Our planet has always contained great mystic energy. While dormant for millions of years, the instantaneous deaths of nearly a billion people released all of their latent psychic energy simultaneously, which triggered The Great Cataclysm. The free energy rippled through the planet’s mystical energy fields, bringing them roaring back to life. Ley lines crisscrossed the earth, surging and pulsing through the planet at the speed of light. Nexus points were created at the intersections of the more powerful ley lines, tearing open dimensional gateways across all known space and time.
As more and more energy was released, billions more died, releasing even more energy. The lost continent of Atlantis rose once again. Coastlines were flooded and redefined. Cities were destroyed. Every time a million people died, their energy would be released, fueling the catastrophe and killing a million more. All of this created a nightmarish chain reaction that ravaged the world and killed off the vast majority of human life, as well as introduced new and sometimes terrifying life forms that found their way through the newly-opened rifts.
For the last 289 years, humans have struggled to survive in what’s become a feral and incredibly dangerous new world. Humans now face predators with hides tougher than tank armor, as well as those that can use magic, psionics, or advanced technology. In North America, the five largest human settlements have combined to form the Coalition States (CS), an autocratic society ruled by Emperor Karl Prosek, a human supremacist and master manipulator who offers military and technological protection to CS citizens, who he strives to keep uneducated and subservient.
Over the past ten years, the Coalition has been expanding its power, in a bid to take North America back from the dimensional beings (D-Bees) and superhumans that, in their mind, plague the landscape. They formed a naval branch in 95 P.A. and created “Skelebot” robot soldiers in 98 P.A., all in preparation for an offensive known as the “Crusade of Humanity”, to be waged against all non-human and supernatural life. The primary opponents are the xenophobic insectoid alien race known as the Xiticix, and the mystical city of Tolkeen, which is a haven for all those whom the Coalition despises, located atop the ruins of Minneapolis.
Our story begins in the capital city of the Coalition States, located 80 miles southwest of Old Chicago, and aptly named “Chi-Town”. The city itself is a sprawling 40-level, self-sufficient arcology that’s home to over two million humans. Chi-Town is surrounded for miles on each side by clusters of smaller communities known as The Burbs. Most of The Burbs’ citizens are hopeful Chi-Town applicants, enduring the six year waiting list for admission to the fortress city, despite a staggering 35% mortality rate thanks to poor living conditions, crime, and monster attacks.
It is here, in The Burbs, where we begin our adventures.