Groups, Troupes, & Crews: Harpoon’s Folly, a River Pirate Crew (Rifts)

This is a full write up for the villianous pirating operations run by Captain Reed. Below you will find quick stats for key crew members, main race/class breakdowns, essential gear and spells, collected wealth and hoard, base of operations, a few adventure ideas, and some basic history for these ‘brown water brigands’.

This is my first crew write up, so let me know if you’ve got any advice. Trying to keep the information as comprehensive as possible without getting too far outside of the quick stat layout, which means no spell descriptions, but I am including more information than usually found in the text. Although, one of the high ranked crew members has psionic abilities, of which the ranges and damages are listed in parenthesis because they are an essential member; any lower ranked members with spells shall only include the cost. Also, please note that listed M.D.C. from armour is totaled between all parts (head, torso, both legs and arms).

This undertaking got a lot bigger than first anticipated, so it’s a bit late, but I think the sheer amount of content more than makes up for it. Enjoy!

Game: Palladium Books’ Rifts RPG
Books Needed for Further Information: Rifts Ultimate Edition, Rifts World Book 30: D-Bees of North America, Rifts Sourcebook 04: Coalition Navy, Rifts: Book of Magic, and also some items borrowed from Kitsune’s Palladium Web Page (fan made, Palladium Books O.C.C.s/items/spells/etc.)
Recommended Setting: This group is recommended either as a collection of villains set against a party of adventurers, or as potential contacts and point of interest, or even as a starting point for an evil-aligned party as crew members.

Harpoon’s Folly


Crew: Leader
Captain: Maryanne Reed, Bayou Ursine (Miscreant, 10th level River Pirate O.C.C.)
IQ: 17 ME: 14 MA: 16 (40% trust/intimidate) PS: 24 PP: 16 PE: 17 PB: 12 Spd: 15 (×2 swimming) HP: 87 SDC: 945 PPE: 56 Attacks: 6
Arms: Kisentite Sword: 2D6+3 MD +1D6 SD. Firebolt Musket: 6D6 MD, 1600ft. Gladiator Full Environmental Armour: 215 MDC.
Abilities: Underwater breathing, ultrasonic hearing, and night/infared/ultraviolet vision.
Spells/Psionics: None.

Crew: High Rank
Quartermaster: Charlie Wicked the Gracketooth (Abberant, 9th level Pirate O.C.C.)
IQ: 13 ME: 10 MA: 24 (80% trust/intimidate) PS: 35 PP: 14 PE: 24 PB: 10 Spd: 20 HP: 55 MDC: 156 PPE: 41 Attacks: 7
Arms: NG-P7 Particle Beam Rifle: 1D4×10 MD. C-18 LASER Pistol: 2D4 MD. Pirate’s Cutlass 3D6. Improved Huntsman Armour: 156 MDC.
Abilities: Horror Factor 12, prehensile tail, MDC recovery of 2D6 per 12 hours, impervious to heat and carcinogens.
Spells/Psionics: None.

First Mate: Rackham Reed, Bayou Ursine (Miscreant, 8th level River Pirate O.C.C.)
IQ: 11 ME: 13 MA: 15 PS: 28 PP: 19 PE: 20 PB: 10 Spd: 18 (×2 swimming) HP: 75 SDC: 912 PPE: 43 Attacks: 6
Arms: Firebolt Musket: 6D6 MD, 1600ft. Kisentite Sword: 2D6+3 MD. Pirate’s Cutlass 3D6. Gladiator Full Environmental Armour: 215 MDC.
Abilities: Underwater breathing, ultrasonic hearing, and night/infared/ultraviolet vision.
Spells/Psionics: None.

Second Mate: Abernathy Reed, Bayou Ursine (Miscreant, 8th level Burster O.C.C.)
IQ: 16 ME: 16 MA: 19 (55% trust/intimidate) PS: 19 PP: 14 PE: 14 PB: 10 Spd: 13 (×2 swimming) HP: 70 SDC: 893 PPE/ISP: 32/196 Attacks: 5
Arms: Firebolt Musket: 6D6 MD, 1600ft. Pirate’s Cutlass 3D6. Improved Huntsman Armour: 156 MDC.
Abilities: Underwater breathing, ultrasonic hearing, night/infared/ultraviolet vision, impervious to fire and heat (no damage, even from MDC/magic), resistant to electric attack (SDC has no effect, MDC damage is half), Sense Fire, can breathe in smoky conditions, and recovers ISP at a rate of 2 points per hour of activity or 12 per hour of rest/meditation.
Psionics: Extinguish Flame (4), Flame Burst (4/8, self, 6D6 SD/1D4 MD) and Flame Burst Body Protection (78 MDC), Fire Bolt (2/4, 360ft, 2D6/4D6/6D6 SD or 2D6 MD), Fire Eruption (10/20, 260ft, 1D4/4D6/1D4×10 SD or 2D6/4D6/6D6 MD), Super Fuel Flame (8, 800ft, 160ft area of effect), Bio-Regenerate (6, self), Suppress Fear (8), Deaden Pain (4), Deaden Senses (4), Mind Block (4).

