Rifts: Promise of Power
Aliens and D-Bees of North America
Many of the beings that emerged from the rifts during the Great Cataclysm were just as surprised to arrive on Earth as humanity was to encounter them. Some are refugees, looking for a better life on the other side of a tear in space. And some are the invaders that the Coalition fears. Some look almost human. Others look like nothing that humans ever imagined before the coming of the rifts. The only thing they have in common is that they are from somewhere else.
Alien beings who possess significant supernatural powers and/or unrelenting hostility to everything they encounter are generally called “demons.” More friendly or approachable beings, especially those of humanoid shape, are more commonly called “D-bees,” short for “dimensional beings.” Many dozens—or hundreds—of races of D-bees are known to live in North America alone. Some are limited to a single family unit, while others have communities numbering in the tens of thousands. Very few generalities can be drawn about D-bees, though human supremacist groups like the Coalition try their best.
The “monster riders” are one of the more successful D-bee groups in the eastern part of North America. Their nickname comes from their ability to empathically tame animals, even monstrous ones, and use them as riding beasts. The simvan are reptilian humanoids standing six to seven feet tall, somewhat resembling humanoid dinosaurs. They possess feathery hair and mouths full of widely-spaced fangs. Most simvan are hunter-gatherers who supplement their lifestyle with raiding and theft, though they are known to form alliances with human and D-bee settlements at times.
The “Amazons” of the Allegheny Mountains are a race of technologically advanced humanoids who are differentiated from humans by their unusually colored hair and eyes, which tend toward pastel or neon colors, as well as their slightly pointed ears and insect-like antennae. Shemarrians have gained their nickname from the fact that no males of their kind have ever been encountered and from their martial bent. The Shemarrians speak very little about themselves, but they have been known to come to the aid of travelers who fall afoul of monsters near their territory.
Though they often get lumped in with D-bees, psi-stalkers are actually a form of human mutant adapted to the post-cataclysm world. Psi-stalkers can subsist partially on the psychic energies of their prey, reducing their need for physical food and water, but also leaving them dependent on a regular “diet” of mystical power. This leads some to hunt other humanoids, making them a menace to civilized peoples.
Psi-stalkers look like humans, save for their hairless bodies, feral appearances, and elongated nails and sharp teeth. Many have dark hollows around their eyes, and some have completely black eyes as well. Many communities of psi-stalkers have joined with the Coalition, accepting a status as second-class citizens in exchange for a regular supply of food.
Like psi-stalkers, mutant animals are not actually D-bees but often get lumped in with them. These humanoid animals are uncommon but have seemed to become more so in recent years. The Coalition is largely responsible for this increase due to their genetic experiments, designed to create races of expendable mutant soldiers. The only breed the Coalition still creates are the so-called “dog boys,” mutant canines who are renowned for their ferocity and loyalty.
Lithe, athletic, and seemingly ageless, elves are a race of mystical heritage who have been traveling across dimensions since humans were dwelling in caves. They have been on Earth before, in the ancient past, but they have recently returned. Several clans of elves, as well as many lone travelers and small bands, have come to Earth over the last three centuries. Elves stand slightly taller than humans, with brightly colored eyes, sharply pointed ears, and an appearance that seems youthful regardless of their actual age.
These short, stocky folk are well known as expert builders of items both mundane and magical. Dwarves have a long tradition as engineers, architects, smiths, and forgers of wonders. A few clans of dwarves have built strongholds across North America, particularly Clan Hammerhand in the old territory of Missouri, just beyond the borders of the Coalition. Though the Coalition would happily smash the dwarves of Castle Refuge, they have far more pressing matters in other parts of their territory.
The red-skinned d’norr are sometimes known as “devilmen” for their appearance, which includes a pair of horns growing from their heads. Despite their somewhat fearsome mien, they are a race of pacifists due to their strong innate powers of psychic empathy. They often seek out groups to help with their abilities, though they have difficulty dealing with the intensity of the emotions around them, particularly fear and anger.
Called the “Quiet Walkers” by the Shoshone, the Fennodi are another race of generally peaceful D-Bees who prefer tending to herds of livestock on the prairies or similar outdoor pursuits. Pale gray and tan, with tiny black dots for eyes on the sides of their heads (embedded in small, mobile flaps that confuse others into thinking they are ears), the Fennodi have an effective 280-degree range of vision. Whisker-like fins on the sides of their jaws act as noses, giving them a wholly alien appearance to most humans. They’re very slender and tall, averaging seven feet in height.
As monstrous as they appear, the "Mighty Grackles” tend to be some of the most easygoing D-Bees. Huge and beefy—averaging eight to ten feet tall—a Grackle Tooth has rawhide-like skin, ranging from tan to orange-rust in color, a saurian head full of teeth, tough spines on the shoulders and forearms, and powerful digigrade legs. He has four fingers and a thumb, but his legs end with two giant, clawed toes. Grackles also have surprisingly flexible prehensile tails.
Lyn-Srial are avian humanoids with four arms, bird-like heads, gleaming scales, and wings like a bat. Other races usually call them “Golden Ones” for their shining appearance or “Sky-Knights” due to their drive to help those in need. The Lyn-Srial are a serene people of artists, philosophers, and healers who would rather build communities than engage in combat, but who cannot abide evil. They supposedly have a large civilization somewhere in the American Southwest, but few outsiders know much of anything about it.
Casual observers would assume a quindorra (better known as the “Quick-Flex Aliens”) is human, as they have the same body, hair, skin color, and general appearance. Those who look closer notice their larger eyes, bare slits for a nose, and slightly longer faces. Quick-Flex are certainly different enough to fall under the Coalition’s ban on D-Bees. They also tend to be a few inches shorter, on average, than humans. As the colloquial name implies, these beings are incredibly agile and fast. They have a natural affinity for athletics, acrobatics, and physical activities where grace, dexterity, and nimbleness are needed.