Lately, I’ve been feeling that ol’ urge to run Rifts again. That’d be irresponsible of me, since I have a Traveller campaign to attend to, but I can’t help but think of it. One of the biggest joys I have as a GM is diving into the kitchen sink madness of Rifts and showing people how much fun the game can be, warts and all. Here’s a quick pitch I wrote up the other day:
Title: Coalition: SCI (Special Crimes Investigation)
One-Line Summary: Thundarr Meets Fringe Meets Law & Order: SVU Meets CSI Meets A More Lethal A-Team Meets The Kitchen Sink.
The Pitch: The CSCI, “Scuzzies”, as they are called by the other governmental law enforcement agencies and the public, are a small plain-clothes agency that deals with crime both in and out of Continually underfunded, they nevertheless compensate for this by high security clearances, less oversight than the other strictly-controlled law agencies, and an ability to hire outside “civilian consultants” as part of their team. The players will be members of one such squad, dealing with arcane opponents, infiltrating terrorist cells, battling supernatural terrors, investigating high-level murders, match wits with pyrokinetic serial killers, bring heavy firepower to bear in pinpoint strikes, and ensure that the common people of the Coalition are safe from the night.
The Setting: Some 300 years ago after a golden age in the late 21st century, an Apocalypse destroyed the Earth as we know it. Ley lines crackling with arcane energy cast races out of myth and ancient legend onto the chaotic landscape. Demons and monsters destroyed entire cities at a whim. Atlantis rose from the sea, causing massive floods. Weather patterns changed across the globe. The mystic energy of earth, fueled by billions of deaths, exploded, and magic again became reality. Humanity came close to being wiped out, but managed to survive through a Dark Age lasting three centuries.
Now, in North America, humanity has risen again in the Coalition States, consisting of a few areas in the Midwest of the Old American Empire. This empire of man despises magic and nearly all non-humans. Their Emperor, Karl I, rules over massive enclosed hi-tech cities and pastoral farmlands alike. But always, there is the threat of the unknown, with the ley lines, warped landscapes, and strange denizens of this . The Coalition sees non-humans and the arcane as the enemy, no matter where they are. They battle against these foes with high-tech weapons, robots, power armor, and the unbreakable spirit of humanity. Yet some question if their oppressive policies, frenzied hatred of non-humans and magic users, and militaristic propaganda do not poison the same people they’ve sworn to protect.
The Characters: Characters can choose from most Coalition classes, as presented in the Core book and Coalition War Campaign. Other civilian psychic and occupational classes will also be allowed. Characters should consider niche and personality over power level. Rifts is not a game that comes with game balance, any more than all the members of the Justice League are equal in power.
The Style: Rules-loose, lots of carnage, rulings not rules, lots of explosions, running gun battles, investigation, rewards for quick thinking, planning, and really, really big opponents. Not a game for rules-lawyering or min/maxing.