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About This Game

It is a world broken and reformed, where the coming of interdimensional rifts to the planet Earth has created a world of magic, psionics, and advanced technology, a world of infinite possibility that now seems so far out of reach. The Coalition States is victorious over Tolkeen; the Federation of Magic is on a campaign of unity against its neighbors; hate and fear, never far away, are a more constant presence than ever. In the middle of nowhere, a small group of people cast away by the political machinations of war are going to find themselves at the center of all of it.

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The Premise:

The war is over, and the wrong side won.

Tolkeen, a bastion of magical theory and learning, where mystic practicioners, other-dimensional refugees, misfits and malcontents could live in peace, was forced into warfare with the human supremacist Coalition States, who had recently begun expanding after years of consolodating their gains and delving into Golden Age technological stores to upgrade their weapons and robots.

The people of Tolkeen knew what occupation would mean for an empire founded on the notion of the eradication of anything that didn't fit the Coalition's narrow definition of sentient life, so they used every means available to protect themselves, including long-forbidden magics involving blood sacrifice and pacts with ancient demons. They told themselves it would be worth it when the Coalition was driven back, that the metaphorical (and sometimes literal) genies could be put back in the bottle.

It wasn't enough. The Coalition was battered, but ultimately triumphant. Tolkeen was razed. The monsters it summoned now roam free; the people clinging to it for stability are scattered and being hunted by the Coalition. The cyber-knights have been shattered, with a significant number having joined the Tolkeen war effort and having lost their way; no one has seen or heard about their founder, or his closest associates, in many months.

Even more troubling, Lord Dunscon - self-proclaimed ruler of the Federation of Magic - has begun a campaign of consolidation of his own, seeking to unite the cities of the Federation of Magic under his own tyrannical rule, pointing out that if the only alternative is destruction by the expansionist Coalition States, his rule will at least allow free cities such as Dweomer and Stormspire to exist - even if it is the rule of a man whose chief criticism of Tolkeen was that it was too soft.

Some people joke that the second apocalypse is upon us. But it's a joke no one laughs at. Those outside the borders of the Federation and the Coalition wonder if they'll be next, and what, if anything, can be done about it. Those within said borders who don't toe the party line are wondering where they can go. Everything in North America is in flux, and no one knows what will come out the other side.

The Setting:

A sizable settlement called Prince's Landing, chiefly an argicultural and mining town. The primary crop is barley, and the local stout is noteworthy; the primary mining export is a vein of zinc which is often used in the maintenance of advanced technology. Limited robotics are used to mine, and the local hedge mage has helped ensure that harvests are reliable.

It's a relatively small town, and like most small towns in the world of Rifts, can't affort to be overtly picky about who stays there - many don't have the power to resist powerful forces such as pilots with their own power armor suits, or mages with a reasonable grasp of spellcraft, and as long as people are willing to work or have credits to spend, people tend to live and let live. There is reasonably close proximity to a ley line, but it's a weak ley line and it hasn't caused any trouble in living memory.

However, Prince's Landing is sandwiched in between the two Coalition states of Missouri and El Dorado, and to the east is the Federation of Magic. Furthermore, their two major trading partners - the city-states of Kingsdale and Whykin - are on opposite sides of "the Coalition issue," with Kingsdale a more tolerant city and with Whykin more fully embracing the Coalition ambassadors that come calling. The current mayor of Prince's Landing favors Kingsdale, but without any support from any other major powers, the Coalition could decide to wipe them both off the map with ease - and many people in Prince's Landing are in favor of taking Whykin's side, with hate crime incidents on the rise. The d-bees and freethinking scholars and radicals in the region are all waiting to hear a metaphorical pin fly out of a possibly literal grenade.

