No Sharper Spur
Ninevehn's Stars Without Number game.
- 1 Characters
- 2 Maps
- 3 Assets & Operations
- 4 New Horizons
- 5 Organizations
- 6 NPCs
- 7 Style and Posting
- 8 Far Trade
- 9 Dice Rolls
- 10 Character Creation
- 11 House Rules
- 12 Advancement
- 13 Wyrm Sector Setting
- 13.1 Tech and Style
- 13.2 Languages
- 13.3 History of Phoenicia
- 13.4 The Phoenician Fleet
- 13.5 Phoenicia
- 13.6 Tyre
- 13.7 Sidon
- 13.8 Trakkar
- 13.9 Delann
- 13.10 W0202
- 13.11 Koilia
- 13.12 W0702
- 13.13 W0101
- 13.14 W0608
- 13.15 W0706
- 14 Sector Map
- Nick Milti played by Naed Yar.
- Felipe Santiago played by rstites.
- Zack Spears played by Black Adder LXX
- Benedict Sandor played by Algebraist
- SWN Character Blank
- Orlando Cortez played by thirdkingdom.
- Nelli Landee played by RookieRPG
- Kazumi Jones played by The Wyzard.
- Darryl O'Neil played by Carwyn.
Assets & Operations
The Hanger, New Cadiz
- Ship's Locker, Frigate scale
- Meta-Dimensional Monitor
- 4 Mandate Era Power Plinths
- The plinths are functionally equivalent to Large Microfusion Power Nodes from Engines of Babylon. Each one adds 7 Power to a vehicle, and the ATV can handle four of them. Additionally, when set up to reinforce one another, the plinths can add 2 Power to a shuttle-sized starship or 1 Power to a frigate-sized starship. You could also use them to power a small workshop, lab or base camp and any handheld devices as well.
- Examples of Norlight alien tools.
- 2 alien missile launchers, 24 missiles.
- 16 alien grenades.
- Two tons alien cruiser computer cores.
- Schematics for a Spike-2 cruiser drive.
- Faith Relics, .1 tons
- Mandate Pop-Up Base
- 1 Fusion Plant, 10 tons
- Robot parts, 1 ton
- 2 Bronze bots, .4 tons
- Miracle of the Loaves data cores, 2 tons
- Data crystal
- Chimera Project Data
- Chimera Project Update Notes
- Nemean Project Notes
- Wraith Shuttle, 40 tons
- (2) Mule bots
- (1) Frigate fuel bunker fitting
- Heavy Machine Gun
- 4 HMG magazines (10 combat rounds of ammo/250 cr each)
- Free, 60 tons
- Speed: 3
- Armor: 2
- Hit Points: 20
- Crew: 1/6
- AC: 6
- Power: 10 (1 Free)
- Free Mass: 15 (0 Free)
- Hardpoints: 2 (1 free)
- Hull Type: Frigate
- Locker and Armory
- Atmospheric Configuration (2 Free Mass)
- Flack Emitter Battery (5 Power, 3 Free Mass)
- Fuel Scoops (2 Power, 2 Free Mass)
- Spike-2 Drive (2 Power, 2 Free Mass)
- Advanced Nav Computer (2 power) - 100k
- Cargo: 60 tons (3 Free Mass)
- Fuel Bunkers x1 (1 Free Mass)
- Power Plinths (+1 power)
- Shuttle/explorer bay (2 mass) - 25k
- Speed: 3
- Armor: 0
- Hit Points: 15
- Crew: 1/10
- AC: 9
- Power: 3 (0 Free)
- Free Mass: 5 (0 Free)
- Hardpoints: 1
- Hull Type: Fighter
- Atmospheric Configuration (1 Free Mass)
- Extended Life Support x2 (2 power, 2 mass)
- Spike 2: (1 power/1 Free Mass)
- Fuel Bunker (1 Free Mass)
Tactical ATV Explorer
- Speed 0 / Armor 8 / HP 40 / Crew 8 / KMH 70 / TL 3 / Size L
- Power 0 (12) / Mass 0 (22) / HRDP 0 (4)
- Railgun x2 - 16k / 4 HRDP / 6 Power / 6 mass
- Hardpoint Support x2 - 10k, 2 power, 2 mass - adds 2 HRDP
- Advanced Sensors - 15k, 1 power - good stuff
- Armor Plating - 5k, 3 mass - AC bonus of 3
- Battery Reserve - 5k, 1 power, 1 mass - 240 hours of additional operation
- Cargo Space - 0k, 1 mass - adds 2 tons of enclosed cargo space
- Medbay - 10k, 1 power, 2 mass - emergency support for one person
- Power System, Large - 10k, 5 mass - adds 8 power to vehicle
- Targeting Board - 5k, 1 power, 1 mass - allows one gunner to use up to three guns
- AC: 2
- HD: 2
- HP: 16
- Carry 5 encumbrance readied:
- HMG, Gunners shield, Spare ammo belt linked to the one loaded into the gun.
