Monday, February 3, 2014

Alien Intelligence for Rifts

Yet another thing imported from my old blog. I tend to make these imports when the posts become part of a conversation elsewhere, and I want to direct people to my blog.

As many know (especially if you are on the Palladium message boards), my least favorite book in the Rifts line is Rifts Conversion Book 2: Pantheons of the Megaverse. I feel that it's poorly researched and that it avoids one of the biggest pantheons around: the God of Abraham, and all the various permutations that he's undergone since the Old Testament. This is something of an attempt to exorcise my hatred of that book... to lay it to rest by doing what I feel was left out of that book. However, it will make the most sense if I indulge in a bit of definition, first.
Palladium has two types creatures who are nearly equal in power: Gods and Alien Intelligences. The difference, so far as can be determined, is that Gods are dependent for their power on their worshipers; if they are no longer worshiped, they will still be powerful, but they will cease to be deities. Alien Intelligences seem to possess this level of power naturally. They are also frequently capable of creating quasi-independent fragments of themselves; beings which possess a portion of their power, and are capable of acting independently, but still are part of the whole, and partake of (and contribute to) the knowledge and power of the whole. They are, in effect, one being with many bodies.
I think you can see where I'm going with this.
I should warn you that there's a group of people who're probably going to find this really offensive; I'm putting it all behind a cut, but I want to warn you in advance... caveat lector.

The Pantheon of YHWH
Approximately four thousand years before the coming of the Rifts, an Alien Intelligence made contact with the Earth dimension and, as many do, began to seek worshipers in that dimension. He began in the territory then controlled by the Pantheon of the Sumer, contacting a man known as Abraham. Through him and his descendants, the influence of this Alien Intelligence has spread. Unlike most pantheons, which are composed of multiple gods, godlings, and associated demigods and spirits, the pantheon of YHWH is composed of a single Alien Intelligence and its fragmented essences, though it recognizes the veneration of spirits of light and one fragment has frequent contact with rogues from the legions of Dyval and Hades.

Relations with Other Entities
1. Other Pantheons: YHWH insists on being the sole being worshiped by those who follow him, and frequently denies the power or divinity of other pantheons. This, understandably, leads to friction. Early in YHWH's tenure in the Earth dimension, he was beaten, in succession by the pantheon of the Nile, the pantheon of Sumer, the pantheon of Olympus, and the Persian gods. Though YHWH later took revenge on the pantheon of Olympus and the Persian gods, he feels “cheated” of his just desserts against the pantheon of the Nile and the pantheon of Sumer. YHWH's insistence that he is the only divine being has also lead his followers into clashes with most other pantheons common to Earth, and in almost every case he has won great advances, if not at least temporarily conquered them; the Aesir, the Celts, the Aztecs, the Incans, the Mayans, and the Slavs were all at one point almost completely routed, and the Celestial Bureaucracy, the gods of India, and the children of Amerterasu are all extremely wary in dealing with him, though they fared better in their conflicts against him.

2. Vampires, Splugorth, and other Alien Intelligences:
 YHWH himself does not get along with these creatures, and his followers actively oppose them wherever they are found. That they are frequently regarded as deities in their own right, of course, does little to help matters; YHWH is, in his own words, a jealous god.

3. The Coalition: As these are Earth-native humans, fighting against invaders from other worlds, YHWH would be happy to enter the war on their side, after his own fashion (which is to say, providing occasional “saints” and miracles, but little direct intervention). The fact that the Coalition already heartily rejects magic also intrigues him. Unfortunately, their rejection of magic also means that they seem indifferent to religion, and do not seek his aid, despite being aware of him.

4. Europe and Russia: YHWH is freer to act here; there are many who remember him from before the Coming of the Rifts, and the Sovietski even retain an active priesthood. As such, there are occasional miracles and saints appearing in Europe and Russia, attributable to YHWH or one of his essence fragments.

YHWH the Father, Alien Intelligence
The history of this alien intelligence is shrouded in mystery. He is not like the Splugorth, the True Naruni, or the Zllyphan; it does not appear that he is part of a race of similar alien intelligences with identifiable characteristics. Rather, he appears to be an individual, with a singular interest in dimensions containing Earths populated primarily by humans. Unlike many alien intelligences, he cares deeply, almost obsessively about the humans of Earth; he is practically unknown outside of those dimensions, and rarely expands beyond Earth except when humans native to Earth do so. Invariably, he claims to be eternal, omnipotent, and omniscient, and to have created the Universe and all that inhabit it. In some cases, he remains singular; in others, he will provide multiple fragments of himself, or attract a following of spirits of light, but all of whom agree that he is supreme. He is a stickler for rules and ethics, and presents himself as the arbiter of the same; those who deviate from his rules are threatened with horrible punishments.
It is known that YHWH is not actually his name, but is, instead, a convenient “handle”. Unlike many deities, who seem to thrive on having their names spoken, YHWH abhors it, using a pseudonym or title (quite frequently, the local equivalent of “God”) for the being himself, allowing his fragments to assume and use names more freely. This may be tied to his abhorrence for magic; some speculate that a young YHWH was wounded terribly by a sorcerer who knew his name, and, since then, has made every effort to conceal that name. He is also known to be comparatively niggardly with his priests, giving them a few powers, heavily ritualized, choosing instead to invest power in a few specially chosen “saints” (who seem to be witches with exceptional favor from their sponsor).

