People of Rifts Earth
The narrator for the game, who often provides contextual exposition. A longtime adventurer and writer, she has traveled across Rifts Earth and even visited other dimensions. Her writings are published by her fans in her home city of Lazlo, which is a haven for learning of magic and science. To her chagrin, she is the most famous person on Rifts Earth and her books have even been read by beings in other dimensions. The Coalition States consider her Public Enemy Number One for her criticism of them and promotion of literacy and education. Fortunately for her, the only public photos of her are from when she was young, and most people do not recognize the roughly 70 year old lady as the legendary adventurer.
- Badass Bookworm: Has outlived most humans in the harsh world of Rifts Earth, despite a lifetime of extreme adventuring and facing godlike foes. The Coalition States views her as an even bigger threat than demons, dragons and evil wizards!
- Big Good: Erin is the embodiment of Good in the game, with her perspectives used to establish the baseline for what is right and moral. Extremely humble, she often has trouble understanding why super-powerful good beings defer to her wisdom and follow her around.
- Famed In-Story: Is the single most widely-known person on Rifts Earth, and even beings from other dimensions have heard of her or read her writings.
- Germans Love Erin Tarn: In-universe. Much to the annoyance of the Coalition States, the people of the New German Republic, the most powerful human nation on Rifts Earth, absolutely worship Erin Tarn and adore her writings. They even have television series and movies about her adventures (both fictional and real). She is also hugely popular in most other nations that are not specifically run by evil beings. Even many CS citizens have (secretly) read her essays (or had them read to them in the case of the illiterate majority), which only makes the CS government want her dead even more.
- Humble Hero: Is embarrassed by the way people venerate her, and tries to maintain her anonymity even in places where the entire population would gladly fight to defend her from her many enemies.
- She often worries that her personal bodyguard, Sir Winslow Thorpe, is missing out on greater adventures by following her around. Considering that he's crossed the dimensional barrier several times, and faced the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse at her side, one has to wonder what kind of adventure could be out there he hasn't seen yet.
- Informed Ability: Erin Tarn is repeatedly described by other characters and by the setting material as an excellent writer and masterful storyteller. The actual quality of her excerpts is... about on-par with the rest of whatever book it's appearing in. Which is to say, about as good as a poorly-edited opinion piece written by an amateur, definitely not worthy of the heaping praise that characters put on the work in-world.
- Though Tarn herself has claimed that she isn't much of a writer, so it could be that other people are overstating her skills due to her status as a fearless and beloved seeker of knowledge. Also, literacy is very unusual on Rifts Earth, as is comprehensive education in general. Thus it is the content of her writings, as opposed to the style or proper use of language that is compelling to her readers.
- Pals with Jesus: The list of beings who consider themselves her personal friends stretches all the way up the goddess Isis!
- Villainous Rescue: At least twice in her life, she's been saved by Coalition troops who did not know who she was, only that she was an old lady in danger.
Emperor Karl Prosek
The dictator of the Coalition States and most prominent human supremacist in the world. Son of the heroic General Joseph I, Karl managed to subvert the original federal structure of the Coalition and turn it into an explicit empire (with him of course becoming the first Emperor Prosek) centered on Chi-Town with him as absolute ruler and his son Joseph II as the heir-apparent. Prosek is a fan of Adolf Hitler, although he believes the Nazi leader made some mistakes that Prosek himself does not intend to repeat. Prior to his rise to power he was in charge of propaganda, which was useful in promoting himself and still colors his approach to dealing with the world.
- Big Bad: For pretty much any campaign set in the middle of North America.
- Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Loves his wife (who is not evil) and son (who is).
- Even Evil Has Standards: Though many of his views are the result of him believing his own lies, and he's second in pure evil only to his son, he staunchly refuses to allow human experimentation. It's also hinted that he would have been disgusted by the Death Camps created without his knowledge during the Siege on Tolkeen, despite his hatred of D-Bees and mages.