Crew: Mid Rank: 20 Total Built on higher level brutes and spellcasters, there are a few medical professionals and skilled pirate Dwarves (equipped with very powerful runic weapons and armour, they are among the best fighters and the Captain’s persinal guard when necessary.)

Human (Abberant-Miscreant, 8th level Elemental Fusionist O.C.C.s) ×4
IQ: 14 ME: 18 MA: 15 PS: 19 PP: 16 PE: 24 PB: 18 (40% charm/impress) Spd: 24 HP: 39 SDC: 63 PPE: 165 Attacks: 5
Arms: See Common Weaponry.
Abilities: Elemental Resistance, Speak Elemental, Sense Elemental, ×2 healing rate in remote areas (×3 in mountains), and can draw PPE from willing Elementals.
Elemental Fusionist: Earth/Air:
Breathe Without Air (3), Create Mild Wind (4), Dig (8), Electric Arc (4), Sand Storm (15), Stop Wind (5), Travel Through Walls (20), Walk the Wind (10), Alter Earth (3), Air Hammer (4), Clattering Tree (2), Floating Earth (4), Column of Air and Debri (4), Hurl Earth Objects (1/2), Iron Hide (3), Rock Wind (6), Shifting Ground (6), Wind Lift and Throw (2).
Elemental Fusionist: Fire/Water:
Breathe Underwater (6), Cloud of Steam (10), Fog of Fear (7), Frostblade (7), Extinguish Fire (8), Fiery Touch (5), Fire Bolt (4), Walk the Waves (5), Flame Drench (8), Fire Flood (8), Firestorm (6), Hot Ice (2), Liquid Fire (4), Spit Fire (1), Steam Blast (1), Steam Bolt (3), Superheat Water (1).

N’retas (Anarchist-Abberant, 7th level Body Fixer/Cyber-Doc O.C.C.s) ×4
IQ: 17 ME: 19 MA: 18 (50% trust/intimidate) PS: 11 PP: 17 PE: 9 PB: 10 Spd: 15 HP: 61 SDC: 58 PPE/ISP: None Attacks: 4
Arms: See Common Weaponry.
Abilities: None.
Spells/Psionics: None.

Bruutasaur (Miscreant, 5th level R.C.C.) ×8
IQ: 7 ME: 18 MA: 10 PS: 30 PP: 20 PE: 28 PB: 11 Spd: 32 (×2 for 1D4min bursts) HP: 53 MDC: 150 PPE: 12 Attacks: 7
Arms: See Common Weaponry.
Abilities: Horror Factor 13, prehensile tail, night/polarized vision, and can regenerate limbs in 2D4+8 weeks.
Spells/Psionics: None.

Nuhr Dwarf (Abberant-Miscreant, 6th level Pirate O.C.C.) x6
IQ: 17 ME: 11 MA: 16 PS: 21 PP: 10 PE: 14 PB: 8 Spd: 12 HP: 40 SDC: 112 PPE: 44 Attacks: 5
Arms: Runic Cutlass: 2D6 MD. Runic Knife: 1D6 MD. Nuhr Rune Leather Armour: 4D6+40 MDC.
Abilities: Nightvision, personal runic weaponry and armour, and they fatigue at 1/4 the rate of humans.
Spells/Psionics: None.

Crew: Low Rank: 53 Total Mostly Bandits and Mercenaries populate the lower ranks, providing some of the large numbers and heavy muscle, but there are also the common workers such as cooks and mechanics. The Idie Swampmen, while not common allies of Bayou Ursines or pirates, are more like accepted visitors than true crew members, though they frequently are among and will assist the group with their magic or abilities in trade for goods.

Larmac (Abberant-Miscreant, 3rd level Bandit/Mercenary/River Pirate O.C.C.s) ×15
IQ: 11 ME: 9 MA: 9 PS: 36 PP: 15 PE: 20 PB: 6 Spd: 16 HP: 52 MDC: 59 PPE: 12 Attacks: 4
Arms: See Common Weaponry.
Abilities: Horror Factor 12, nightvision, and +1 attack when motivated or fighting for their own life.
Spells/Psionics: None.

