Rifts®: Megaversal Highway™
Helengrad Dimensional Statistics:
Type of Dimension: Infinite Dimension.
Primary Dimensional Medium: Gaseous; Clear breathable atmosphere.
Secondary Dimensional Medium: A planet.
Density of Dimensional Fabric: Impenetrable with only a single penetrable location, located within the realm of the Torstein family.
Magic Level: Low magic energy; counts as a M.D.C. world.
Dimensional Energy Matrix: Negative; only technology from a universal or negative charged world will function here.
The Flow of Time: Normal time flow. Time flows at the same rate of Rifts Earth.
Dimensional Quirks: Dimensional Focal Point; located with the realm of the Torstein family.
Helengrad is a world populated by humans with a strange culture that has all but stamped out all thoughts of violent crime within its populace but has done nothing to stem humanity’s seemingly natural instinct to wage war and conquer without consideration.
Violence is a privilege only bestowed to the 8 Kings and their extended families. It is their right to attack, maim or even kill any subject without cause nor justification, although that right is rarely enacted in times of peace as the Helenic consider the sanctity of life paramount above all others. Although the Helenic’s respect for life is admirable, their means of preserving that respect is as barbaric as it is efficient. If any plebians over the age of 11 are caught in an act of violence whether it be an act of aggression or self-defence, their entire bloodline is considered tainted with the potential for murder and that bloodline is purified by flame, down to every last man, woman and child.
Although the duality of the respect for life and complete disregard of compassion might usually signify both a primitive society and one that is peaceful, neither are true. The Helenic are far from immune to warfare and are perhaps all the more susceptible to it due to the inability of the civilian population to join their rulers in battle. With such few combatants capable of joining the fray, battles are always small-scale resulting in wars with very few casualties and very little damage to infrastructure. A well-coordinated strike from a well-trained royal line has the potential to claim an undamaged territory and immediately add their resources to its own. The Helenic’s disdain for death has done little to curb their greed and expansionist desires and as such, the Kings routinely send out their families in the hopes of increasing their influence.
Millennia of constant warfare has done incredible things for the Helenic technology and it is easily on par with that of the Naruni but with some notable exceptions. The value the Helenic place on life has led to a strict focus on close combat weaponry, completely forgoing the development of ranged technology of any form. This is due to the concept of killing from afar where the weight of the life cannot be felt, being so alien to them that it could only be inspired by insanity. Although their technological advances are impressive, this limitation and their fighting forces being limited to that of the finite number ruling families would leave the planet very susceptible to foreign invasion, which is an eventuality that has only been delayed by the world being virtually devoid of magic and a lack of need for developing Space-faring technology. Simply put, the only thing keeping the Helenic people from being conquered by off-world invaders is the fact that as of yet, nobody realizes they exist.
Thousands of years of warfare has done tremendously little to the political climate of the world, with very little territory ever being relinquished to the tides of war. Although the ruling classes tend to have a high birthright, an army of hundreds is rarely enough when each death is so personal. The loss of a few family members is usually enough to deter even the most aggressive kingdoms. In recent generations, the eight Kings have all independently transitioned to states managed by the plebians. All the civil requirements of infrastructure and education are left to the plebians in order to free up the ruling families from duty so they can focus on combat training from an excessively young age; training expert warriors in the hopes of reducing their own casualties. Each nation has formed a unique fighting style, perfecting their form with a single weapon of choice, distinctive of one another in their battle for superiority. The sole exception being the nation of Torstein, which has chosen instigated breeding programs to achieve dominance. With each ruling male fathering dozens of bastards in only three short decades, their family has swelled into the thousands – a number that exceeds double the combined forces of their seven rival nations. Although the quality of their training is undeniably inferior, by sheer virtue of numbers they have marked the first exchange of land in thousands of years by conquering the neighbouring lands of the Payela family.
Torstein: The Torstein family had always benefitted greatly by living on the outskirts of the continent and almost entirely shielded by the arrogant Payela family. The Payela refused to attack the seemingly docile nation, believing them to be both weak and cowardly, and far beneath their efforts. That misplaced pride would eventually be the ruin of the Payela family whose refusal to attack the Torstein led to an unmolested ability to increase their numbers to world-conquering levels. After falsifying their censuses for many years and hiding their bastard children among the uncounted Plebians, the Torstein family emerged from obscurity as victorious conquerors, finally showing the Payelans some humility by obliterating their family, and claiming their hold as their own. Although their victory was decisive, it is far from complete as many Payelans escaped the massacre, fleeing to other holds. Currently the Torstein family are resting on the notoriety brought on by the fall of Payela, believing it will keep them safe for a time. Their expansion has been temporarily halted as they evaluate their losses which were significantly higher than they had projected. As the Torstein lost 6 men for every Payelan killed. Consequently, an active attempt to hunt down the remaining Payelans is vital to prevent them from spreading the word of their current weakness, and currently the highest priority of the Torstein Forces.