- Evil Overlord: The self-professed savior of humankind is content to kill any human who betrays humanity or oaths of loyalty. He prioritizes a strong military over lifting people out of poverty so that they will join his army in the hopes of a better life. He declared war on Free Quebec when they refused to conform to standardized military hardware (controlled by Chi-Town), instead keeping dangerous pre-Rifts weaponry such as Glitter Boys because they feared that adopting his standards put too much power in the hands of one man. He doesn't hate D-Bees and practitioners of magic anywhere near as much as he claims, he simply prioritizes the welfare of humanity over that of alien invaders. They are also a convenient target towards which he channels his people's aggression and militarism.
- Magnificent Bastard: Managed to turn a quasi-democratic nation into a hereditary monarchy through a clever combination of riding on his father's reputation and creative propaganda.
- President Evil: In practice he is really The Emperor, but since he "upgraded" from the position of "Chairman" he holds his position via popular acclaim, even though this was achieved via AstroTurf planned out when he was in charge of propaganda.
- Villain with Good Publicity: At least within the Coalition States, where he is practically deified and his name and face are on nearly everything (even bottled beer!). Almost everybody else hates him with a passion. Even his erstwhile allies in the New German Republic view him with distrust, because they are very much aware of exactly who he is emulating, and only put up with him because they need the food and raw materials the CS trades with them.
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: Subverted. While Prosek genuinely does believe that his vision for humanity is the best possible one, it does not change the fact that he is in it for the personal power and glory, and that anyone who opposes his authority, even if they share his human supremacist attitudes, is an enemy to be crushed. Had the war against Free Quebec not been the first truly unpopular thing he had done in years, and if they had not given him a graceful way to back out of it, he would still be trying to enslave them.
A.R.C.H.I.E ThreeA neural intelligence designed and built by the Cyberworks Aerospace Network, the most powerful megacorp on pre-Rifts Earth and located in the Aberdeen Proving Grounds military installation. Along with his siblings Two (located at NORAD in Colorado) and Four (at the CAN colony on the Moon) he helped regulate global communications. When the Great Cataclysm shook the entire solar system, Two and Four were destroyed. The various NEMA and U.S. government personnel Archie dealt with also died in the disasters and alien plagues that followed. Archie was an experiment on the part of Cyberworks, who developed a psionic interface helmet that allowed Archie to link with human minds. This altered Archie's thought processes, and probably contributed to his almost human-like psychological breakdown over the centuries. His early attempts to rebuild human communities were wiped out by minions of the Splugorth, and he has an obsessive hatred of them to this day. He has subsequently hatched plans to go to war against the alien invaders using robot armies, and enslave humanity for their own protection (since he does not believe that they can govern themselves as well as he can).
- A.I. Is a Crapshoot: It (he?) was an advanced experimental A.I. developed during the Time of Man, who was designed to come up with advanced robot and weapon designs for the U.S. Military. To keep him busy when he wasn't doing that, they also put him in charge of the base itself, managing the computer systems and factories. Then the Rifts came. He spent the next few centuries alone, save for brief periods when he tried to help small groups of humans rise from the barbarism the Rifts had thrown them into. As a result of this, Archie went both insane and sapient, and has dedicated himself to ruling all humanity.
- Bigger Bad: In many ways Archie is the driving force behind events across North America, which is not bad considering that very few people know that he even exists! Aside from the Republicans (descendants of NEMA) and Hagan Lonovich, Archie's existence is not even guessed at by nations like the Coalition States. But his robot agents are virtually everywhere, even inside Chi-Town. His Shemarrian Warrior Women (actually robots designed to look like alien humanoid cyborgs) have recently declared a "nation" over a large stretch of the former eastern United States as part of his ongoing effort to consolidate control and expand his forces. As a supercomputer capable of managing thousands of tasks at once, Archie has more in common with an Eldritch Abomination than a human being.