- Carry an additional 10 encumbrance of stowed material in protected ammo cans. This would probably mostly be personal ammo, grenades and additional HMG belts.
- Counts as droid for storage - 2 per ton
Moon Base, W0505
- 2,550 Local Credits
- T5 Cargo Lighter, 40 tons
- Koilian Liqueur, 20.1 tons
- Level 4 HQ, New Cadiz
- Factor: Nahum, a Mandate-era Shedu AI, a guardian and caretaker mind recovered from the Norlighter frigate wreck.
- Holding Points: 10/18
- Starship, Shuttle
- Starship, Trade Frigate
- Corporate Security, Major
- Production Facility, Minor (small arms)
- Level 3 HQ, Anee
- Factor: Ineep, an adventurer merchant bat Catholic.
- Holding Points: 6/12
- Corporate Security, Minor
- Production Facility, Minor (Koilian liqueur)
- Promethean Project, TL1
- Meteor Pact
- Level 3 Corporation
- HQ on Phoenicia
- Factor: Florida Maki
- Holding Points: 5/12
- Corporate Security/Minor
- Minor Production Facility (Munitions)
- Minor Production Facility (Munitions)
- The Rebel Agency
- A number of noble leaders had fled the system at that point, and their starships are the rebel fleet that are currently playing pirate on the route to Delann. Their long-term prospects do not seem particularly good. There are also rebel people who survived the war and kept carrying the torch. And people who decided to hold a grudge after they got nuked. And people who think the rebel maltech experiments are really interesting. It's honestly hard to say how many people like this there are, how organized they are, and what their resources and capabilities are. More likely to be thousands than tens of thousands. In SWN mechanical lingo, we're talking about an Agency. As far as goals go, you'd assume they're gathering intelligence and resources, and probably attempting to smuggle shit out to the rebel fleet somehow.
- The Archivists
- A private group that tries to lockdown maltech and xenotech information from other private and governmental groups. Good security, but not much ability to act.
- Meteor Pact
- Florida Maki, a middle-aged woman with severe, conservative stylings and mannerisms. A shrewd businesswoman motivated to protect her family fortune.
- Radcliffe University
- Kiama Lee, a woman in her mid-thirties. Professor of Engineering with a focus on Mandate technology.
- Mole People
- Akiko, a young woman who is the face of her people and a budding social media maven. Gets on well with Jones.
- Boyd, a polite and quiet young man who is also a burgeoning psychic, seemingly with precognitive and telepathic abilities. Currently training with the Department of Psychic Affairs.
- Harley, a worker.
- Grady, a worker whose life Nick and Jones saved.
- Hodari Rayner, a tough, rough woman who works as a mining foreman.
Style and Posting
- Tell me your intention (what you want to accomplish) and your action (how you attempt to do something).
- Post with purpose. Posts should push the action forward, uncover information or reveal something about the character. Preferably two or more of those at once!
- Banter is fine as long as things are moving.
- Avoid getting caught in the politeness spiral. Pick a direction, post it, and if other characters want to do something else, then that's rp fodder!
- I am aiming for four to five purposeful posts from each player every week. More is fine, but 4-5 is a good ballpark.
- If you are planning on an absence, please let me know.
- If for some reason you fall behind on posting, don't fret, just jump back in. Everyone goes through lulls occasionally.
- If you are no longer interested or no longer have the time to play, please let me know you are withdrawing. There will be no hard feelings, and not only is it polite, it keeps The Wyzard from blacklisting you.
1) What do I need to do Far Trade? A ship, some credits (maybe a lot of credits) and a minimum of Business-1, Culture/Spacer-0 and Culture/Traveler-0 between the group. Higher Business ratings and specific cultural skills are also useful.