Human (Abberant-Miscreant, 6th level Mercenary O.C.C.) ×8
IQ: 11 ME: 12 MA: 10 PS: 17 PP: 16 PE: 15 PB: 13 Spd: 16 HP: 34 SDC: 52 PPE/ISP: None. Attacks: 5
Arms: See Common Weaponry.
Abilities: None.
Spells/Psionics: None.

Human (Abberant-Miscreant, 6th level Headhunter O.C.C.) ×7
IQ: 9 ME: 8 MA: 8 PS: 20 PP: 20 PE: 24 PB: 7 Spd: 41 HP: 46 MDC: 156 PPE/ISP: None. Attacks: 5
Arms: See Common Weaponry.
Abilities: None.
Spells/Psionics: None.

Butter Troll (Abberant, 4th level Operator/Rogue Scholar O.C.C.s) ×4
IQ: 20 ME: 12 MA: 10 PS: 12 PP: 8 PE: 7 PB: 4 Spd: 8 HP: 24 SDC: 51 PPE/ISP: 22 Attacks: 3
Arms: See Common Weaponry.
Abilities: Skilled with technology and mechanics.
Spells/Psionics: None.

Greot Hunter (Miscreant-Diabolic, 7th level Bounty Hunter/Bandit O.C.C.s) ×5
IQ: 7 ME: 7 MA: 6 PS: 39 PP: 18 PE: 20 PB: 4 Spd: 21 (×3 swimming) HP: 68 MDC: 134 PPE: 4 Attacks: 6
Arms: See Common Weaponry.
Abilities: Horror Factor 10, can hold breath for 1min per PE point, and an MDC recovery of 3D6 per 12 hours.
Spells/Psionics: None.

Freeborn Dog-Boy (Anarchist-Miscreant, 4th level R.C.C. of varying breeds) ×13
IQ: 11 ME: 18 MA: 15 PS: 20 PP: 18 PE: 23 PB: 12 Spd: 36 HP: 40 SDC: 84 ISP: 132 Attacks: 4
Arms: See Common Weaponry.
Abilities: Sense Psychic and Magic Energy, Recognize Psychic Scent, Sense Supernatural Beings, and Track By Smell Alone.
Psionics: Sense Evil (2), Sense Magic (3), Sixth Sense (2), Empathy (4), Telepathy (4).

Idie Swampmen (Anarchist, 4th level Wilderness Scout O.C.C.) ×3
IQ: 13 ME: 12 MA: 11 PS: 18 PP: 19 PE: 18 PB: 7 Spd: 12 (×3 swimming) HP: 34 SDC: 43 PPE: 18 Attacks: 4
Arms: See Common Weaponry.
Abilities: Can tolerate depths of 1000ft, see through murky water, Prowl in water (70%), resistant to regular cold (non MD attacks do half damage), and can hold their breath for 2D6+6mins.
Spells/Psionics: None.

Idie Swampmen (Anarchist, 4th level Mystic O.C.C.) ×2
IQ: 13 ME: 18 MA: 11 PS: 14 PP: 15 PE: 12 PB: 7 Spd: 12 (×3 swimming) HP: 34 SDC: 43 PPE/ISP: 103/72 Attacks: 3
Arms: See Common Weaponry.
Abilities: Can tolerate depths of 1000ft, see through murky water, Prowl in water (70%), resistant to regular cold (non MD attacks do half damage), can hold their breath for 2D6+6mins, Sense Supernatural Evil, and Opening Oneself to the Supernatural.
Clairvoyance (4), Commune With Spirits (6), Exorcism (10), Sixth Sense (2), Suppress Fear (8), Mind Block (4), Object Read (6), Read Dimensional Portal (6), Healing Touch (6), Psychic Surgery (14), Hydrokinesis (varies).
Lantern Light (1), See the Invisible (4), Befuddle (6), Chameleon (6), Cleanse (6), Cloak of Darkness (6), Levitation (5), Turn Dead (6), Invisibility: Simple (6), Light Healing (6), Magic Shield (6), Negate Poison/Toxin (5), Charismatic Aura (10), Cure Minor Diseases (10), Energy Field (10), Fire Bolt (7), Magic Net (7).

