Rifts B.net RPG
The Time Before Rifts


The Time Before Rifts
A World Overview
The Coalition States
Occupational Character Classes (O.C.C.'s) Men of Arms
Occupational Character Classes (O.C.C.'s) Mercenaries and Spies
Occupational Character Classes (O.C.C.'s) Scholars and Adventurers
Occupational Character Classes (O.C.C.'s) Practitioners of Magic
Occupational Character Classes (O.C.C.'s) Psychics
Racial Character Classes (R.C.C.s) Mutant Animals
Racial Character Classes (R.C.C.'s) Supernatural Creatures

From Erin Tarn's book HUMANKIND'S RISE FROM CHAOS; Circa 63. P.A.

Often I am asked about the Time Before Rifts. What was our Mother Earth like and how did the rifts come?? To the last question, how did the rifts come, I must offer the unsatisfactory answer that neither I, nor anybody else, knows. But if there is an answer I will do my best to unearth it.

As to the Time Before Rifts, I can tell much. The world was populated by humankind. There were no mutants, no D-Bees, no Juicers, or Crazies, no vampires or dragons, no techno-wizards, or magic of any kind. Not real magic, at any rate.

Nor were there any wildernesses, save for the few parks and preserves that some of the old empires saved top remind them of their past. But these were prim and safe places for people to visit, like a potted plant or farm. Not at all like the fearsome wildernesses that we know today.

Huge, towering buildings called "skyscrapers," because they rose high into the sky like a mountain, filled the land. I have seen pictures of these cities, but find it difficulty to find the words so that all who read this can understand. For those of you who have seen the growing cities of Chi-Town and Quebec, these cities resemble those before the TIme of Rifts. Only the old cities filled the wildernesses and covered the land. I will try to include pictures wherever I can to give life to my words. A typical city would house millions of people. Long concrete roadways would connect thousands of cities and billions of people. It is even said that man had set good on the moon and could travel the space-ways to get from one end of the world to the other in a matter of hours. How this was accomplished without traversing a Rift is not known.

A few generations before the Time of Rifts, the world enjoyed a great peace and prosperity. The leaders of the day called it the "Golden Age" of man. During this time, many great improvements in medicine and science took place. It was during this period in history that the sciences of bionics, cybernetics, and all types of human augmentation were developed. At the same time, the societies of the world, which had been at conflict for generations, put aside their differences to work together for peace and harmony. Sharing their ideas and technology to build a better world. Trade between each soared and many of the poor became wealthy and joined the world empires. China, Korea, Argentina, were just a few of the empires that rose to stand among the old empires.

I can not help feeling, however, that this was not so much an age of philosophical peace and prosperity as it was a period when the empires simply forgot their differences.

The world seemed to have enraptured with the notion of "human augmentation"; the idea that the frail human body can be improved in any number of ways. The recordation of those days are filled with the accomplishments and the accompanying wealth of each new discovery. These discoveries would reshape the world, as our forefathers knew they would, but this obsession overshadowed other problems.

For all the accomplishments, there still existed a sort of rivalry between the empires, and soon, a sort of unofficial race began to see who could develop the new sciences faster and make them better. At first, everybody in the race grew powerful and wealthy. This is the so-called Golden Age. As long as the empires, old and new, prospered, they were happy. The old saying, "Ignorance is bliss," seems an ironic phrase to use to describe this fabled period of learning, yet I fear it is appropriate. From all that I have learned, the leaders of the day were shortsighted or entirely blinded by the wonders of the Golden Age. They continued to create and produce without thought as to what it was they were accomplishing or where it was all going.

Suddenly, the era of enlightenment stopped. It was as if one of the empires' leaders woke up one morning with a new perspective and shouted to all the others, "Stop! Look at what we are doing Who is to benefit? Who holds the power now?" and every power of the day stopped and looked, and did not like what they saw. Suddenly, many realized that they were so caught up in the race that they had not noticed that they were losing. Others found that they were so consumed by events that many other problems had come to stand on their very doorsteps. Worse, every empire stopped to examine themselves, and in so doing, examined their rivals. Somehow, none had realized what each other had created, or how some had grown more powerful than others.

As unexpectedly as it had begun, the age of enlightenment ended. The empires looked at each other with suspicion and envy. Soon fear and distrust replaced the happiness and sharing of the Golden Age. The problem? The empires had set out to create improved humans. One day, they suddenly realized that they had succeeded beyond their wildest dreams. The problem, not all held the secrets of creating super-men. And among the creators of super humans some were more super than others. They then asked themselves how could these super-men be used and the answer frightened them all. War!

At first, the empires tried to talk and hoped to establish a mutual sharing of each other's knowledge, but not all would agree. This only made matters worse. Soon none would share any ideas. The best that could be achieved was a world pact in which each empire swore an oath never to use their secrets in war. But the definition of what could and couldn't be used, or what even constituted a war, was vague and unacceptable to many, so the pact was seen as a blanket to cover the problem, not solve it. None could offer a better solution.

All this fear caused the empires to slow trade between each other. Some stopped completely. This created widespread poverty among many of the empires. Some saw this as the first steps toward war; to undermine and then conquer the weak. The world became a cold, silent place where brother did not trust brother. Still, by today's standards it was a paradise and the average person had little concern regarding the affairs of the empires.

Sadly, the situation worsened. One of the last recorded events from the Time Before Rifts tells of a small military skirmish in one of the South american empires. One empire sent a small force of the infamous Glitter Boys to suppress rebels on its border. Only a dozen Glitter Boys were sent into the area. They routed the rebels and pursued them across the border, into the neighboring empire. The neighbor responded to this action as an act of aggression and sent troops to repel the invaders. The exact accounts of what happened, and who was at fault, differ greatly, but without a doubt, a terrible battle erupted. It was over in the horrifying, short period of an hour; a score of tanks, 1200 soldiers, and the town of Guada Marta were laid to waste. 24,000 townspeople were killed. An additional 800 soldiers and 13,000 townspeople were injured. Of the twelve Glitter Boys responsible for the assault, only one was destroyed.

The invading empire who dispatched the Glitter Boys refused to apologize, defending its action as self defense. The world empires were torn asunder, some condemning the actions, others supporting them, still others, lost to confusion. Regardless of who was at fault, the battle served as a dramatic illustration of what the new technologies could do in a war situation. those without the super-science felt naked and defenseless (and they were). Fearful, small empires joined larger, more powerful empires, polarizing the people, creating ever more distinct lines of imperial power. The "New Cold War," as it wad called, saw all the empires begin to use their knowledge for the creation of war machines and super-soldiers. This is when the Glitter Boys, Juicers, M & M's, Borgs, Bots, and Crazies were fully developed.

The previous decades of peace were lost.

Sometime shortly after this, perhaps within as little time as a decade, the Time of Rifts occurred and reshaped the world.