Rifts: Promise of Power
Factions and Groups
This page will give a brief overview of the major factions, groups, organizations, and nations of Rifts Earth, with a focus on North America and its surroundings.
The Coalition States of America
The inheritors of the old world government known as the “United States,” the Coalition is a union of city-states, centered around the fortress-arcology called Chi-Town. It is the most powerful political and military force on the continent, as well as one of the most dangerous. The despotic Coalition gains territory through subjugation and conquest, though it has been a generation since their last major push. They despise non-humans and magic, using state-controlled psychics and mutants to sniff out such “undesirables” and purge them. A world ruled by the Coalition would be one where humanity reigns supreme, rooting out everything “unnatural” by blade, bullet, and fire.
Most of the city-states of the Coalition claim territory across the American Midwest, ranging from the Great Lakes in the north down the Mississippi River to the northern border of the Pecos Empire in the south. The other two, Quebec Libéré and Iron Heart, are geographically removed from the others, separated from Chi-Town by the Great Lakes. Quebec Libéré is well known for its conflicts with the other member states over politics and policy.
One of the Coalition’s staunchest opponents is the city-state of Tolkeen, a bastion of magic-users and mystical creatures built on the ruins of the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul. Ordinary humans are little more than serfs in Tolkeen’s territory, as magical ability determines one’s rank in society. The masses of magic-less humans (and near-humans) have no rights and no voice in Tolkeen, and the city-state has as little love from the rest of the continent as the Coalition does.
The Federation of Magic
The other major magic-using society in North America is the confederation of city-states, secluded bastions, and monasteries called the Federation of Magic. Not really a singular government as much as it is a union of mystically-inclined states that work together for mutual defense against the Coalition, the Federation’s territory sprawls across the Ohio River Valley and points south.
Tolkeen was once a charter member of the Federation of Magic but left when the Federation’s founder started agitating for war against the Coalition States. The subsequent disastrous war shattered the capital of the Federation, killed its leader and most of his family, and destroyed the Federation’s territorial ambitions for generations. Today, the Federation is mostly a squabbling network of loosely affiliated city-states and townships, some of which are occasionally responsible for terrorist attacks against the Coalition, but which all share the blame for in the Coalition’s eyes.
The isolated northern city-state of Lazlo has influence out of proportion to its distance from the majority of the North American powers due to its reputation as one of the few bastions of freedom on the continent. Slavery is outlawed in Lazlo, and the local government makes no injunction based on species, gender, genetics, religious beliefs, or magical ability. Humans, aliens, and magical beings alike walk the streets of Lazlo, and they offer safe haven for refugees and runaway slaves who can make it to their territory. Their lack of military power keeps them from directly opposing Tolkeen or the Coalition, however, as does their great distance from the body of the Coalition’s power.
A satellite community across the Great Lakes has been founded on the very border of Coalition territory, calling itself “New Lazlo.” The people of this new city, situated on the ruins of Ann Arbor, disagree with the general policies of isolation pursued by their parent city, but only time will tell how these disagreements shape their society.
The order of psychic warriors known as the cyber-knights (or more formally, the Knights of Coake) have been a feature in North America for generations. Combining discipline, psychic talent, and cybernetic implants, cyber-knights are noted do-gooders who dedicate their lives to the protection of innocents, the destruction of tyrants, and the slaying of monsters. Only their small numbers keep them from being a larger force for good in the world.
Cyber-knights require a rare combination of psionic ability, dedication to high ideals, and the willpower necessary to endure invasive cybernetic surgery, which keeps their ranks small. Cyber-knights are famous for their psi-swords, mystical weapons that leave them never truly disarmed.
The Pecos Empire
The southern half of Texas, as well as parts of Oklahoma and Arkansas, are claimed by a patchwork of bandit states, mercenary groups, land barons, and industrial monarchs collectively known as “the Pecos Empire.” While the area has, at some points in its history, has a single individual claiming to be emperor over all the lands, no one yet has managed to unify enough territory for that claim to be honored or even largely acknowledged. The “empire” is a place of anarchy, where the strong dominate the weak and where might makes right.
The Cult of Dragonwright
This religion worships dragons as the literal avatars of their gods, believing that dragons are the “first race” sometimes spoken of in ancient transdimensional histories and that such beings are inherently divine. There are hundreds of scattered enclaves of the Cult, each generally clustered around a single dragon to whom they pay tribute and prayer. Not all dragons follow the faith themselves—indeed, not even most, since the majority of dragons find being pinned down to one place a slightly uncomfortable experience. Still, some dragons are true believers, while others are simply callous enough to accept limited mobility in exchange for being worshiped as a literal god.