The Torstein’s most nefarious weapons of choice are their ruthless intelligence and conviction. Otherwise, the Torstein training regime is very limited and extremely lacking compared to their peers. They use any variety of melee weapons but quite intentionally avoid types used by the other ruling families due to not wishing to highlight the differences in their skills. Those who rise to prominence are often skilled diplomats, spies and assassins. Adapting the use of whatever means might be available to them in any given situation.
M.E. + 10 and I.Q. + 5.
Animal Affinity: Crows, Hidden Potential, Fear Monger and Super Psionic Powers.
The chosen line of Torstein are identifiable by their dark eyes, fair completion, sunken cheeks, pitch hair and a blue-grey birthmark resembling a tear that always appears on their right cheek.
5372 known family members. An estimated 80,000 Plebians.
Payela: Unlike the other families which warred purely for the sake of conquest, the Payelans actually revelled in the art of battle. Death was never a goal nor at all a desirable end for them nor their enemies, but the art of combat a dance many Payellans found themselves addicted to. Treating their stance as much of an art form as a combat form, the Payelans were always in search of worthy partners so together they could fight a battle of pure poetry, something worth remembering. Although the Payelans believed none knew of their desires, for it was a clearly guarded secret that would bring them great shame if exposed; word eventually found its way to the ears of the Torstein family, knowledge which would trigger the eventual fall of the Payelan lineage. As the Payelans fought countless battles, the protected Torstein family swelled to immense proportions and in a single night, conquered the unsuspecting Kingdom. Never shy of battle but never caring for co-ordinated strategy, the Payelans fought their most shameful dance with unworthy partners almost entirely devoid of skill, a dance that much to their dismay would live on as their legacy. Although they fought as fiercely as only a Payelan could, they were soon conquered and the remnants of their family scattered to the winds. No-one knows how many Payelans still exist today but many survivors have become Helengrad’s first mercenaries for hire as they whore out their weapons, clinging to the hope of finding a dance flawless enough to wash away their shame.
The graceful fighting style Paela focuses on the deadly and proficient use of spears, staves and simular weapons. The Payela family are known by their twirling fighting style, always being in motion and never letting their foe get close enough to neutralize their reach advantage. The spears are the technological equivalent of the Vibro-Naginata (pg. 117, Rifts® World Book 8: Japan). Alternatively, the Payelan are sometimes found wielding Energy Staffs (4D6 M.D.) or Pole Arms (6D6 M.D.) with an energy life of 3 hours per E-Clip or 2 hours in the case of Pole Arm.
P.P. + 10 and P.B. + 5.
Fireflies, Super Reflexes and Reaction Time, Hidden Potential and + 1 to all saving throws.
The chosen line of the Payelans are identifiable by a welcoming serenity during infancy and the special way fireflies circle them when bought into their presence. These children do not cry and are typically a wonder to care for. In later childhood and adulthood they are recognizable by their piercing blue eyes and striking good-looks. Although the firefly test is still the surest method of identifying them.
Anarchist. However, since their near-destruction many Payelans are ready for change and unprincipled Payela are becoming more and more common.
formerly 347 known family members, it is unknown how many have survived being conquered by the Torstein family. An estimated 120,000 Plebians.
Ostradal: The Ostradal are a brilliant and advanced people with a long history of cleaving through their opposition despite being overpowered, outnumbered and outgunned. Although, despite these feats they are rarely credited as the victors in these skirmishes, with their defeated opponents blaming everything from the weather to luck. However, the Ostradal make it their business for these caveats to play a part in their war games and believe in creating their own luck.
Whereas the chosen born to the other noble lines of Helengrad possess abilities (some even verging on the supernatural), none are born as brilliant as the Ostradal and it is this tenacity and single-mindedness that has allowed them to excel by exploiting their peers tendency resort to conservative tactics. Although perhaps a little ironically, they detest the tactics (efficient as they may be) of the Torstein. So much so that they have recently aired video of their political leaders feeding the remains of Torstein soldiers to their dogs. A gesture that is an open challenge and demands a swift (and hopefully careless) retaliation. However, much to the Ostradal’s surprise, this has yet to garner a response.
The royal symbol of the Ostradal is the noble Greyhound, representing not only their strong kinship with cannids but also their predilection for swift and intelligent action. Most are trained in the use Yo-Yos from an early age, which allows them to more easily adapt to the more deadly rope and chain weapons they are taught to utilize in adulthood.
