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Preacher O.C.C.
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The New West, like the West of old, can be a lawless land of violence and conflict. In the old days, traveling judges would go from town to town dealing frontier justice to those who broke the law. With the coming of the Rifts, the New West is an even tougher, more violent frontier where the law usually comes from those with the biggest muscles and most powerful guns. A new breed of traveling judge walks the land during these tumultuous times, the Preacher.

Preachers are men and women who counsel wilderness people on what is right and wrong, help settle disputes, speak on a person's or group's behalf, and acts as a judge, drawing on both the laws of man and god. Whether a judgement is made by the Preacher in a closed hearing, publicly, and with or without a jury trial (often without) depends on the crime, the circumstance, the history of the perpetrator, and the Preacher. Traveling Preachers are tough, clever, observant, and self-reliant. In many cases, they are either loved and revered or hated, depending on where one stands on the law (and on the temperament and philosophy of the Preacher).

There are two main types of Preacher, the fire and brimstone, eye for an eye type, and the ones who preach tolerance, moderation and love.

The Fire and Brimstone Preacher tends to deal out harsh punishments and lynchings accompanied by long, bombastic sermons about evil, penance and changing one's ways before one finds himself following these lost souls down the road to damnation! Other punishments are likely to include floggings, beatings, tarring and feathering, and hard labor. This type of preacher is also likely to carry a gun (typically the Big Bore sawed-off shotgun and/or an ion blaster) and has no compunction about "rooting out evil" using physical violence, guns and bloodshed. The Fire and Brimstone Preacher will "smite down the wicked" with his fists, a kick in the pants, a stick, sword or a gun. Such characters are hard men (and occasionally women; 15%) for hard times. Most have grown intolerant of the lawlessness, cruelty and injustice they see around them, and have become militant in their crusade to crush (or at least drive) evil and wickedness from the land. Most are good people who sincerely care about the weak, innocent and downtrodden, especially women and children. However, the Fire and Brimstone Preacher is also more likely to harbor resentment and bigotry toward D-bees and even encourage their extermination; Simvan and Mountain Giants are often on the top of their list. They also have little kindness or respect for "heathens" such as Native American Indians and Psi-Stalkers, or any people who worship ancient "pagan" spirits and alien gods. As for the supernatural, these preachers often lead crusades against the demonic, and actively promote the destruction of all supernatural beings. "As the Lord drove the serpent out of paradise, so must we drive the demons and monsters of the Rifts from our world." This usually includes dragons, shapechangers, (supernatural or not), and all monstrous and reptilian beings regardless of their alignments and intent.

The other type of preacher is the Peacemaker, who tends to be a more gentle and philosophical servant of god. Most teach healing, compassion, tolerance and understanding. They make stirring appeals to people's compassion, hope and brotherhood between all of god's creatures, including D-bees and alien creatures. They too stand tall and serve as judges against wrongdoers and issue punishments. Although they will sentence murderers and cutthroats to death, for other crimes they consider all the circumstances of a situation, whether the perpetrator seems truly repentant, and whether or not the punishment fits the crime. Thus, their punishments are more likely to include making restitution to the person or people wronged, community service, public admonishment, rehabilitation and prison time.. Although many Fire and Brimstone Preachers consider the Peacemaker to be misguided and soft, the Peacemakers are not cowards or fools. They courageously stand against evil and will fight to protect the innocent when faced with no other recourse. Many have died defending others or standing up for what they believe.

Most Preachers are nomadic by nature and travel the New West from town to town, hearing cases, levying judgements and offering advice and prayers. Large towns and cities usually have one or more churches with one or two resident Preachers (and perhaps an assistant or two) at each.

Excerpted from Rifts® Ultimate Edition™, copyright 2005 Palladium Books Inc. All rights reserved. Rifts®, Megaverse® and Palladium Books® are registered trademarks of Palladium Books Inc. and Kevin Siembieda. All other titles and names are trademarks of Palladium Books.



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