Magic Access
Ring of Mending (homebrew, see Kitsune) This ring allows the wearer of the ring to repair inanimate objects by touch. The enchantment will only work on physcal damage (not software in high tech setting, nor living creatures), and cannot restore shattered, mangled, flattened or completely destroyed items (must have at least 20% of its original S.D.C. or M.D.C.) However, it can seamlessly adhere the broken arm, nose, or other appendage of a statue back together without a crack, fill cracks and chips, repair cuts and holes in metal (including body armour), remove dents, restore metal from rust and tarnish, restore worn or torn fabric or leather, repair ceramics, fix cracks and chips in glass, and even remove stains from fabrics. The ring can be activated up to three times per day. On each activation, the ring allows the wearer to repair up to 60 S.D.C. on a single touch on a single object. Mending the object completely (restore all S.D.C.) will make it look like new. Any leftover S.D.C. from an activation is wasted. As that it will only repair a single M.D.C. per activation, its usefulness in Rifts is limited although extremely useful for fantasy settings. S.D.C. materials cannot be changed into M.D.C. materials or improved in any other way, other than restoring it to like new condition. ×8 (distributed only amongst doctors/operators/Captain.)

Environmental Sleeping Bag (homebrew, see Kitsune) These sleeping bags are extremely popular with adventures especially since they protect from both heat and cold. Sometimes on the trail it is not practical to set up a tent so there are also environmental sleeping bag and bedrolls. Similar to magical tents, the sleeping backs are enchanted with various mystic symbols sewn into the fabric. Magically endowed, the inside of the sleeping bag/bedroll will be a constant pleasant environment; always dry and warm (70 degrees Fahrenheit) regardless of the conditions outside. Note: The sleeping bag/bedroll cannot protect against major acts of nature, such as lightning, floods, mud slides, earthquakes and so on. Nor can it protect against similar, magically induced elemental forces above 4th level strengh. ×10 (distributed regularly to scouts and traveling guards.)

Elemental Hot Stone, Greater (homebrew, see Kitsune) They are usually made from Granite or Volcanic Glass. The stone basically creates heat on it. There are many uses for these items. They can be used to cook food (through dropping a smaller rock in the food cooking), can be used to heat baths, and to keep a house or tent warm to name just a couple of uses for this item. Some create a moderate heat around 150° Fahrenheit (65.5° Celsius) and some create a greater heat of around 250° Fahrenheit (121.1° Celsius.) While these stones can cause blisters, there is no risk of fire. The moderate version can be tucked into clothing to keep the wearer warm due to not having as much of a risk of causing burns. Comes with a pouch which is immune to its magic. ×10 (distributed regularly amongst cooks/doctors.)

Elemental Cold Stone, Greater (homebrew, see Kitsune) They are made from stones usually from a river bed or those from a glacier and can be any stone type. The stone basically absorbs heat from around itself and are extremely useful. A stone carried in a backpack will keep any food in there fresher longer and is useful for the simple job of cooling drinks. A second use is as a method to keep fevers down. Some in hot climates even used these stones to keep themselves cool. The stones come in two different strengths. One is always around 32° Fahrenheit (0° Celsius) while the other is around 0° Fahrenheit (-17.8° Celsius) and will produce ice in water around it. Comes with a pouch which is immune to its magic. ×10 (distributed regularly amongst cooks/doctors.)

The Black Cloak (homebrew, see Kitsune) The Black Cloak is a favorite one use magic item by thieves in the Palladium world. When the cloak is pulled of and a special command word is spoken, the Cloak becomes a black mist that hides everything. The cloud will cover up to a space of 27,000 cubic feet. This is equal to a room that is 30ft by 30ft by 30ft. Thinner spaces, the cloud will spread out until it covers the entire volume. All forms of sight do not work within the cloud although hearing and psionic presence type senses are not effected. The cloud lasts for 12 melees (4 minutes). All within the cloud without other senses will be at -9 to strike, parry, and dodge. ×1 (kept locked in Captain’s quarters.)

Shoes of the Waves (homebrew, see Kitsune) These enchanted shoes allow the wearer to literally walk on water. The wearer is limited to their normal speed attribute and cannot run. If they attempt to run, they will break the magic which allows surface tension to hold the wearer out of the water and will quickly sink. If that happens, the wearer cannot get back on its feet above the water and must swim or will drown. These magic items are most common in sea coast communities. They are available in a variety of styles including sandals. Non sandal types are waterproof. ×3 (kept locked in Captain’s quarters.)

Satchel Fisherman (homebrew, see Kitsune) The item is fairly simple although it uses magic similar to the transformable weapon. In its collapsed or “Satchel” form, it appears to be a short rod about eight inches long and about an inch and a half wide. When commanded, it extends to a full fishing rod 6 to 8 feet long. As well, there is a line and hook hanging from one end. It seems to almost come from nowhere. While some need to be baited, others have lures of various types. Another command causes the line to extract to a maximum of two hundred feet. Yet another command causes the line to retract back into the pole. While extremely thin, the line will support up to 100 lbs, not meant to deal with truly huge fish. The pull strength of the enchantment is a bit weaker and is limited to around forty pounds. The line is enchanted so it will never tangle. ×15 (distributed regularly amongst the crew.)

