What is Rift Raiders?

Rift Raiders is a story that spawned from multiple sources. The first was from a dream I had several years ago about jumping between parallel worlds, which is where the title and a key subplot came from.

The second is when I went a little bit crazy on DnDBeyond.com with creating characters and thought it might fun to take some of those characters and give them a story. Several of those characters were very influenced by Lovecraftian horror.

Thus, Rift Raiders came to be.

While out excavating some old ruins, Colden and Dareau discover an

ancient relic. As soon as Colden touches it, he disappears, moments later reappearing covered in a cold slime, bearing a strange marking on his arm.

Content Warning: Abuse and violence. Nethergate is primarily a horror story and is written with an R-rating in mind. The main character is also a survivor of domestic violence and abuse.

The Characters

COLDEN

Colden comes from Zephym, the mirror world representing wind. He was hired by Dareau to be her gun-for-hire protector when out on excavations. But through their time together, they became incredibly close, and Colden fell hard for her.

We he lost her, he fell into a downward spiral, which was not at all helped by the strange change his body went through after discovering the Nexus. The odd relic seemed to have given him eldritch abilities. He can see horrifying monsters that no one else seems to be able to. He can craft weapons from shadows. And the voices. He keeps hearing whispering voices.

DAREAU

The first Dareau we meet is the one from Zephym, who is an archeologist and Colden's partner. Unfortunately she is killed by Othronis when he steals the Nexus relic from Colden.

Then, much to Colden's surprise, we meet her mirror counterpart in Terral, where she is the curator and head researcher at a museum called the College of Curiosities.

KARA LECHTEN

Kara grew up and went to school with Liz. Though they weren't exactly friends, they got along well enough. Both were considered outsiders by their classmates.

Kara's mother Amalthea is a practicing Wiccan, earning her income by performing spells for paying clients. Kara is more of a free spirit. While she dabbles occasionally in the Wiccan arts, but she has no interest in pursuing the same career as her mother. Instead she lives with her girlfriend and works wherever she feels like at the time.

When Liz returns to Ravens Hill, she runs into Kara at the coffee shop where she works as a barista. Unlike the rest of the town, Kara immediately offers her sympathy, and tells Liz that she always believed her.

At first Liz thinks Kara is just referring to her history with her ex, but soon figures out that Kara may know more about Liz's past than she's letting on.

The Story Behind Nethergate

I started developing the Nethergate in college when I was first getting into screenwriting. I'd always been into ghosts ever since I was a kid and got my hands on a book called How to Find a Ghost by James M. Deem. I really wanted to find a ghost, and even formed a small ghost hunting club at my school (which, hilariously, was a Catholic school). The club did not last long, as our school was not haunted, and my fellow members got bored very quickly.

In college I started watching the show Ghost Adventures and rekindled my interest in the paranormal. As I was taking a screenwriting course at the time and had fallen in love with the craft, I decided to come up with my own ghost story.

Nethergate started off as just a standard ghost tale about a monument connected to the world of spirits. But it has evolved overtime to contain some deeper themes and more emotional character arcs.

After getting out of my own horrible relationship, I decided to tie in the narrative of Liz dealing with her abusive ex Josh. While I did not go through the exact same abuses as Liz does, I was a victim of emotional and sexual abuse. I wanted to write Liz's story as a way to process with what had happened. Emotional scars are just like physical ones: they heal slowly and never really go away. It's very cathartic to write about a character dealing with and overcoming similar wounds of abuse.

People who see ghosts and abuse victims are, in my mind, very similar. Both question themselves, wonder if they're crazy or simply overreacting. They are often ostracized or not believed by others, or afraid to tell people what they're experiencing. And both live in a constant state of fear.

That was why I felt that this story, and not any of my others, was the right one to deal with the topic of domestic abuse.

Sorry for getting a little real there. Here's some more art I've done for this story!

You can help support the development of Nethergate ( the writing, art, and more.), as well as my other personal projects, by joining my Patreon.

As a Patreon subscriber, you'll get access to exclusive posts on my Patreon page, and depending on the tier you sign up for, can also see painting timelapses, PSD files, sketches, concept designs, and even read some script excerpts.

Beyond Nethergate

SEQUELS

I have also been working on two sequels to Nethergate. Is that jumping the gun a bit? Probably, yes, but I have a few reasons for wanting to do so.

First, I really don't like it when sequels are done poorly. Many are just blatant copies of the first but dialed up in intensity. Others sometimes contradict what was established in the original, breaking the story's own rules. So developing these sequels now helps make sure all three chapters are cohesive and build off of each other organically.

The other reason is I have developed quite a bit of lore and mythology around the Nethergate, and the sequels are a great way to explore that mythology further.

Nethergate 2: The Returning begins just a few days after the end of the first script. Liz and Patrick return to their homes in the big city and try to resume their regular lives, but it seems the Gate isn't done with them like they thought.

In Nethergate 3: Dark of Winter, Liz feels a powerful presence taking over her. In a desperate attempt to stop what's happening to her, the team journeys to Iceland to find the origin of the Gate and save Liz before the Winter Solstice.

Yes I have done art for Dark of Winter, don't judge.

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© Stephanie Brown 2020
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