Freelance Acquisition and Collections Expert (F.A.C.E.)


Humanity is far from the first species to walk among the stars. In fact, entire civilizations, likely spanning thousands of star systems, have been born, lived, and died long before man discovered fire…or before there even were men on the face of the Earth.

Archaeologists, explorers, and the archives of older alien races have uncovered evidence that the first known galactic civilizations existed and disappeared over one billion years ago! And many postulate that those species were probably not the first either. The universe is at least 15 billion years old, and the sun is at least a second generation star, meaning another star was born, lived for possibly billions of years, and then died before our sun was even born in some far-off nebula.

This means that species evolved and strode the stars, making fantastical discoveries, before we even existed. Nobody knows where those species went. Some went extinct, some appear to have been destroyed, but many seem to have simply vanished with very little evidence left behind. But there are traces. And the Freelance Acquisition and Collections Experts (F.A.C.E.’s), are the people who look for those traces.

FACE’s are brave, sometimes foolhardy, and resilient individuals who fly to the edges of known space and search through the skeletons of dead civilizations for technology, knowledge, and materials that the younger civilizations can only dream of creating. Most are involved in the hunt for Deep Time Artifacts, items over a billion years old. DTAs, as they are called, are frequently items of incredible power or can be used to unlock new areas of super science. It was the discovery of ruins with Deep Time Artifacts on the moon of Alexandria that led to the Terran Protectorate increasing the potency of their negative mass fields many times over. It was a Deep Time Artifact that the Nix say gave them their knowledge of what they call magic, and a race for a DTA weapon led to a major fleet battle during the previous war.

But DTA’s are incredibly rare, and they are often hidden in dangerous, treacherous locations. Some DTA’s are among swarms of strange, violent, alien creatures, others are protected by defense systems activated before the first dinosaurs walked the earth. Sometimes these places are so far out as to test the stamina of the most advanced ships. Most are in the Orion Expanse, or on the edge of it, among what is called the Sea of Dead Stars, a large collection of dim red dwarfs and giants that have nearly burned themselves out. They were once the center of at least three civilizations, and warnings abound that there are horrors there, and throughout the Expanse, that the human mind cannot begin to imagine without flirting with insanity. Still, there are those that would seek them, and brave the dangers. A small DTA of even minor significance can net a small fortune. A weapon or moderately useful device can lead to early retirement in the lap of luxury. And something like a starship or a library of information can change the face of the known galaxy.

Even without finding DTAs, FACE’s can make good money finding ancient artifacts of all sorts, or just exploring and cataloguing the ruins of lost civilizations and scouting out potential colony sites. And when the exploration business is not doing well, some FACE’s can be hired to “acquire” technology from species that are very alive and well.

Your average FACE is an archaeologist, survivalist, and has some engineering skills. They can also hold their own in a scrap. Because of the places a FACE has to go to earn their keep, they must always be able to help themselves. There’s rarely anyone to call for assistance. This is not to say FACE’s go it completely alone. They often work with crews of mercenaries and explorers, and many have corporate or governmental sponsors. Also, it’s not unusual for a FACE to keep one or two useful items for themselves. As stated, not every item found is a DTA, and many items and ruins exist that are very old, but do not count as DTAs. They are often powerful as well.

Currently, there is no code of law regarding exploration and acquisition outside of Protectorate territory or the colonies. It’s pretty much a “finder’s keepers” situation, and possession is usually not just 9/10ths of the law, it’s all of the law. Claim jumping, theft, and outright murder are very real threats for FACE teams, and are sometimes the way some FACE’s operate when times are lean.


Special O.C.C. Abilities and Skills


1. Xeno-Archaeology: The character has spent years studying the architecture of extinct alien races. There are ruins on Alexandria, New Tortuga, and other sites across known space that have been the subject of intensive studies and analysis. Plus, there are the journals and logs of successful (and sometimes unsuccessful) FACE teams that have ventured into the Expanse or elsewhere beyond human civilization. The character has built up a mental library of knowledge about the architecture used by alien species, both living and dead. At a glance, he or she can identify ruins of alien races that have been catalogued. Additionally, the FACE can look at ruins and tell what type of physical form the previous inhabitants possessed. This can be useful in identifying the types of defenses the structure is likely to have, gives a good estimate of age (“No, the Fragartham League was destroyed only 10,000 years ago. This stuff is worthless.”), and can reveal important details about the species. Base skill: 40%+5% per level.


