After tackling the Big Three last week, I'd intended to write a few words each on the other major polities of North America for this week's entry. But, as I reviewed the 1990 rulebook as well as a couple other sourcebooks, I realized that I'm mostly content at this point to leave things for now largely as they are described in the books.
This doesn't mean I won't be changing elements down the road, or fleshing out some other areas myself. But, unlike with the states in last week's entry, there's nothing left that I want to make drastic thematic or material changes to; modifications to a given area will likely emerge through play, and only as needed. I don't want to get into the weeds of re-inventing the proverbial wheel just for the sake of saying I did it.
Instead, what I've been thinking about is which part of North America to set my inaugural Savage RIFTS campaign in, along with themes or plot structures that I want to explore. Here's my short list:
- My go-to (and still most likely candidate for first campaign) is something set around the fringes between the Coalition state of Lone Star, the Pecos Empire, and the Vampire Kingdoms. Specific frameworks might include mutant animal refugees from the Lone Star complex, piracy on the Gulf of Mexico, city-rat action in Juarez, exploring pre-rifts ruins in New Mexico (specifically the old government bases/labs at White Sands, Sandia, Los Alamos, and Dulce), or community-building/homesteading in the forests of east Texas.
- A "proper" vampire-hunting campaign, either based out of Arzno (and with a professional vampire-hunter vibe), or more picaresque "monster of the week" style, ranging between El Paso and Monterrey initially. (Dare I use "Mr. Drak's Traveling Circus" as the tentpole framework for the latter?)
- A "north country" campaign centered on the Manistique Imperium and ranging between Tolkeen and Lazlo. Player-characters could be mercenaries in the classic mold, arms dealers, wizards, or diplomats. This could be your classic "mercs and mages" framework, but could also easily accommodate political intrigue and alliance-building, corporate or sorcerous espionage, smuggling, etc.
- A variation on this framework would be a Top Gun homage, with the PCs serving as hot-shot members of the Imperium's air force flying patrols over the lakes and along the borders of Xiticix territory. There'd be a lot of emphasis on intra-organizational rivalries (and homoerotic sexual tension) between the quaffed aces wearing leather jackets and aviator shades, mixed up with bug hunts against the, well, Bugs and tense standoffs with Coalition Sky Cycle patrols. I'd have to get the Northern Gun sourcebooks to find the right sort of aircraft to place with our 'jocks--aside from the venerable Sky King, do the NG books feature a Sky Cycle knockoff?
- I picked up Dinosaur Swamp recently and was really taken with the opportunities presented in the write-up on the ruins of Atlanta. I particularly liked the Elytherian Atlantean faction, and now kind of want to run a Splugorth-facing, all-Atlantean freedom-fighter/insurgent campaign centered on Atlanta and the southeast.
- Lastly, I would absolutely love to run something in Paul V.'s North Cascades Combine. He did a fantastic job of taking a blank section of the map and turning it into an interesting little corner of the RIFTS world. Lots of fun factions, including mutant beavers, sasquatch, feudalistic city-states, and weirdo aliens. I'm reserving this one for a nice "change of pace" outing after running some stuff in the "classic" regions of North America.
I'd love to hear about other folks' ideas for North American campaign frameworks, if you care to share. After all, one can never have too many ideas!