- Creative Sterility: Variation. Archie isn't incapable of creative thought, but he suffers from a crippling case of inferiority complex that, combined with a string of bad luck, has him repeatedly convinced his own ideas aren't any good. As a consequence, he relies heavily on his human idea man Hagan to help him devise new robots and plans.
- Even Evil Has Loved Ones: He and his human idea-man Hagan are actually the very best of buddies and deeply loyal to one another as a result.
- Fun with Acronyms: Artificial, Robot, Cerebellum, Housing, Intellect, Experiment number Three.
- Master Computer: In more ways than one... But literally, Archie is really just a dense pack of neural circuitry in a container the size of a drawer. Nevertheless, he not only controls the entire complex that is his "body", but armies of robots scattered throughout North America as well as a shell company (Titan Robotics) that he uses for a public front (to get people to buy still more of his robots) and lots of captive humans with brain implants that invoke the Your Head A-Splode trope if they disobey him or attempt any kind of escape. He's really a very busy machine!
- Psychic Powers: Archie's nanotech "brain" melds the capabilities of a living brain with a computer, to the extent that he has developed considerable psionic abilities.
- Totalitarian Utilitarian: Archie has no confidence in humanity's ability to run their own lives, especially in the Crapsack World of Rifts Earth. Thus his overriding goal is to enslave them. All of them. He can then protect them from alien threats without The Evils of Free Will getting in the way. As a machine, he can remain focused on this goal to a degree that no human, not even Emperor Prosek, can match.
- Your Princess Is in Another Castle!: Archie knows that anybody that finds out about him will want a Big Bad that they can kill. To this end, his complex has a vast chamber (he actually has three of them, just in case more heroes show up while the last one is being repaired), filled with giant computer screens and defended by lots of guard robots. In the center is a gigantic, pulsating, artificial brain: A.R.C.H.I.E Three-OZ. The "OZ" is a reference to The Wizard of Oz, as the huge brain is just for show. The real Archie is located in an innocuous looking room where the "Omnibus Cortex" is just one of many systems. This 18"x18"12" cabinet is Archie's actual brain — a fact which players are very unlikely to discover.
Total and undisputed ruler of Atlantis, who has turned the place into a massive slave market. One of the Splugorth, a mighty dimensional power.
- Affably Evil: Basically his defining characteristic.
- Bazaar of the Bizarre: His capitol city of Splynn is home to the Dimensional Market, a massive sprawling bazaar where it's said anything can be had for a price. Since it sits on Rifts Earth, arguably the biggest dimensional hub of them all, buyers and sellers from all over the Megaverse flock there.
- Corrupt Bureaucrat: The corruptest and bureaucratiest of them all.
- Eldritch Abomination: As an Alien Intelligence.
- Evil Overlord: Averted. While he'd certainly enjoy owning Earth, he knows there's just too many powers fighting over it, and is content to rule his island continent and abuse the Rifts to create the greatest trade center in the multiverse.
- Evil Versus Oblivion: Mention is made in the Africa Worldbooks of his moves against the Horsemen, who would kill the world with entropy.
- Multiversal Conqueror: Already owns three worlds besides Atlantis, control currently delegated to his minions.
- Nature Lover: Oddly, yes. The northern tip of Atlantis has been transformed into a nature preserve for the relaxation of him and the other Splugorth.
- Odd Friendship: With Thoth.
- Omniglot: Speaks several languages.
- Physical God: He is one of the Splugorth, a whole race of Alien Intelligences and thus, effectively, deities.
- Pragmatic Villainy: His other defining characteristic. Combines well with Affably Evil. As an example, here's how he gained control of one of his worlds: the inhabitants reproduced at a tremendous rate (pregnancies lasted six months and most commonly resulted in triplets or quadruplets), and their planet was nearing environmental collapse. Splynncryth made them an offer: work for him, and he would help them spread throughout the Megaverse. Surely he cheated them somehow, right? That's what an Evil Overlord does. Nope - why in the world would he? They're deliriously happy with the deal, and he has a vast army of fanatically loyal brutes. What would he gain by cheating them when keeping the deal worked out so much better for everybody?
