Friday, August 8, 2014

Let Me Tell You About My Character: A Rifts Timeline

I am a fairly obsessive player when I'm engaged, and I'm fully engaged in our current Rifts campaign. As evidence of this, have a look at something I wrote up a few weeks ago: background for my player character, Max (and his family, and the North Cascades Combine a little), written as a timeline.

Do you care? I dunno... maybe?

A lot of things that happened in the original high school campaign have been forgotten (or, more often, thrown out for being dumb). But we've definitely established that our characters were recently part of the so-called Gathering of Heroes against the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, so I've assumed that the current year in-game is around 103 PA. I'm getting that date from this site.

In the original campaign, each of us ran many more characters than the "core" ones we've chosen to use in the current one. Some secondary characters have made brief cameo appearances in play, and some others are assumed to have worked with the core ones at some point in the past (possibly during the aforementioned Gathering of Heroes). I'm not mentioning any of these characters in this timeline unless we've explicitly established where and when we met up with them.

(Oh, this makes more sense if you read about Max's hometown, the Barony of New Bizantium, first. But probably only a little.)

Park Dae-sung, a.k.a. David Park, is born in Iron Heart.

David joins the recently organized Coalition States military and shows great promise.

David begins a secret relationship with one of his superior officers, a Psi-Stalker woman named Millicent Reece.

David begins to experience terrible headaches after coming under psionic attack from a Mystic. He soon manifests powerful surges of psychic abilities. Millicent agrees not to reveal his developing Mind Melter powers to their Coalition superiors.

When Millicent becomes pregnant, she and David are forced to go AWOL and into hiding. Shortly thereafter, Millicent gives birth to a daughter, also a Psi-Stalker, but dies during childbirth. David names his daughter Alison Sarah Sang-mi Park and flees Iron Heart with the infant, killing several Coalition soldiers in a botched attempt to sneak over the border.

Artha Kesmai Serris is born in the Barony of New Bizantium.

David and Alison (now using the assumed surname "Parkinson") arrive in the Barony of New Bizantium after living a bandit’s existence for over a decade. David quickly finds favor as a hired assassin for the Baron, the kobold Chulgrem Shran.

David Parkinson is now the Baron’s right-hand man, officially in his employ as his top enforcer. He is given a luxurious home in Hightown.

David, now 40, marries Artha Serris, a psionic teenage girl, at the urging of his employer, the Baron, and with the approval of the Serris clan.

Marcus Itomas Myung-hwan Parkinson (nicknamed Rex), the first of David and Artha’s children, is born in the Barony of New Bizantium. The spitting image of his father, Rex is a master psionic. He can do no wrong in his father’s eyes.

Scott Rowmock Seung-chul Parkinson, the second of David and Artha’s children, is born in the Barony of New Bizantium. Scott possesses minor psionic abilities, but is intellectually disabled and requires constant attention. David begins to physically and mentally abuse Artha, who offers only token resistance despite her powers.

Maximillian Arksam Jae-won Parkinson is born prematurely in the Barony of New Bizantium. He struggles with poor health for most of his childhood and shows no evidence of having inherited his parents’ psychic abilities. David's behavior grows increasingly erratic and violent.

David breaks Artha’s leg in a physical altercation. After being threatened by the Serris clan and reprimanded by the Baron, David’s emotional outbursts and physical abuse of Artha largely cease. Artha walks with a cane from this point on.

The Barony of New Bizantium is attacked by mecha from Mount Hood for the first time.

With the support of the Serris clan, Artha becomes a Congregat in the Church Tolmeti and is seemingly being primed for the priesthood. The Church reveals to Artha that it engages in the sacrifice of the old and infirm; a fact that disturbs her. Frightened of what the Serris clan will do if she leaves the Church, Artha feels she has little choice but to participate in these rituals.

The Kingdom of Weirminster and the Barony of New Bizantium make a pact of mutual defense against the Pilots of Mount Hood.

David Parkinson discovers that the Church Tolmeti is engaged in human sacrifice. He accuses his wife of planning to hand Max over to the Church's clutches and soon resumes his old pattern of abuse.

Artha reads her husband's mind and learns he is plotting against the Baron and the Church.

Torn between her loyalties to her family, her clan, and her religion, Artha Serris-Parkinson flees the Barony of New Bizantium for parts unknown. She attempts (but is unable) to bring Max with her. David is enraged.

Realizing that their family home is now completely unstable, Alison escapes into the Barony's Undercity with Max in tow.