Firebolt Musket: 6D6 M.D., 1600ft range. (High – Medium Rank)
Kisentite Sword: 2D6+3 MD. (Leader and First Mate only.)
Runic Long Sword: 3D6 MD. (High – Medium Rank)
Runic Cutlass: 2D6 MD. (High – Medium Rank)
Runic Knife: 1D6 MD. (Medium – Low Rank)

Common Weaponry
Survival Knife 1D6.
Vibro-Knife 1D6 MD.
Pirate’s Cutlass 3D6.
Grappling Hook 1D4 or 1D6 when swung and impaled (cannot parry.)
Spiked Mace 2D6.
Compound Bow 2D6+1, 700ft.
Battle Axe 2D8.
Cat O Nine Tails Whip 2D6.
Fragmentation Grenade 2D6, 20ft area of effect.
Smoke Grenade Releases a thick cloud of dark smoke over a 20-40ft radius.
Magnum Revolver 6D6, 140ft.
Submachine-Gun 4D6 single shot/1D4×10 per 3 shot burst, 500ft.
Wilk’s 320 LASER Pistol 1D6 MD, 1000ft.
Green LASER Rifle 3D6 MD, 2000ft.

Rarer Weaponry (Typically reserved for High – Medium Rank.)
NG-P7 Northern Gun Particle Beam Rifle 1D4×10 MD, 1200ft.
CSN20 Spear Gun 2D6 SD with spear ammo, 4D6 MD with exploding tips, LASER does 2D6 MD.
Horune Harpoon Gun 3D6 SD with spear/harpoon, 2D4 MD exlosive tip, 6D6 MD TW electrical charge, 6D6 TW heat charge, magic net (4th lvl spell strength), 3 spears can be loaded/fired at one time, 500ft.

Gladiator Full Environmental Armour: 215 M.D.C. (High – Medium Rank)
Improved Huntsman Armour: 156 M.D.C. (Medium Rank)
Nuhr Rune Leather Armour: 4D6+40 MDC. (Nuhr Dwarf only.)
Plastic Man 139 MDC (Medium – Low Rank)
L1-B2 Cyborg Light Infantry Armour 150 M.D.C. (Headhunter OCC only.)
Huntsman 164 MDC. (Low Rank)

Riverboat: Harpoon’s Folly Max capacity of 200, 13 mph (typically kept at a crawling pace), 150ft long and 45ft high (top of the stacks) with 3 decks, motor is magically silenced. 34000 SDC, made of wood, though reinforced with metal. Weapons: 20mm guns (1D6×10 SD, 6 mounted on each side), Ram-Prow (1D4×100 MD ramming damage), 5in Cannons (1D6×100 SD, 3 mounted on each side).

Nuhr Rune Sailboat With runic enchanting, the SDC of the wood becomes MDC point for point, and the vessel’s speed is double that of the wind without damaging the sails or straining the masts (up to 100mph.) Max capacity of 16, 12mph, 40ft long, 300 SDC. ×1 (always manned by the Nuhr Dwarves.)

Speedboat Max capacity of 6, 40 mph, 20ft long, 300 SDC. ×6

Cabin Cruiser Max capacity of 10, 25 mph, 35 ft long, 450 SDC. ×3

Rowboat Max capacity of 6, 1-2 mph (powered through rowing) or 4 mph using outboard motor, 12ft long, made of wood with no motor (110 SDC), or of aluminum with a motor (150 SDC). ×15

Canoe Max capacity of 4, 1-4 mph (powered through rowing), 12ft long, made of wood (50 SDC) or aluminum (85 SDC). ×20

Improved Speedster Hovercycle Max capacity of 2, 242 mph, 880 mi range, 160 MDC, 1D6 MD LASER with 1200ft range, 1D4 MD machine-gun burst with 2000ft range. ×7

Location They operate out of a veritable labyrinth of rivers and swampland (with its many hidden dangers and hard to navigate twists and dead ends) and keep their base mobile for the most part, riding lazily along on a refurbished, armoured riverboat ferry. The swampland itself has very tall trees (100+ feet), is densely wooded, and hard to traverse (much less see through, even from the air) without a canoe for the bayou areas or a boat for the deep rivers.