  1. What's new in this game
  2. "No, I think you've got the right idea," Squidge said, rubbing her temple. Prosek's hairy balls, is THIS what the Federation was reduced to? She guessed the idea was that the Coalition would be able to exterminate each hive fragment, ensuring that it wouldn't be a threat to the Federation later...but at enough of a cost that it would put the Coalition at a disadvantage. But if even one of those hives wasn't exterminated, for whatever reason... They really were insane. "I guess it'd be too much to hope that he didn't teach anyone else how to do it. At least it seems like the technique is dangerous. They won't want to do it if it kills the mages casting the spell. That hopefully buys us some time." She looked up and down the eerie, resinous passageway. "You about done there, Firanis? We need to keep moving."
  3. "Is your name Murphy?" Fi countered sourly, making no allowances for the mangled wall-o-mancer being unconscious or dead. She gave Tamika and Adam mildly accusing looks, lumping the magic users present together in this insanity. "Cuz anything that can go wrong with weaponizing xiticix will go wrong." Once the Federation of Magic started using this damn... damn spell on the Coalition, they wouldn't stop there, and soon enough the entire continent would have an even bigger problem. She prodded the figure embedded in the wall with the barrel of her laser rifle, then started to riffle through any pockets she could reach while ignoring any dark looks turned her way. "Hey!" she whispered sharply. "If this asshole is the one who did this - invented er, line-hiving, or whatever - I'm just looking to see if he has anything on him on how he did this, or where, or with who, so maybe we can stop Dunscon and company from doing it again. I like traveling and I don't want to have to dodge through budding bug hives everywhere."
  4. Behind the black, one-way glass of her helm, Phere blinked at what the trapped mage had said. This could be bad. Really, really bad. The Feds can drop hive fragments outta ley lines now? That's well beyond a weapon. That's playing with fire. And you DO NOT HELP the xiticix spread. THAT'S madness. They are a plague to be stopped, not aided in their expansion. "Hrumph." was Phere's only response as she looked at the mage trapped in the wall, then to Adam then back to the trapped mage. Her head tilted back just slightly, as if she were sniffing at the mage, hoping to gain some more sustenance off of his residual magical energy if he had passed away. "You know this guy? If there's anything we should know about him, you or this, now would be a good time." she said to Adam as she turned back toward the tunnel to proceed on. "And we should be nearing the queen, or the completion of our search. Stay sharp." she added.
  5. "Aheh. Yes. Yes, it was Tolkeen, wasn't it. No, I knew of him, more than anything. I knew of the dark things they proclaimed they had to do to prevent the fall, and I knew that the fall happened regardless. And all of us devils had nowhere to go. Well, not at first." He coughed, and a little blood dribbled out the sides of the mask. "Oh, if you're about to reach for a medical kit or a healing spell, don't bother. My own magic is currently making sure that my heart stopping isn't as big an issue as it should be, but sooner or later they'll figure out I'm here and extract whatever magic they can. Should have let go long ago, but I wanted to see it. Not many see the inside of a xiticix hive." He rolled his head slightly to look at the others. "Clever of you to figure out how." He coughed again, and there was more blood. "Doesn't matter. The spell works, albeit, not... haha, not as cleanly for the mage casting it as it should be. The Federation's going to love it. Dropping a xiticix hive out of any nearby ley line will do wonders for our reputation. Let the Coalition spend their soldiers and their silly little guns mopping it up. Might lose a few mages, but one mage for an outpost is exactly the kind of arcane calculus they'll love." He chuckled darkly. "They should name it after me. I demand that they - that..." The mage slumped, and spoke no more.
  6. Squidge stared, momentarily horrorstruck by the idea that this man had someone been built into the hive by the xiticix. On second glance though that didn't look right. The wall didn't seem new enough...it had marks of wear on it. Add that to the way this thing had just appeared out of nowhere... "Who are you?" she asked. "What...do you two know each other?" She looked at Adam, trying to suss out some recognition from him, even if his armor made such a thing sheer guesswork.
