300 years ago it was a golden age; Humanity was poised to leave its birth world behind for what lay beyond the solar system. But that was not to be... a nuclear exchange by two third world nations on the summer solstice brought about something no one save a handful had guessed: Magic returned with a vengeance and the world as it was known ended.
But humanity did not die that day. It fought back as best it could and now the remains of Earth's natives slowly work to reclaim their world but they are no longer alone. Aliens, demons and other beings prowl the Earth, and now both science and magic of amazing sorts can be found in this changed world -- but can humanity overcome its oldest problem? The urge to hate, fear and destroy that which is different?
A longer summary of the theme, as well as a map of eastern North America and more information on Lazlo specifically, is available here.
As of AU 26, on RIFTS-1 Earth it is 120 PA by the common calendar, or 2406 AD by the old calendar.
(Where the theme is compared to canon)
The Coalition v Tolkeen war and the secession of Free Quebec happened on time, with Tolkeen being destroyed. Despite dire prophecies, the Mechanoids have not appeared, and the Xiticix are not yet approaching the point of becoming overwhelming within the next few years (they have not spread further presently than they had in canon around 105 PA -- they first appeared a few years later or were slower to spread for some reason.)
The New German Republic has largely driven the gargoyles back, and is preparing for a final push to finish them off.
For the most part, RIFTS Earth is not largely changed by unification with the Multiverse -- it was already part of a multiverse, after all! However, warpgates are easier to use than dimensional rifts, and some enterprising explorers and traders have started to spread some Multiversal technology to the more advanced settlements, primarily better computers. Settlements are hesitant to adopt nanotechnology and advanced AI large-scale due to stories of causing an apocalypse on another world, but don't really care about individual use of such things. Adventurers get their hands on all sorts of things, of course, and as long as they're not committing crimes with them, any settlement already friendly to adventurers doesn't care that much what they're carrying.
We have yet to give much thought to what's happened in the 11 years since the current canon timeline.
This is just a list of warpgates that have been established in RP so far. There are surely others!
Lake Ontario gate - About 33 miles east of Lazlo, near modern-day Bowmanville. A trading town has sprung up around it, loosely affiliated with Lazlo, with a road connection (and public transport) to Lazlo itself.
Federation of Magic gate - Somewhere in Federation of Magic territory, hidden from the outside by magic.
New German Republic gate - There is at least one gate in the forests of Germany, which is currently a warzone.
2098 AD - The Coming of the RIFTS, beginning of the Three-Hundred Year Dark Age
2287 AD / 1 PA (Post-Apocalypse) - Founding of the Coalition States from the union of Chi-Town (Illinois), Iron Heart (Sudbury), and Quebec. Over the next century, the PA calendar becomes the de facto calendar in North America and the states of Missouri and Lone Star (part of former Texas) join.
2387 AD / 101 PA / AU7 - Approximate end of the Three-Hundred Year Dark Age.
??? Unification of RIFTS Earth Americas in the Vast Marshes. (The rest of the Megaverse unifies elsewhere in the Multiverse)
2392 AD / 106 PA / AU12 - Free Quebec attempts to secede from the Coalition States -- CS Civil War begins, CS-Tolkeen war begins
2394 AD / 108 PA / AU14 - Free Quebec gains independence
2395 AD / 109 PA / AU15 - Sorcerer’s Revenge. CS-Tolkeen war ends with Tolkeen’s destruction. El Dorado (Arkansas) joins the Coalition States.
2399 AD / 113 PA / AU19 - (April) The Oblivion Orb causes RIFTS Earth (and its solar system) to recombine in the Void - Space-Time Storms.
2404 AD / 118 PA / AU24 - The NGR warpgate appears. The NGR accepts nonhumans into its military, becoming slightly more accepting of them, and rebuffs the Gargoyle offense, but doesn't quite finish them. The gargoyles in Germany are left divided, waiting for a new leader to rise and unite them against humanity.
2406 AD / 120 PA / AU26 - Present Day