There are 3 different dry bases, buildings set in the ground and docks hidden but waiting should they deem it necessary to lie even lower in the swamps, or if they just need some shore leave. There are typically 4-6 buildings established at each location, but there is always a bar (with its own micro brewery at the largest land camp) and storage, barracks, a cabin for the higher ranks, and the Captain’s cabin. Some crew members stay on shore, taking care of maintenance, and keeping watch over the area on various patrols; they are usually small families, complete with children of crew members who are not living in a community elsewhere or older crew, but sometimes they are also the merchants who facilitate trade with the towns or even the ocaisional visiting swampman (who are welcome so long as they earn their keep and keep quiet themselves.) This makes the crew seem more like a private community. The loot hoard is safely hidden away in an underwater cove, protected from detection and damage by magic and only known and accessible to the Captain and her most trusted crew members.

When traveling on the water, each crew member gets their own smallish cabin aboard the Folly, with crew regularly working on the decks (swabbing, polishing, repairing, patrolling, etc.), the Captain and higher ranks with their own larger quarters. There are always a few smaller, faster boats gliding alongside or hitched on to the riverboat, but they often aren’t used unless on a job or to transfer persons or items to land. The riverboat itself, on top of being manned by 70% of the crew, is also equipped with powerful weapons (see vehicles for full statistical information), should it happen upon trouble in the form of any invading adventurers or a depth-dwelling monster of the swamps.

The crew gets shore leave in shifts, and many regularly take up rooms at some local inns as weary travelers, though they know better than to talk about where they’re really from (and the townsfolk know better than to suggest what they suspect.) On average, 5-10 members can be found drinking in a tavern, gambling in a saloon, or staying at a brothel at any one time throughout nearby towns and villages.

Notoriety The base locations are not well known, in fact few (if any) town locals could chart a map of the area or lead anyone to the encampments as few venture into those waterways; they are owned by Harpoon’s Folly and the creatures of the murky swamp water. There are some tribes of Idie Swampmen or other muck dwelling folk that are well versed in the ways and paths of the rivers, but most avoid contact with the pirate gang and do not speak of them easily, though there are some who have become welcome guests of the group.

Trade They trade regularly through black market hubs and also open marketplaces in nearby large towns. This is typically done through a particular merchant who takes a cut of the profits in exchange for their silence as to the stolen nature of the goods. Magical items are almost always hoarded or used (per the captains orders), but if they are traded it is done on a very strict case by case basis and performed in person with the Captain in a secure setting. Any really hot items are either transported far enough away and sold in a different hub, or sat on for an indeterminate time until they can be sold regularly. The Captain and her higher ranked members are well connected to mob bosses, large mercenary companies, some town leaders, dirty law enforcement, and other such entities, and they will pull on those strings if necessary.

Notoriety Though Harpoon’s Folly has garnered fear and respect for their strength and actions, the crew is under strict orders to keep loss of life to a bare minimum, and they will very rarely attack any notable factions or important shipments (the various towns’ economy needs to thrive or their own business will plummet, after all.) Much of their piracy is conducted more in the manner of espionage; sneaking aboard, immobilizing the guard, grabbing select pieces of loot, and slipping away into the waters. They absolutely never kidnap and torture is incredibly rare, this helps keep them low on the radar of forms of law enforcement, and their mobile camp through the waterways and hidden swamps has kept them clear of most opposition for years. Plus, it helps that their business is often secretly welcome in the larger towns, bringing in mercenary groups, trading caravans, and a decent profit for all of their unique items and sizable wealth.

Code Reed does all she can to ensure that the Folly keeps a low profile; she demands a code of respect from her crew and strictly adheres to rules to keep the lawman off of their back. They keep the killings to a minimum, absolutely no kidnapping or torture, in and out as quickly and quietly as possible, no infighting, and no hitting of any CS or other recognizable patrols (unless they’re small and easily overwhelmed.) Betrayal of these rules or of the Captain and crew can result in a range of punishments, depending upon the severity of the slight; public flogging, loss of limb, honor duel, keel hauling (this is rare and practically a death sentence), drowning, and death by firing squad are among the most common punishments. No crew member will ever be banished; once you are a member, you’re a member for life. Should any traitors escape before their sentences are carried out (this is a very rare occurrence), they will be hunted down, tortured, and killed by a powerful group.