  7. With care, the adventurers made their way inside the hive. Being inside was eerie - the group had plenty of light, and it was fortunate, because nothing inside was built for a creature that relied on eyes. There were some allowances for those that couldn't fly, but not many - tunnels took strange twists and turns and occasionally, the group wound up doubling back. Squidge felt the onset of a slight headache, while Firanis had to occasionally smack the side of the white noise generator. But they made it in far enough that they were reasonably sure that one more turn would take them to the queen's chamber - and with the queen out of action, the xiticix's ability to breed would be nullified. However, a sight at the turn towards the tunnel stopped the group dead - someone, apparently a mage, bedecked in rune-carved composite plate, was somehow embedded in the wall, in what felt like a combination of merging and teleportational accident. Around the edges of the fusion, the group could see the beginnings of the xenomorphing process that the xiticix used to change their environment. The mage himself was semi-conscious, his face hidden behind a ley line walker's mask. He looked up at the approaching group. "Well, well," he said, weakly. His head rolled to the side, looking at Adam (assuming Adam was present.) "Well, well."
  8. BB simply smashed himself handholds and footholds as he clambered up. The lack of dexterity available to cyborg hands made his ascent a slow and labored one, but eventually he got up to the top with the others. "We can be that. Fast, deadly and blow the gunk out of them before they can screech 'Intruders in the hive!'" He patted his rail gun. "Plenty of swift surprise there."
  9. Squidge got her climbing kit out from that trusty old Northern Gun survival pack and hooked the clamp up to the rope Phere and Firanis had set up. She started working her way up after them. She wasn't as quick about it as the more athletic ones, but she hadn't gotten through Psi-Bat basic training with no skills whatsoever. Even so, she was breathing a little hard when she pulled up near the top. "You don't get full hives this far south," she said, unhooking from the rope and clearing space for whoever was coming up next. "They forage down from Old Canada, but the spread of their territory is slower. I know there was some concern...scientists were theorizing that hives made in warmer climates might be more active. More aggressive. Hard to tell though, what their native climate is like." She brought her laser rifle up into her arms then and checked it to make sure the lights were green and the safety was off. "Once the Queen knows we're here, I don't think any amount of telepathic jamming will keep them from coming back. We'll have to be fast."
  10. Fi handed Phere 30 feet of strong, light-weight cord, then followed after the big psi-stalker without bothering to use it. The much smaller woman was clearly experienced with climbing, scaling the rocky exterior deftly save for reaching for some of the hand- or foot-holds Phere had carved that were a bit of a strain for a woman of Fi's modest height. At the entrance, Firanis crouched down as well, prepping her laser rifle, which looked just a tad oversized for her, though her seemed to handle it with intuitive familiarity. She fiddled with the device on her wrist, linking it up with her cyber-eyes and cybernetic detection array to set up a mapping app on her Pipboy. "You been in one of these, before?" Fi breathed at the Psi-stalker.
  11. Phere waited a few moments, until she was relatively sure that their camouflage was working, to finally sling her rifle. She motioned for the others (who could not fly) to follow, and approached the hive fragment. There were no entrances at ground level, but there was a decent enough prospect not too far up. "There. That entrance is our goal. Everybody stay close. If anybody has a rope, I'll take it up." she said, pointing it out to the others as she walked over to the fragment and began to climb up. Her pace was somewhat slowed, as thinking of others, she would alternate, extending her forearm vibroblades, one at a time as she climbed, to cut simple hand and foot holds in the surface, making the climb much easier for those who followed. The psi-stalker, for as large and brawny as she was, was also surprisingly nimble. Climbing up the hive fragment without too much difficulty. She slipped once, but caught herself, and continued up. Once at the top, she pulled herself up and crouched, checking down the passageway and then nodded, guarding and helping the others, as needed, as they made their way to the entrance, by whatever means.
  12. As soon as Squidge found the right frequency, the xiticix settled down somewhat. They were agitated - the death-scent still hung in the air - but the various tricks they'd pulled to blind them had paid off. Instead, they began to fan out in a general search pattern, looking for prey that was right under their noses. As they did, the ports and cracks that they used to enter and exit the hive became apparent, as the hunter and warrior bugs flew into and out of them, and the lowly land drones scurried through. It'd take some flight, some climbing, or some athletic skill to get far enough up the side of the hive to access one of the ports, but once inside, finding and killing the queen should be relatively easy...
