Friday, October 26, 2012

Rifts Randomized Campaign Setting

Just for kicks (and for the mental exercise), I'm going to generate a random setting for a Rifts campaign. The goal is to utilize various random tables contained in Rifts books. I'll start with the Colony Creation Tables in Dimension Book 14: Thundercloud Galaxy, and incorporate random tables from other books whenever they seem appropriate. We'll see how well I can tie the random results together. Hopefully this will be at least semi-logical, but I won't be sure until I start rolling dice. Whether this turns out to be an incredibly rich setting or one that is insanely goofy, the process will be interesting either way.

Basic Premise: The setting will be somewhere in the Thundercloud Galaxy, on a planet with a colony of some sort.

  • Colony Organization: Independent/Other (94)
  • Colony Size: Colony Outpost (56)
  • General Alignment: Diabolic (97)
  • Trade Policies: Flexible and Pragmatic (51)
  • Environment Around the Colony: Heavy Mixed Forest (34)
  • Notable/Special Natural Resource: Coastal Fishing (23)
  • Buildings/Facilities: Whoah... come back to this... 30+ rolls...
  • Medical Facility: Small Hospital (64)
  • Primary Source of Energy: Satellite Energy Transmission (92)
  • Primary Source of Transportation: Simple & Basic Range of Vehicles (54)
  • Security/Fighting Force: Colonial Soldiers (38)
  • Outside Threats: Demons (21)
So with these random rolls, let's try to fit some of these random facts into a coherent setting. The things that most stand out to me are the alignment, the setting vs. natural resource oddity, and their primary energy source. Hmmmmmmmm...

The book describes a colony with a diabolic alignment as a den of thieves, which immediately makes me think of two things: the thieves guilds from fantasy fiction (D&D, Elder Scrolls, etc.), and the Gangland television show. We also know that the colony is independent, unsupported by any major power. Let's say this is a penal colony, or was at some point, and that it has been either abandoned or it's prisoners fought their way to freedom. We can figure that part out later... for now, it just matters that the original members of this colony were prisoners, and that any other colony members have either been born to the prisoners, or have joined since it achieved autonomy.

It seems odd to me that the environment around the colony would be heavily forested but the natural resource is coastal fishing. However, a quick Google search for "forest beach" yields lots of coastal forested areas (such as this beach, or this one, or this one), so maybe it isn't as strange as I thought. So the colony is located in a heavy forest and close enough to the ocean that fishing is a notable resource.

Their energy source is a little odd as well - a satellite collects solar energy and beams it down to the surface of the planet. Perhaps this was a safety measure taken by those in charge when the colony still functioned as a prison. If things ever get out of control on the surface, you can always cut the power and effectively strand them.

So now that the oddball traits are explained, let's go for a short description of this place and give it a name.

Rhykers Folly is a small colony with roughly 2,000 occupants located in a thick forest near the coast of a large island. It was originally a penal colony, but has since been liberated and is now run by the Boss Council. The leaders of each major criminal organization represented in the colony when it was still a prison are on the council. Although there is some semblance of order, the truth is that the whole colony is run by criminal organizations that manage to cooperate just enough to avoid turning the whole place into a war zone (although it has come to that on several occasions since the colony gained its freedom). 
Even though Rhykers Folly is made up almost entirely of criminals, the Boss Council realizes that in order to survive, they need to be able to trade. Thus, the colony's business dealings have been less shady and underhanded than they normally would be. The colony is attempting to build trust with its neighbors, and the dirtiest business practices are discouraged. Still, it is only a form of self-preservation, not a moral statement, so as the colony stabilizes and needs outsiders less and less, its businessmen will become less and less trustworthy.
Each criminal organization at Rhykers Folly has its share of enforcers, and these function as the colony's first line of defense against any danger. The trouble is that they don't follow any central command, so coordination among different units is sketchy at best. The colony is well fortified, although some of the fortifications have had to be modified to keep people out rather than in. Still, it has been convenient to the colonists that protection from the outside has not been a major concern yet.
The colony was liberated by several of the bosses who decided to lay down their personal differences long enough to kick their captors out. However, what they didn't realize at the time was that their captors didn't bother trying to keep the place because the planet is expected to be overrun by demons in the near future. 

And there we have it... at least the beginnings of a randomized Rifts setting...
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