Chulgrem Shran, the Baron of New Bizantium, dies. David Parkinson, secretly his assassin, becomes the new Baron, reverting to his original, legal name: Park Dae-sung. Baron Park immediately enacts a bloody campaign against the Church Tolmeti.

Max and Alison go into hiding in the Undercity, avoiding their father's operatives, who are hunting down Tolmetians and practitioners of magic (and also searching for Max).

Max and Alison are assaulted by Undercity thugs they had believed to be friends. Max is left for dead, but is taken in by Chenoxl, a D-Bee Mystic. Max quickly displays considerable psionic and magic potential. Alison disappears.

Max continues to train under Chenoxl's instruction, shielded from his father by his master's magic.

The Kingdom of Weirminster shoots down a Coalition reconnaissance plane.

Chenoxl releases Max from his tutelage. Max travels east to Triune Junction, then south through the Pecos Empire with a band of mercenaries called Las Perras de Guerra, led by the psychic Lupe Guerra. Max offers Guerra his services as a mystic advisor.

Lupe Guerra is gravely injured and has no choice but to undergo full bionic conversion in order to save her life -- a process which robs her of her psychic powers. One of Guerra's subordinates, the headhunter Valerie Cain, is blamed for the mishap and is slated to be sold into slavery by the vengeful warlord. Max helps Valerie escape, and the pair flee into the southwestern wilderness.

Hathli seizes power on Mount Hood and reaches out to Weirminster and the Barony.

Having successfully evaded Las Perras de Guerra, Max and Valerie Cain travel to Ciudad Juarez (and then further into Mexico) to hunt vampires.

[Other Max & Val adventures happen]

The North Cascades Combine alliance is formally declared.

Smithville requests membership in the NCC, but emissaries from Weirminster find the town obliterated.

Max and Val travel to Atlantis to save a True Atlantean mage's daughter from slavery in Splynn. They join up with Katrina Mansfield and Arisis Solstice in the process. Max receives a magical tattoo (Phoenix Rising From the Flames) as a reward for the successful rescue.

Max, Val, Kat, and Arisis travel to Africa and participate in the Gathering of Heroes, joining other warriors (including Reez and Mian Feng) and destroying the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.

The Sealth Chieftaincy is accepted into the NCC. Shortly thereafter, the Cougar Mountain Holdfast requests membership.

[More adventures with Max, Val, Kat, and Arisis]

As the new Baron's purge continues, Rex Parkinson is killed in action against followers of the Church Tolmeti. His body is never recovered.

["Rifts Misadventures" begin]

Max, Val, Kat, and Arisis arrive in Serendipity. Kat leaves to meet with wild Psi-Stalker tribes. The other three meet Nysa and agree to head to the Caribbean to find her sisters.

Max, Val, and Arisis meet Gia and Arim in Havana.

["Rifts Misadventures" continue...]


  1. I kind of like seeing the depth of people's campaigns, when (like this) there's actually interesting stuff going on.

    1. Nice to hear that you found it interesting. I wrote this for my GM's use; the idea was to provide hooks that he can work with and also to give him an idea of when all of this faraway, behind the scenes NCC stuff was going on in relation to the campaign itself.

      Eventually I'd like to work out how, when, and where we encountered the other former PCs from the original campaign, but that will have to wait (and would probably not mean much to outside observers, anyway).

  2. Yeah, I like hearing about people's characters when it's detail like this, and not "He has a +3 Sword of Eternal Darkness, 9 Figurines of Wondrous Chortling..."

    1. It might help that it's written in easily digestible little chunks rather than my usual tortured prose. ;)

  3. "I am a fairly obsessive player when I'm engaged..."

    And what GM doesn't love a fully-engaged, obsessive player? I'm serious. Great little read! Like Trey said, it's always cool to get a peek at how other people's campaigns run, and how players integrate their characters into the setting.

    I sense a return for Max to the NCC at some point in the future to right that which is wrong, &c.

    1. I'm surprised that people seem to be enjoying it. I felt like it was probably pretty inscrutable to people that didn't play, but I guess I like having peeks into other people's campaigns too, even if I don't necessarily follow everything that's being said.

      Max return to the NCC? What on Earth would give you that idea?

      I feel kind of bad for putting so many story elements in here that sort of revolve around my own character. It wasn't originally like that -- I've changed things to make Max's family much more central to the setting. (The transition to Fate somehow encouraged me to do that.) But as long as I'm not the GM I guess I shouldn't beat myself up. I have no expectation that all of those hooks will be used.

      But yes, obviously Max will return to the NCC, marry the Princess June of Weirminster, vanquish a Coalition incursion, defeat his undead brother and then rule the world.