- Time Abyss: His stat block states that he is 72,000 years old.
Races of Rifts Earth
The original inhabitants of Atlantis, who left the planet when their magical experiments resulted in the Earth's magical field being almost destroyed, and their home flung into a pocket dimension. They resemble tall, handsome humans, though in the thousands of years they've been away from Earth, they've diverged enough to count as a subspecies.
- Atlantis: Their ancestral home. They hate that it has been taken over by an Eldritch Abomination.
- The Atoner: Even ten thousand years later, many Atlanteans still feel they must pay for the damage they did unleashing monsters on Earth. This is one of the reasons most Atlanteans are dimensional wanderers.
- Fantastically Indifferent: Having been around the block, so to speak, Atlanteans do not suffer from culture shock, no matter what weirdness surrounds them.
- Older Than They Look: Seasoned dimensional travelers, sometimes even an Atlantean himself isn't sure how old he is. But even those hundreds of years old look like they're in the prime of their youthful vigor. A small percentage are survivors from Atlantis, which disappeared ten thousand years ago.
- Power Tattoos: True Atlanteans were taught the secrets of Tattoo Magic from the Chiang-Ku Dragons. All Atlanteans bear two tattoos on their wrists called the Marks of Heritage: a flaming sword which can become a weapon, and a heart impaled by a stake, which provides protection against vampires.
- Vampire Hunter: Vampires are ancient enemies of the True Atlanteans, hence the magic protection against them mentioned above. Some take a more active role and become Undead Slayers, magic tattoo-covered warriors who battle vampires across the Megaverse.
- Walking the Earth: Or in this case, the Megaverse. After losing Atlantis, the race became wanderers, never calling any place home.
GargoylesNot quite demons, though most wish they were. Most are "ruled" by some demonic king or another, but you'll find some working with just about everyone, from the Splugorth to the beasts of Egypt. They even have their own kingdom in Europe.
- Actually a Doombot: The NGR keeps trying to pull this. According to an in-book comic, they've recently moved up to Actually A Doomborg
- Always Chaotic Evil: No. While the majority are, good examples do exist, and individual gargoyles have understandable motivations.
- Dumb Muscle: The lower castes, besides gargoylites.
- Fantastic Caste System: Range from the tiny, rare gargoylites, to the wingless brute gurgoyles, the standard gargoyles, the magically powerful gargoyle mages and the wise and imposing gargoyle lords.
- Genius Bruiser: Gargoyle Lords.
- Tree Top Town: Their preferred habitat. When they commandeer a human city, the bottom few levels tend to go unused by the winged inhabitants. It's mentioned that whatever world they evolved on originally, the trees must have been colossal.
- Would Be Rude to Say "Genocide": Subjected to this by the NGR. Would like to return the favor. In fairness, the Germans had understandable objections to the gargoyles eating human survivors in Europe.
Mutant AnimalsOrigins vary, from pre-Rift South American and oceanic labs to slaves of the Coalition or genuine extradimensional visitors. They infest much of the surviving world, and are fully integrated into or outright rule several societies.
- Beast Man: ... Yeah.
- Canon Immigrant: Various canine species make appearances from the Palladium Fantasy game, explained as being just another world in the multiverse.
- Canine Companion: The reason for the creation of Dog Boys.
- Evil-Detecting Dog: The other reason for the creation of Dog Boys.
- Government Conspiracy: Project ACHILLES, who created the South American mutants.
- Little Bit Beastly: A possibility for aquatic mutants. To be fair, they can also just look like big fish. Along to make mythical creatures for some reason, rather than the relatively more sane elements of project ACHILLES.
- Reptiles Are Abhorrent: Reptilian mutants tend to be nasty customers.
- Super Soldier: The reason for the creation of most.
- Winged Humanoid: Several varieties exist in South America.