Possible Quests
Against the Group
We’ll Get Them Yet! They’ve finally been sighted, the blighters, and you’ve been hired by local law enforcement of a small town to seek out and find your way on board to disable the ship in anyway possible, slip out unseen, and report back with any information against the crew and their Captain that you manage to suss out. But you cant attract more attention to the town or they’ll be sunk! You’ll be paid in whatever way the town can spare, including lodging, supplies, and credits. A dirty mayor will also approach you, asking for your discretion in the matter as the pirates are surprisingly good for business (his own or the town’s, it’s unclear), he offers a moderate sum of credits, as well.

Kidnapped Fishmen A tribe of Idie Swampmen has been missing a couple of members for months now, and they’re suspected to be in the claws of the deadly Captain Reed. The Idie are too frightened to venture into pirate territory, so they ask you to find more information and to bring their brethren back, if possible. With some more research, you learn that kidnapping is unheard of for this group, if you manage to spy on the crew or actually stumble upon the Swampmen, you find out that the missing Idie are actually with the crew by choice! You may report this back to the tribe of Idie, or confront the missing fish folk, which will result in either their return, combat with the pirates, or an offer to get your feet in the door wih the Captain!

That Should Be My Ship! A dastardly looking Horune Pirate is holed up in the town jail for causing a ruckus, and then your fine, upstanding adventuring group passed by. He’s loud and abrasive, shouting about treasure and magic items. If spoken to, he gruffly admits that he was once a member of an open water pirate crew before they were taken down by Lemurians. He had wanted to start his own crew with the survivors, but was usurped in a surprise mutiny by that thieving Captain Reed and her nasty Brothers! He offers you a cut of any treasure to help him take over the crew and kill Reed (you’d have to pay his sizable bail first). If this is done, the group has to utilize their tracking skills (the Horune ends up being totally useless for knowledge of swamps and rivers, which was why he was getting violent in town), and ends up in a standoff with the Captain. With some decent role playing, you learn that the Horune had tried to kill Reed before, resulting in his being marooned on an island, he’s just seeking his revenge. Depending upon the actions of the PCs, you could get in with the pirates by killing the Horune, or start a physical confrontation with the pirates.

Working With/For the Group
CS LASER Weapons, Get Em While They’re Hot! The crew has recently taken down a small patrolboat of CS sailors and have loaded a sizeable shipment of CS LASER rifles. While they plan to keep a couple for themselves, the rest all need to be sold; that’s where you come in! You’ve been hired to safely transport and quietly sell the weapons in a Black Market hub (don’t worry, they gave you the name of their dealers there) some 300 miles away, transfer the funds back, and recieve your own cut (a generous 25% for the party to split) before the lawman even catches a whiff of you! If you get caught, however, you’re on your own!

Find That Bloody Bilgerat! To get in Captain Reed’s good graces, she’s assigned you as rat catchers; some crew member has been selling information (and pocketing what they can of any spoils) to law enforcement! Find the traitor among the crew for a nice bonus, kill them or bring them to the Captain. The traitor ends up being a merchant whom helped get goods into town to trade, something not learned until the group starts sniffing about near the town docks and market squares. When confronted, the traitor offers a cut of any profits he makes as a merchant for the forseeable future, so long as you keep quiet about his involvement.

Shhh…We’re Hunting Magic You’ve been chosen to help the crew perform a stealth mission aboard a sizable (and well guarded) CS barge that passes through once per year, laden with magic items confiscated and set to be taken to a new storage facility for disassembly, destruction, (or worse) use. You need to help the high ranking members and the Captain sneak on board, incapacitate the guards, creep in for a few of their magic items, and scurry out without raising the alarm. Seriously. Don’t trip the alarm, we’ll all die. You’ll be rewarded handsomely in credits or with a lesser magical item/weapon.

What the Frack is That?! The ecosystem has been doing some funny things lately; dead schools of fish floating by, stagnant water, dry riverbeds, migrating birds, you name it! It’s up to you to figure out why. Some research and and talking over local legends yields much, turns out, a Mega Damage monster awakens from a long slumber beneath the swamps! You can fight it (with the help if the crew – and local town if you’re close enough), or find a way to banish it, or find some way to appease it and make it return to its sleep for some unfortunate travelers in the far off future to deal with!

Ol’ Lonesome, Wholesome Bud Bud the Larmac is a rather lazy and dislikable fellow. A lonely, lazy, and dislikable fellow. In a drunken stupor, he asks you to help him around the nearby town and talk him up during his allowed shore leave (nobody else is willing) in the hopes that he can get a date (and to keep him quiet about the Folly and out of the Captain’s fur for awhile.) He’s ornery, constantly drinking, slovenly, and not terribly suave or bright, but he’s promised you an amazing item if you manage to help him score. If you do (and good luck, you’ll need it), he eventually gifts you with your own Elemental Hot Stone that he had swiped from a cook! Man, what a jerk!