Their weapon of choice is the deadly Kusari-Gama. Perhaps more skilled than any of their rivals, the Ostradal have conquered this difficult weapon and although it lacks power, through sheer utility they have excelled on the battlefield and for a time looked poised to be the first Kingdom to conquer another in thousands of years, until the Torstein family stole that honor. The Kusari-Gama are the technological equivalent of the Vibro-Kusari-Gama (pg. 117, Rifts® World Book 8: Japan).
Although the Ostradal claim to be very family orientated and non-confrontational, they are a notoriously driven and unsatisfied people. Their current military goal is to feign a minor defeat to Torstein so they can get a measure of their strength before launching a swift and decisive counterattack and seize the recently acquired Payellan lands. By defeating Torstein as a retaliatory strike they hope to evade the possibility of a united effort to target them by the other Houses of Helengrad. If successful, Ostradal plan to return to the Payellan’s their former lands in exchange for “a more expendable” fighting force to be utilized on their behalf in their future endeavours. This will grant the Ostradals a sort of “Dog of War” to point at their enemies, while minimising their own losses. However, they are very concerned over Torstein’s lack of a response to their recently offence. Many of their military leaders are jumping at shadows and have become fearful of possible repercussions that, ironically enough, have not yet occurred to Torstein military leaders.
I.Q. + 10 and P.P. + 5
Canines (especially Greyhounds), Quickness, Super Swiftness ( + 1D8×10 to Spd. attribute) and Target Fixation.
The chosen line of the Ostradal can be identified by their ghostly compaction, famous steel-grey eyes and the fact that all dogs within a five mile radius of the child will howl and bark like crazy during the child’s birth.
339 known family members. An estimated 140,000 Plebians.
Athai: The Athai are fierce and fearless warriors that believe they carry within them the spirits of great cats, attributing their greatest strengths to the various qualities of large cats (Courage of the Lion, Speed of the Cheetah, Grace of the Leopard, etc.). Despite being an advanced civilisation, the Athai have developed environmentally friendly technology and are, for the most part, a benevolent people who would sit well on the throne of the world were it not for their explosive tempers. They make their homes in savannahs and though their villages and settlements appear primitive from the air, their huts are typically lavish and come equipped with all modern consciences. The Athai believe themselves to be the only people of Helengrad still in touch with their roots and often consider the beliefs of others ignorant. Their entire civilisation is powered by solar energy and they have managed to create a number of advanced mega-damage weapon systems that were developed entirely indecently of the rest of the technology of Helengrad. Perhaps ironically, despite condemning the practice and so-called advances of the other cultures that inhabit their world, the Athai refuse to share their technology and are highly protective, both of it, and the locations of their settlements.
Their weapons of choice are Dual Claws. Although their claws have a much shorter reach than all of their rivals, these fearsome warriors have honed their reflexes to have enough confidence to parry the opponent’s blows and force an opening in which they can get close and shred their opponent. The claws are the technological equivalent of the NE-RV09 Ripper Vibro Claws (pg. 24, Naruni Wave 2).
Spd. + 10, M.A. + 5.
Animal Affinity: Felines (especially Lions), Super Reflexes & Reaction Time, Super Swift ( + 2D8×10 to Spd. attribute).
Identifying Characteristic: The chosen line of the Athai can be identified by their wild fiery red hair, short statures (5’2"-5’5" typically) and emerald green eyes.
357 known family members. An estimated 120,000 Plebians.
Atron: The Atron family were historically the least interested in conquest of all of the families. Although they often attacked their neighbours, it was usually more for a show of force than any genuine attempts at increasing their own hold. Their lack of aggression led to a royal family that reportedly surpassed the others in numbers (although it turns out that the Torstein census may have been a touch doctored for many years) and those numbers proved to be a capable deterrent of further attacks. Already considered to be the strongest family, it seemed their numbers would swell further and lead to them becoming the most influential force on the continent until the Ostradal family took advantage of their false sense of security. With their combat style proven flawed, the Atron lost over three hundred family members in less than a year. Enraged beyond reason, High King Galvinak issued a series of royal decrees that led to the pioneering of a second fighting style, a feat that Helengrad had never before witnessed. The newly devised chainswords proved a match for the Kusari-Gama but the damage had already been done. Not only had the Atron numbers been reduced to a barely advantageous amount but King Galvanak was forever changed. His heart consumed by hate, his alignment has dropped to Aberrant and he has sworn a blood feud with the Ostradal family. Unlike the other families, the Atron seem barely concerned with the actions of the now dominant Torstein family with their attention residing solely in the lands of the Ostradal.
