Rift RP Guide: Defiant Edition

9 Mar

If you follow MMOs at all, you’re probably well aware of the existence of Rift, Trion’s very recent offering to the gaming world. Roleplayers rejoice, ’cause the game is actually pretty solid and fun to play, the characters are highly customizable (no, there is no boob-size slider. You’ll live, promise), and the lore is both promising and interesting. I’m all about fostering RP, so here’s a little Defiant RP 101 to start you off:

To understand the world of Rift, you need to understand sourcestone. Think of it as the Play-Doh of existence. Without it, the universe is just a lot of abstract elemental energy floating around. Sourcestone gives those energies substance, allowing them to manifest in physical ways.

The gods found a massive clump of sourcestone at the nexus of the elemental planes. They shaped it into the world we know, named it Telara and breathed life into its people.

Then the Blood Storm came.

I did not invite you to my tea party mister dragon

The reaver god Regulos, along with the five lesser reavers of the Blood Storm, were happily coasting the universe gobbling up all the sourcestone they could find, because sourcestone is apparently like sweet delicious crack to giant dragon-aspect gods of destruction. For them, finding Telara was like you or I being super hungry and stumbling across a banquet table covered with four billion assorted cheese danishes (or pepperoni pizzas, or double tall caramel lattes with whipped cream, or hot buttered baguettes… you get the idea).

In the form of dragons, the Blood Storm descended upon Telara to nom its tasty, tasty goodness. The lesser dragons, seeing how swell Telara was up close, decided they wanted to claim it as their own dominion rather than devour it. Regulos told them all to shut the hell up and destroy it already, and soon they began to fight amongst themselves.

Sky tentacles: There goes the neighborhood

While the dragons fought, the people of Telara rallied together and started kicking ass. They used brain-bendingly advanced technology developed by the Eth, a race of human sorcerers, to imprison each of the five lesser reavers, and banished Regulos to another plane. After the high-fives and champagne of victory, the creator gods of Telara united and formed a pantheon known as The Vigil. They created the Ward, a sort of protective shield around Telara designed to keep out extraplanar intruders (including the Big Jerkulos), and life marched on.


The Vigil, being the wise and benevolent gods they were, really didn’t like that the Eth continued to fuck around with eldritch magic after the dragons were imprisoned. Given the choice between dismantling the devices that made containment of the Blood Storm possible–thus keeping Telara safe–and death, the Eth opted to bury their technology and scatter when the Vigil took a proverbial firehose to their civilization.

Let’s fast forward to the distant future, shall we?

When Eth magitech resurfaced, the Vigil and their Guardian goons (what? It says Defiant Edition right up there at the top of my post. No BS “fair and balanced” claims here!) were responsible for curbstomping the Defiant city of Meridian. Now only the pro-dragon cultists had the technology needed to keep the reavers at bay.

Thanks a lot, dudes. Telara is now completely, totally boned, just the way Regulos likes it.

Am I a Special Snowflake

Yes and no. Sort of.

You’re what happened when, at the last possible second, the Defiant figured out how to ‘resurrect’ various heroes from history. You begin your new life in a tube and as the walls slide away into the machinery above and below, a technician is there to greet you.

“Just in time. Sort of. Now choose a soul and move your ass.”

Yo dawg, I heard you like heroes, so I put a hero in your hero in your hero so you can hero while you--nevermind

When people die, their spirits go into the Soulstream. You, as an Ascended, have the ability to tap into the Soulstream and try on new souls like they were clothes at a back-to-school sale. Maybe it sounds like a crappy ability at first, until you realize that you’re able to borrow the knowledge of some of the greatest fighters, sorcerers and healers that have ever existed. In fact, you’ve been magically engineered to borrow up to three souls at a time, giving you triple the awesome of your average hero.

Having recreated your body using re-discovered Eth magitech, the Defiant look to you to save them from the fuckery of the past. By manipulating (and in your case, regenerating) sourcestone in its various forms (the manual recommends using small finger bones, to prevent fatal errors), the Defiant have finally made Project Omega a success.

Where’s your precious OSHA now?!

Here’s where the roleplaying possibilities really start to open up. Whose bones did they use to resurrect you? Telarapedia says they chose heroes specifically involved in taking down the dragons, which makes you… well, a clone of someone who helped save the world once upon a time.

There are many possibilities here that Trion’s lore doesn’t cover, which means you have some leeway when you start creating your character. For example: What if you make it through the process without incident, but can’t handle the continued responsibility of being an Ascended? Will you worry that you’re an automaton created for a purpose that will eventually be served, leaving you empty? Perhaps your original spirit is overshadowed by the other souls you take, giving you a slightly different personality when you’re using their abilities. Or maybe you weren’t meant to be much of a hero at all. Maybe you’re just a random Joe Schmoe Basketweaver with a wrist bone that tested high on the Valis-Farwind scale.

There may be a slight possibility that your body wouldn’t be properly matched to its original soul, leaving you with some serious identity issues (hello, male Bahmi in a Kelari female’s body). Keep in mind that last one is highly unlikely according to existing lore, but hell, your character has died, possibly in the most horrible of ways, and been brought back to life. I’d guess the odds of feeling like you don’t belong in your own skin are pretty damn high, even if the odds of it being true aren’t.