Real Name: Unknown
Alignment: Aberrant (this is where I will probably get the most complaints; given the willingness of the biblical YHWH to condemn people to Hell for being born in a place where they could not hear the gospel... which was the belief for centuries, and still is of many evangelical Christians... I feel this is a warranted alignment)

M.D.C.: 90,000 M.D.C. (18,000 on Rifts Earth); used to have double this amount
S.D.C./Hit Points: 35000 S.D.C. and 60000 H.P. For non-M.D.C. worlds
Size: Varies widely; frequently depicted as being approximately 6' tall
Weight: Varies with size
Attributes: I.Q.: 30 M.E.: 33 M.A.: 29 P.S.: 55 (supernatural) P.P.: 27 P.E.: 34 P.B.: 15 Spd: 60

Disposition: YHWH can be somewhat mercurial; while incredibly intelligent and often knowledgeable and wise, he is prone to fits of anger if he feels “his people” are turning away from him. To his credit, however, he protects those who remain faithful to him from his wrath, though often puts an additional stipulation on that protection; an onerous task, or a singular request.
Horror/Awe Factor: 16
Experience Level: An elemental being, YHWH is equal to a 12th level Warlock in Earth, Air, Fire and Water, and a 10th level psychic

Natural Abilities: Bio-regeneration 1D6*10 per minute, complete regeneration of limbs and eyes within 24 hours, Nightvision 1200 yards, see the invisible, turn invisible at will, impervious to poisons, toxins, drugs and idsease, does not breathe air and is resistant to cold, heat, and fire. Resistant to normal weapons (only inflict half damage). Can maintain as many as 50 simultaneous essence fragments, Control over Ley Lines (Dragons and Gods, pg 72-73). Possess Animals; Metamorphis: Humanoid (unlimited duration); Metamorphosis: Animal (unlimited duration); Teleport self and others at will, 400 mile range; Dimensional Teleport at will; Turn 1D6*100 dead at will; Animate and control 2D4*10 dead; Healing Touch, restores 4D6 or 1D6*10 HP or SDC; Restoration (as spell); Resurrection (as spell); Stone to Flesh (as spell); Remove Curse (as spell); Summon 4D6 lesser demons twice per day; Summon 6D6 lesser demons three times per day; summon 2D6 greater demons (or spirits of light) three times per day).
Vulnerabilities and Weaknesses: YHWH is Vulnerable to Magic and Vulnerable to Iron. In societies where he is a significant influence, magic is frequently outlawed or discredited. Iron is frequently allowed, due to its usefulness in a society where magic is disallowed, but YHWH still finds himself falling prey to it. (Defense on including iron: Judges 1:19, John 19:34)
Deific Powers: YHWH has the full range of prototypical deific powers available at the regular cost.
Skills of Note: Knows most modern, as well as ancient middle Eastern and Mediterranean languages; demon and monster lore, history and anthropology at 98%

Combat Skills: (I'm not going to bother figuring out his combat skills and bonuses; I'm lazy. I'd put him at HtH Expert, since he's described as a warrior at a couple points in the old testament.)
Magical Knowledge: Knows all Elemental spells at 12th level, plus tongues, dispel magic barriers, negate magic, ley line transmission, magic pigeon, time slip, dimensional pocket, mystic portal, dimensional portal, close rift, and dimensional teleport (see Rifts Book of Magic for a complete spell list). P.P.E.: 17,000
Psionics: All psychic healer abilities, plus empathy, telepathy, and Psychosomatic Disease, Mind Block Auto-Defense, P.P.E. Shield, Alter Aura and Group Mind Block. I.S.P.: 4000

Allies: None, other than his own essence fragments and worshipers. See minions.
Enemies: Many. YHWH has a tendency to rub other deities the wrong way, horning in on their followers and trying to drive the deities themselves out of “his” dimension. As such, most pantheons who have dealings on Earth have at least a mild dislike, if not an outright hatred, for the powerful alien intelligence.
Minions: YHWH has forged alliances with many spirits of light who are attracted to his strength and strong principles, as well as his steadfast protection of humanity. He has, in the past, claimed to have created these “angels”, though whether he means the race as a whole, or certain individuals who remain very loyal to him is unsure.
Description: YHWH maintains no singular appearance, so it is difficult to say what is his true form. He is popularly depicted as an elderly, but strong, man of European descent, with thick white hair and a full beard.