2. Decipher Alien Technology: The FACE has the possibility of deciphering any alien technology and then using it, just by examining it. The longer the FACE is able to study the object, the better chance he or she will have of figuring out how it works. A successful deciphering roll negates the standard -40% penalty for working with alien technology. The FACE may still need to have the relevant skills to operate some items, like piloting and weapons. Computer systems, communications devices, information terminals and data storage devices can be figured out with this skill alone. Decipher Alien Technology Base Skill: 26%+4% per level. The FACE receives a +5% bonus for one hour studying the object, and a +5% bonus for every eight hours after that.


3. Topology: The mathematical study of networks, someone skilled in topology can figure out almost any maze or tunnel system, given enough time and information. This allows the FACE to make his way through labyrinthine sewer systems, partially destroyed networks of streets, and through underground complexes with little fear of getting lost for long. On a successful topology roll, a FACE will be able to make his way out of, or to the heart of, a complex maze-like system in one-quarter the time it would normally take. What’s more, the FACE will never go in a circle or accidentally cover old territory, and can keep track of all the twists and turns in his head, with no need to leave markers to indicate areas he has previously visited. Base skill: 50%+2% per level. This skill also provides a +5% bonus to cryptography and computer hacking skills.


4. O.C.C. Bonuses: +1D4 to P.E., +3D6 S.D.C., +3 to perception, +3 to roll with punch, fall or impact, +2 to save vs. poison and disease, +1 to save vs. Horror Factor at levels 1, 3, 5, 8, 11 and 14.


O.C.C. Skills

Speak and Read Native Language: 98%

Speak two additional languages (+15%)

Read two additional languages (20%)

Advanced Math (+15%)

Pilot Small spaceship (+5%)

Navigation: Space (+10%)

Wilderness Survival (+10%)

Read Sensory Equipment (+10%)

Find Weapons and Contraband (+5%)

Archaeology (+10%)

Anthropology (+10%)

Appraisal (+15%)

Lore: Alien (+20%)

History (+20%)

Land Navigation (+16%)

W.P. Energy Pistol

Hand to hand: Basic

Hand to hand can be upgraded to expert at the cost of one “other” skill, or martial arts (or assassin, if evil) at the cost of two “other” skills.

Other Skills: The FACE receives eight other skills at level one, and two additional skills at levels 3, 7, 10, and 13.

Communications: Any (+5%)

Cowboy: None

Domestic: Any

Electrical: Any

Espionage: Any (+5%)

Horsemanship: General only

Mechanical: Any (+5%)

Medical: Any

Military: None

Physical: Any

Pilot: Any, except for elite combat skills of any kind.

Pilot Related: Any (+10%)

Rogue: Any (+5%)

Science: Any (+10%)

Technical: Any (+10%)

W.P. Ancient: Any

W.P. Modern: Any

Wilderness Skills: Any (+10%)

Secondary Skills: Select six Secondary Skills at first level from the Secondary Skill Section of Rifts Ultimate Edition: These are additional areas of knowledge that do not get any bonuses, other than any possible bonus for having a high I.Q. All Secondary Skills start at the base skill level.

Standard Equipment: A modest wardrobe of traveling clothes. Light, space-worthy EBA, most likely a softsuit, survivor backpack (10 M.D.C., 24-hour air supply, 2 weeks ration bars, and a jetpack capable of speeds up to 50 m.p.h. with a 200-mile range), one energy pistol of choice with two spare clips, portable surveyor, wrist computer, environmental inflatable tent, survival knife, an archaeologists tool kit and portable digging equipment, as well as personal effects.

Optional Equipment: This can be the player character in the group with his own, private ship (GM’s decision). If so, it is likely a light transport or scout vessel, and he or she still needs to pay off 75% of the purchase cost over time (monthly payments are likely in the 1D4+1x1,000 credit range, but FACE agents tend to make bulk payments and arrangements with the bank since they are often gone for months at a time).

Vehicle: A small civilian vehicle of some kind, all-terrain or hover.

Money: Starting money is 2D6x1,000 credits. Most FACE’s have sunk their savings into their education and exploration equipment. A starting-level character has never made a significant find of their own. Those starting with their own ship probably were a crew member on a moderately successful expedition and put their share into the down payment on their space craft.

Cybernetics: Start with none, but are no more averse to getting them than the average Protectorate citizen…maybe a bit less. If they do purchase any cybernetics, they will most likely be sensory equipment, like cyber eyes, or survival-based, like a cybernetic lung and air filter.

FACE Agents use the Rogue Scientist Experience table.