Meanwhile, the Defiant techs are cranking out as many Ascended as they can on your heels while you clear the way. Unfortunately for everyone who isn’t an Ascended in this particular timeline, Telara has been consumed down to a tiny sliver and you have to hie your happy ass to the Failsafe device: a time machine. Tethered to a specific point in time, it shuttles anyone who uses it back to when Super Science Guy Orphiel completed it. How does it work?

“The machine has an aura that confuses time on such a base level that time would rather ignore it completely than attempt to resolve the issue.”

Congratulations, you’ve just traveled back in time! Now get busy saving the world, because if you don’t, we’re just going to repeat this same fucked-up timeline over and over again.

We are Defiant

“The Defiant do not care whether the gods abandoned the world or not. To them, this entire [disaster] is the gods’ fault in the first place. Indeed, as soon as things went from bad to worse, the gods suddenly and inexplicably disappeared.

So while the Guardians run around Telara building temples, sticking their noses in everyone’s business, and desperately praying for a miracle, the Defiant plan on actually delivering one, even if it means being branded as heretics and operating outside the laws of the land.”


As a Defiant, you play one of three races that have split from the Vigil’s doctrine and are now branded as heretics. Together, you and your allies fight the Guardians who would crush you for taking matters into your own hands. Which are you?


The Eth are humans with a long history of bending magic and technology to their will. Nomadic in origin, they used their knowledge of sourcestone and the elements to flourish in their desolate desert surroundings. They value scholarship and critical thinking above all else.

Roleplaying Eth isn’t hard if you’re the bookish type with a warrior spirit. Fierce and intelligent, you think faith is for suckers. You accept no truth you can’t observe for yourself.


The Shalastiri originally came from the plane of air to aid the people of Telara. When the Ward went up they were unable to return to their home plane and stayed, mingling with humans to create a new race: the Bahmi. They are erroneously considered brutish by other races with the exception of the Eth, who were welcomed by the Bahmi with open arms when the Vigil destroyed their civilization, leaving them without a homeland. The Bahmi cherish community, hospitality, and the pursuit of excellence. They wear tattoos called sefir that mark their life achievements and imbue them with elemental energy.

Choose Bahmi and be prepared for the likelihood that you’ll be playing a more stoic character, distrustful of people like the Kelari (who, honestly, probably deserve it for the most part) but willing to give them a chance once you accept them as part of your community. And if you’re as serious about hospitality as most Bahmi are, you will. Eventually.


A schism from the elven race, Kelari consider themselves on equal spiritual footing with the gods. The onus is on others to prove themselves to a Kelari, not the other way around! These ‘fallen’ elves make pacts with many spirits and lesser gods, providing services like worship and temples in exchange for power. They’re more than happy to mess around with magitech–the potential benefit is too good to pass up–but can get a little reckless when it comes to experimentation. (Translation: Ka-BOOM!)

If you play a Kelari, everything is a means to an end. You’re likely possessed of an ample ego and an opportunistic approach when it comes to dealing with the gods, and with other people.

Over time, the banished dragons were able to obtain allies on Telara, sending corrupted spirits out into the world who then sabotaged the Ward from the inside. Eventually the assault from both sides and the turning of a powerful Ascended created weak points, or rifts, in the Ward through which the dragons could send their own elemental forces and establish footholds. The worst part? Each rift that opened made the Ward a little weaker, enabling more future rifts, until the Ward had more stretch marks than your Great Aunt Mildred after Thanksgiving dinner. Goodbye, Telara. Nice knowing you. And that’s all she wrote.

…Or is it? Well, that depends on you and all the other Ascended who’ve come back from countless timelines through Orphiel’s Failsafe. This is your chance to save Meridian and fix what went wrong. It’s up to you, as a Defiant, to prevent the Guardians of the Vigil from crippling our technology when we so desperately need it, to protect the people of Telara from the ever-increasing Ward breaches, and rid the world of Regulos, once and for all.

Edit: About a week after this post was published, RiftRP.net published a lore Q&A thread with a lot of nifty information direct from Trion’s lore team. If you want more detail about each of Rift’s playable races, lore timelines, and specifics about how souls work, I highly recommend checking it out. Peace!


4 Responses to “Rift RP Guide: Defiant Edition”

  1. Verdus March 9, 2011 at 2:15 pm #

    For SCIENCE!

  2. Chadrassa March 10, 2011 at 2:12 pm #

    This is just me being curious, but how does the support for roleplayers turn out to be after the official launch of the game? Do complains about griefers, for example, get taken serious by the GMs? Is there a Code of Conduct for the rp-realms? The last time I had a look at the official forums there wasn’t one, but that’s already a while ago.

    • Bika March 13, 2011 at 8:41 am #

      To be honest, I have yet to be griefed ingame, and if there is a code of conduct specific to RP realms I haven’t found it. I’ll update here when I do, because I’m curious.


  1. Rift RP: Defiant 101 | Bika Central - March 9, 2011

    […] dumb. I completely forgot to post that I have a Rift roleplaying guide up today over at Seven Deadly Divas. It’s kind of a lore primer in case you want to know how […]

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