  13. "Here goes." Squidge winced and followed Tamika's instructions, causing the crystal to light up from within and emit a piercing, high-pitched whine. She gasped at the sensation in her brain, but managed to keep her focus. Anyone with telepathic sensitivity would feel a titanic wave of meaningless telepathic 'babble' wash over them from her efforts. Random fragments of thoughts, memories, images, emotions, all clashing together into a kind of psionic white noise that drowned any other kind of telepathy in the vicinity out!
  14. As the final tweaks on the white noise generator were started, and as Phere's final distrubtion of xiticix scent glands was completed, insectile forms began creeping out of the hive's exit points, their antennae twitching in the air. "Fi..." said Tamika, nervously, as Firanis pushed the button. Instantly, the xiticix looked confused. They took to the air in an erratic pattern, but that pattern was still a pattern. Phere could sense the after-impression of their telekinetic weapons as they were armed. "Squidge..." said Tamika, still nervously, as the catgirl looked to the psychic. "Can you, you know...?"
  15. Fi gave the Techno-Wizard a nonplussed look and muttered unintelligibly, surprisingly low despite her modest height and slender frame. She flipped the switch on the device for a moment, and frowned as she glanced at the readouts on her Pipboy. The jury-rigged white-noise generator was working above expectations, despite - or, sigh, because of - the nonsense sigils and gewgaws Tamika had added to the blasted thing. She turned it off. "I never said it was valid, but I won't say it ain't useful. A times," Fi reluctantly admitted. She checked her body armor, then readied her custom-made laser-rifle with integrated grenade launcher. She'd encountered Xiticix before, but had never seen the inside of a Hive, or part of a Hive at any rate, and she wasn't going to miss the opportunity now. "Let's do this before I realize how bad of an idea it is. I'll keep a link to the Rambler - I can use its cameras to keep an eye on what's outside, and can either send it back to town or use its weapons remotely."
  16. Squidge accepts the 'booster' gingerly, with a dry-throated swallow. Not all mages were crazed psychopaths, but this was still magic. The power of the Rifts. The power that had annihilated almost all of her entire race, and plunged the world into a roiling sea of misery and darkness from which it had yet to emerge. And she was going to use it with her brain. She looked at Tamika apologetically and started to ask, "This isn't... Ugh, nevermind. Sorry. All right, I'll see what I can do about the psychic jamming. Lets get this started before they decide to attack the town or something." With that, the psion swallowed her fears and forced herself toward the chunk of hive that poked incongruously from the middle of a crop-field as if it had sprouted from the ground there. (OOC - Will begin the jamming when she spots Xiticix emerging.)
  17. "Sure, now techno-wizardry is a valid approach to engineering," said Tamika with a bit of a smirk as she got to work assisting Firanis. After a few minutes of bickering about whether or not magic was fundamentally opposed to the notion of good engineering or actually vital to it, Tamika had introduced a few boosts to the broadcast range of the jury-rigged radio that Fi was using as a white noise machine, and a short-term psi-booster in the form of a crystal tied to a rubber band, to help Squidge broadcast a telepathic "jamming frequency."
  18. The slim mechanic snorted, climbing from the driver's seat. "I don't know much 'bout psychic doohickery - I haven't studied M.O.M. implants much - but I can cobble together a white-noise generator easy enough." Fi strode into the back of the Rambler, dragging a hand over various compartments, opening some and pulling out things that might have been junk or high-tech components... or both. She gave the cat-girl a reluctant glance before looking up at Phere. "For it to do more, I'll... need help."
  19. Squidge thought about it. She didn't really know how to 'cloak' or hide psionic signatures from sensitives...but...if they really used psionics to detect people, that might be a kind of passive telepathy. If it was, couldn't she maybe 'jam' them by just broadcasting really loudly? It'd be like trying to listen to someone over an air horn, or see past a searchlight. Of course...they'd know exactly where SHE was, in that case. She nodded slowly. "I can give it a try. A lot depends on stuff we don't know about them, but I'll do my best."
  20. Telepathy would do in a pinch; it might be at a penalty. Also, for clarity's sake: if someone wants to take point on a means of obfuscation - Squidge with psionics, to use the above example - Tamika will step back and use techno-wizardry in an assistance capacity.
  21. Just to confirm my suspicion...I think for Squidge to 'block' psionic senses, she'd need the Conceal Arcana power, yeah? Or could she use Telepathy to 'jam' them somehow?