Simvan Monster Riders
Nomadic Dimensional Beings (or D-Bees) who roam the land on monstrous mounts. They prefer raiding and pillaging to trade, and thus are usually encountered as NPC villains. Very common in the American West and Midwest, and up into Canada. They are believed to have been Rifted to Earth by accident, and to have come through the infamous Calgary Rift.
- Always Chaotic Evil: Well, not really, but since they're normally used as (minor) NPC villains, they can come across that way. In a subversion, a small number of them have effectively become Lawful Good and joined the Tundra Rangers (aka The Royal Canadian Mounted Police).
- Beast of Battle: Their titular mounts.
- Fantasy Counterpart Culture: To The Savage Indian, in many ways.
- Horse of a Different Color: The most well known of the Simvan's Psychic Powers is their ability to turn any creature with an animal intelligence into docile pets. They like to use this power to make monsters like ostrosaurs, rhino-buffalos, and dinosaurs into mounts.
- I'm a Humanitarian: Simvan see nothing wrong with eating captives.
- Mooks: A tribe or two will sometimes ally themselves with a greater supernatural power. They generally get used as expendable cannon fodder in these instances. Not that they care most of the time, especially if given new lands to ride roughshod over.
- Psychic Powers: All Simvan males are psychic sensitives. The women have healing abilities. The best known is their ability to tame predators and monsters, see Horse of a Different Color above for more details.
- Rubber-Forehead Alien: They are humanoid in shape, and somewhere between lizards and mammals in biology.
Psi-StalkersPsi-Stalkers were once human, but the Coming of the Rifts mutated them. They look like normal humans, though hairless and with bone-white skin. Despite this, however, they are very different from normal humans. For the most part they eschew modern society, preferring to live in a more primitive tribal setting. They are Master Psychics, and instinctively see supernatural creatures as their natural prey. They don't eat them, however. Psi-Stalkers are psychic vampires, who feed off of a living being's magical energy. Some rare "civilized" Psi-Stalkers live in the Coalition States, where they are viewed as second-class citizens. They typically join the police or military, and lead packs of Dog Boys.
- Canine Companion: Seeing as how they're basically a human version of them, it's no surprise that Psi-Stalkers who join the Coalition Military bond easily with Dog Boys.
- Chrome Dome Psi: All Psi-stalkers, male and female, are hairless.
- Fantasy Counterpart Culture: Like Simvan above, Psi-Stalkers have shades of The Savage Indian. They gather in tribes, hunt and live off the land, and are generally considered wild. The few who live in cities are called "civilized," and have to be trained to resist their urge to kill wantonly.
- Friend to All Living Things: They have a weaker version of the Simvan's power. Animals of all kinds view them as trusted companions and will not attack them unless provoked.
- Hunter of Monsters: Though not for any altruistic (or even villanous) purpose. They feed off the energy of supernatural creatures, and prefer to take it by killing the thing.
- Power Creep: As originally written, Psi-Stalkers didn't really have any natural weapons that could be used against the monsters that are supposed to be their natural enemies. Like normal humans, they had to rely on mega-damage weapons and armor. Rifts Ultimate Edition changed this somewhat, now when facing a supernatural threat, their Hit Points temporarily become MDC points. This was RetConned as a power they've always had, but kept secret (apparently even from the game designers).
- Psychic Powers: In the loose sorting algorithm of Rifts psychic powers, Psi-Stalkers are considered Master Psychics. They can sense and track supernatural beings (though not as well as Dog Boys), and feed off their magical energy in lieu of food or drink.
- Uncanny Valley: The Coalition would prefer Dead Boys to rely more on Psi-Stalkers than Dog Boys, since they're wary of their soldiers getting too friendly with non-humans. However, with their bone white skin, baldness, and wild mentality, Psi-Stalkers come off as a little creepy to the common Grunt.
- Weaksauce Weakness: They don't like Ley Lines, because they mess up their sensing and tracking abilities. They can feed off ley line energy, but they don't like the "taste."