The Altron’s weapons of favor are the Sabre and Two-Handed Sword. Once considered peerless in the single-bladed style, the Atron were thought to be invincible until the Ostradal family taught them otherwise. The genealogically inferior members of the family easily fell prey to the disarming techniques of the Kusari-Gama and the Atron had no counter but to diversify. With the use of power armors and focused two-handed training, their weaker family members have been able to master a newly developed weapon used to compete against the Ostradal’s Kusari-Gama, while the more gifted members of the Atron family have continued the use of the sabre, doubling their army’s functional use. The sabre is the technological equivalent of the NE-RV03 Ripper Vibro-Saber (pg. 24, Naruni Wave 2) and the two-handed sword is the technological equivalent of the Two-Handed Vibro-Chainsaw Sword (pg. 130, Northern Gun 2).
P.P. + 10, I.Q. + 5.
Animal Affinity: Horses, Heightened Sense: Hearing, Heightened Sense: vision and Qualified Savant (Horsemanship: General).
Identifying Characteristic: The chosen line of the Atron can be identified by their curly golden locks, cloudy blue eyes and one’s riding skill. Those of true Atron blood need not be taught how to handle a horse, they do it peerlessly and without need for instruction.
394 known family members. An estimated 60,000 Plebians.
Parus: If any family is guilty of playing political warfare, it is certainly the Parusian family, although it hasn’t amounted to the dominance they had always expected. Despite being fierce combatants, their true strength lay in treaty talks, negotiating a favourable settlement in return for a small time of ceased hostilities. Due in part to these forced treaties, the Parus family have members blooded to both the Athai and Atron families, that shared blood not only bolstering their own abilities but acting as a deterrent to further attack from either of those families. The Parusian goals of world conquest by assimilation have been put on hold as they consider their options after the Torstein family revealed their true power. Although the fall of the Payela family has proven to be a massive boon with the Parus capturing several Payelans with the intention of integrating them into their bloodline, the destructive force of the Torsteins cannot be ignored. The Parusians realize that at their current rate of advancement the Torstein will have conquered the continent (And their own family) long before their own plans have come to fruition. Desperate for their own continued existence, the Parusians are considering taking the lesson of numerical superiority from the Torstein and arming their Plebians for war. Although they are sure the sheer abhorrent nature of arming the Plebians would draw the ire of their rivals and certain invasion, they are also sure it is a tactic the other families would never consider following and they could never muster enough strength to face an impossible army of Plebians. The only issue remaining is the Parusian rulers are unsure if an armed militia of Plebians could ever again be disarmed and the thoughts of losing their priveleges to an unruly mob of Plebians is far more scary than anything the Torstein family could do to them.
P.B. + 10, I.Q. + 5.
Horror Factor, Super Tough, Conniving/Deceptive, Faith Conduit/Fear Monger.
Sharp, angular features with wavy blonde hair and deep brown eyes.
321 known family members (31 are blooded to the Ahtai and 19 to the Atron). An estimated 160,000 Plebians.
Dual Axes. Having mastered the most lethal of the single-handed melee weapons, the Parus fighting style focused on a defensive stance, parrying whatever came their way and letting the natural power of their axes find a single decisive blow. After the Ensmeu began using energy blades, the Parusian fighting style has been rendered virtually obsolete which is something the Parus fmaily have yet to adapt to. The axes are the technological equivalents of the NE-RV07 Ripper Vibro-Axe (Naruni Wave 2 page 24).
P.E. + 10, P.P. + 5.
Super Reflexes & Reaction Time (Taken Twice), Bio-Regeneration (Taken Twice).
One eye is always dulled as if suffering from internal scarring or even blindness, although the vision is always flawless.
358 known family members. An estimated 130,000 Plebians.
Dual Sword. As the only family to focus on pure offense, few families are willing to face the Ensmeau in open warfare as the cost is always high. The development of their undefendable energy swords led to a fighting style focused on maneuverability and all out offense. The swords are the technological equivalent of the Energy Swords found in Aliens Unlimited (Page 165 – all single-handed with the occasional Katana in the mix).
P.E. + 10, P.S. + 5.
Super Tough, Super Strength, Jumper, Heroic Fortitude.
Always have a strong jawline, broad shoulders and a stocky build.
310 known family members. An estimated 110,000 Plebians.
Warhammer and Shield. With their shields in hand, the Quatar have a virtually impenetrable defense. That defense combined with a Warhammer forceful enough to wound even the heaviest of armors renders the Quatar a formidable force on any battlefield. The Hammers are the technological equivalents of the TX-H3 (Rifts Triax 2 page 104) although small enough for humans to comfortably wield and the shield is a forcefield generator shaped akin to a tower shield that has half the M.D.C. values of the Naruni Forcefields of each level, with a limitless power supply.