Background Originally, Captain Reed, her higher ranks (her two Brothers and Mr. Wicked), and some medium ranked members were of a notorious open sea pirating venture, run by a particularly nasty Horune Pirate Slaver. The “Hopeless Loon” garnered a lot of bad attention, even among other pirate crews, for being so ruthless and slaughtering so needlessly, and eventually a large enough force fought back; the Lemurians. The surviving rowboats were spared by the water dwellers, the ship and her Captain slain, and Reed offered the remaining pirates employ in her own operation. She promised a life of ease along the rivers and murky waterways of the land, and most jumped at the chance to reap better rewards for less distasteful work. It took some years to set up completely, but the “Harpoon’s Folly” (named for the foolish mistake of the Lemurians to leave them alive) quickly became a force to be reckoned with for miles of waterways. The pirate life attracts many unsavory villains, the river pirate life being a bit lazier and attracting more freeloaders and lumps than megalomaniacs, but Reed keeps them in their place.

DM Advice
Keep in mind that any of this information can be used or scrapped at the DM’s whim, and not all of the crew members would be utilized at all times; they all have assigned duties, as would any sailors, and only a reasonable number of the crew should respond immediately to an attack (this is at the DM’s discretion and should remain situationally appropriate.) This is similar to the inclusion of armour; as pirates, they are not so likely to be wearing full armour unless on an active patrol, raid, or if given the time to suit up before battle. Most pirates are much more likely to be in their plain clothes or just one or two pieces of their armour (helmet and torso are most likely), and this should be taken into account during surprise attacks. There are a number of hard hitting weapons and many regular weapons, any can be buffed up or disregarded given the level of the adventuring party. I tried to include a good mix to offer a challenge without confrontation seeming impossible.

Any scholarly/medical O.C.C.s would obviously not be as prominent in combat, many would even stay back or away in a camp. The crew is comprised of mostly D-Bees, and while humankind are not turned away, they are also typically not as powerful, and so any D-Bees in the adventuring party may find themselves the recipients of a warmer welcome (or a harsher attack, as the case may be) than human PCs.

Here’s an excerpt from page 113 of CSN to keep in mind when utilizing this group and their Captain, “Many rivers throughout the world are used as major high- ways for shipping goods, especially the Amazon and its tributaries, the Nile in Africa, the Mississippi, Rio Colorado River, and numerous others, large and small. Of course, the largest and longest are the most heavily trafficked, but even comparatively small rivers used by local communities can be staked out by River Pirates. These brown water brigands often wait on the banks of rivers, hide by camouflage or natural land cover and attack passing ships, rafts and barges. Such attacks, ambushes and holdups can utilize blockages, dams, mines, rocket launchers, rail guns, power armor, water skis and sleds, boats, robots, armored vehicles, magic, monsters and/or hostages, to name a few. All that separates River Pirates from regular bandits is their choice of targets: river boats. Frequently, the brigands have no ships of their own, except maybe makeshift rafts to unload cargo from captured merchant vessels, or fast moving water skis or underwater sea sleds. Most live on shore and travel by overland routes more than Highwaymen who use rivers as their highway. […] To enjoy continued success without having to constantly be on the run, pirates need sanctuaries — hideouts and havens where they can lay low for a while. These are quite simply safe areas where the pirates can divvy up loot, repair equipment, per- form routine maintenance, refuel vehicles, recover from injuries, hide from the authorities, rest and relax. For this reason, many groups keep hideouts in out of the way locations where they can go periodically to “disappear.” Besides rest areas, pirates also need places where they can take captured ships, or “prizes” as they are called, fence stolen cargo and booty, buy new equip- ment and replenish supplies. Neutral kingdoms and coastal city-states are often willing to provide pirate groups with all of these services. In return for giving sanctuary and providing vital services, these kingdoms get rich from payments of pirate loot. Dozens of such pirate sanctuaries exist on the Great Lakes and most coasts and islands the world over. The Splugorth are infamous for given such villains a safe haven and buying booty, particularly ships and otherwise hard to fence items, including Coalition power armor and bots.

Happy Gaming,

Any image or information provided pertaining to Rifts is the sole property of Palladium Books and any authors or artists therein. I claim no ownership of content, nor do I claim ownership of any borrowed fan-made creations as may be sourced above.

One response to “Groups, Troupes, & Crews: Harpoon’s Folly, a River Pirate Crew (Rifts)

  1. Pingback: High Level Toon Tuesday: Captain Reed the Bayou Ursine River Pirate (Rifts) | Save Vs. Character Death

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