  22. Phere nodded to Squidge. "We may be able to avoid, or at least minimize detection." she said over the radio as she quickly moved to the dead Xiticix and kicked one over. She cradled her rifle in her arm as a vibro-blade extended from her other forearm with a hum. She swing her arm and the blade sliced through the Xiticix' torso carapace nearly effortlessly, allowing a flow of putrescence and alien organs to burst forth out of the large wound. "The Xiticix 'see' with a combination of scent, their sound-detecting antennae, and psionic capability." she began as she cut out a large gland from the body. "We can disguise our scent with the scent from this scent gland, by rubbing it on our armor... or body, in the case of the dragon, I guess." she said, holding the large gland she had extricated from the dead bug. "A low-level white noise generator would nullify their antennae, and some magical or psionic countermeasure would work for their psionics." she explained. "Any one of these countermeasures will help some, but with the techno-wizard and Squidge, we may be able to manage all three. allowing us move through the hive, undetected, or at least ignored, so we can search for a queen possible queen. At the very least, we could find a choke point inside that would negate their numbers." she added. "Tamika? Squidge? Think you can each handle your part?"
  23. "Steady," advised Squidge warily. "The smell of the dead ones'll be getting to the hive any second now. Could be a lot at once. Phere, d'ya smell any in there? They're supposed to be psychic. Should be able to get a scent." She had her trusty Wilks laser rifle ready, but that was mostly for show. She had a far more devastating weapon at her disposal if more Xiticix showed themselves.
  24. Fi whistled at the display of marksmanship from the big Psi-Stalker. She was more than familiar with firearms - the L-20 was a good weapon - but it still took sharp skill to shoot like that... or a lot of cyberware. She patched in to the radio channel. "Damn! Sweet shooting, Bugswatter." As Phere and BB approached on foot at a steady, deliberate pace, firearms at the ready, Fi circled the Red Rambler in a tightening circle around the Hive Fragment at a more sedate pace. She kept the laser cannon and ion blasters pointed at the Hive, in case of a sortie of bugs, either to blast them to bits or possibly collapse the entrance. Much closer though, and the ion blasters would be a danger to those on foot. She pinged the Black Knight riding the Dragon on the radio - archaic aesthetic or not, that was high tech armor - while keeping on eye on the Rambler's sensors. "You guys up there see any Bugs that've scattered from the Hive? The ones down here have been downed, but who knows how many are still inside."
  25. "This is what I do. Besides, they will show us no mercy." Phere said simply through the audio unit of her suit. She was a predator, that was clear. A predator that moved and acted with swift, silent, merciless precision, without hesitation. A predator that did not kill simple, small game either. She needed the arcane and psychic energies of the supernatural, other dimensional creatures, or that of those skilled in magic of the powers of the mind, to sustain herself. With the loss of her mother while she was still a child, Phere had to learn to hunt these more dangerous types of prey or face starvation. The desperation of hunger was a powerful motivator, and so when Phere, then only a pre-teen, was found by the CS, she had grown strong, being well-fed by her own hand. The CS took her (her willingness, or lack there of, was irrelevant). The CS taught her many things over the next decade or so, but no matter how innocuous these things might be, they were with one goal; to make her a better killer. They took the child, raw, but talented in the ways of hunting and killing, and honed her to a razor edge, making her an even better predator... to be unleashed on the enemies of the CS. For Phere, killing was reflexive... instinctual.. and only the direct orders of her (former) superiors, or the intervention of her partner, Squidge, would stop her from taking life, and even they were not always effective.. For now though, that lethality was a welcomed thing. The Xiticix could not be negotiated with and gave no quarter. They were a plague on the Earth from another dimension, and they only understood one thing. Unending expansion. They were somewhat primitive though, instinctual. Tricky too, communicating by smell with pheromones. Perhaps their own trick could be used against them.
  26. Phere's expert marksmanship with the rifle, incredibly, landed all four shots on the remaining Xiticix, overpowering their armor and sending them spiraling into the ground. The field was dead quiet for a long moment, the bulk of the hive still about 90 feet out and with no signs of further warriors. Tamika poked her head out of the field, and whistled. "Hell's bells, when you want to fight you don't fuck around, do you." The group was, apparently, free to approach the displaced hive... assuming all the xiticix they'd just fought were all the xiticix there were. This far out, it was tough to tell.