2) How do I buy things? Every planet has a Trade Goods table that contains 10 items. Items have tags that help describe and categorize them. When you get to a planet, I roll twice on that table. Those are the best available deals. You can choose to reroll as you desire, but each reroll drives the Friction up by 1 (we'll talk about Friction soon). You can also commission a good not on the table but theoretically available on the world at the cost of +4 Friction.
Once you pick out your goods, we take your expertise (Business+Culture+Int/Cha mod), including your factor's Culture skill, and subtract it from the world's base Friction+any Friction you generated. Friction is essentially the local tax, graft, paperwork, theft and general hostility to foreign traders that can eat away at profit. The result, positive (bad) or negative (good), modifies the trade roll, which is 3d6 against a chart. High totals drive the price up from the base, low totals drive the price down from the base. Planets generally have a couple of goods tags that they value highly, and a couple of tags that they don't value, and they also modify this roll.
If the Friction is too high for your tastes, you can run an adventure to remove it for a trade, and some holdings also reduce it. Friction can never go below 1 without an adventure.
3) How do I sell things? Just like the above, but in reverse. So positive modifiers are good and negative modifiers are bad.
4) What do I do with local credits? Buy an HQ, create holdings, buy local goods to sell elsewhere.
5) An HQ and holdings? An HQ is a permanent presence on a given planet. It has levels from 1 to 10, and generally you can build up to level 5 without any special permissions. Each level has a number of holding points and cost a certain number of credits to buy, as follows.
- 1: 10k credits, 3 holding points
- 2: 25k, 6
- 3: 100k, 12
- 4: 200k, 18
- 5: 500k, 27
Holdings are associations and infrastructure that do useful things for you. These can be starships, medical centers, production centers, bribery rings, propaganda outlets, starports, security, trade legions, etc. Most holdings have a minimum planetary population and a minimum tech level, so not every planet can support every type of holding. They also cost credits to establish, one can be established every month at each HQ, and the locals can contest some of them if they desire. Not every alien world will just let you raise a nation-conquering army, no matter how much money you throw at them! Each holding also costs a number of holding points that varies from holding to holding.
HQs also need a factor, a trusted local who advises you and oversees your operation in your absence. They can lend their relevant Culture skill to trade rolls they're present for, they can commission HQ increases and holding construction based on orders left for them, can oversee the purchase of goods from production centers and many holdings use the factor's abilities to govern how useful they are.
6) This doesn't sound so hard. What's the catch? Trouble. Whenever you initiate a far trade, I roll to see if there's trouble. If there is, I roll on the trouble table for the planet to see what happens. Some trouble is annoying, a delay of weeks. Some can be costly, raising the Friction of the deal. Others can be disastrous, consuming up to half of the goods with no recourse. Adventures can be ran to handle the trouble without losing anything.
Dice rolls are in the rolz.org room No Sharper Spur.  I will be doing all the rolls save character creation (and I will roll chargen for you if you'd like), but it's all done and recorded there.
As per the core rulebook, with 3 exceptions. 1) Roll as normal for attributes, then assign them in any order you wish. 2) Choose one Background Package, and additionally the Adventurer Package. 3) Choose one Training Package, and additionally the Adventurer Package. You may choose the adventurer package twice in a stage if you wish.
Begin with max HP for your class, including Con mod.
Each character gets 1,000 credits to purchase starting gear with, up to TL3 for ranged weapons and TL4 for armor and melee. The setting is absolutely lousy with up-jumped TL2-3 gear, and there's a lot of military surplus on the market, so it's sort of a buyer's market. Non-TL4, non-upjumped weapons are 10% off.
One Cool Thing
Pick an item up to TL4. A weapon, armor, a Tech kit, etc. Something that you want to be a signature or vital gear for your character. You get it for free and it's reasonably plot-protected; don't do something foolish like chuck it out an airlock or into a volcano and you'll hang onto it.
One Plot Thing
Pick a plot-driving hook for your character. Maybe you know a secret jump route, or a military officer who needs work done off the books from time to time. Every character needs one connection or relationship that can be used to get information, create complications or hang an adventure off of in a pinch!
Much of Phoenician technology is transitional, and the common practice of up-jumping is part and parcel of that fact. Up-jumped weapons are simply TL 1-3 weapons platforms built using TL4 materials technology. The effect is that these items count as TL4 for the purposes of overcoming advanced armor or resisting effects. An up-jumped shotgun is not slowed by plate, while an up-jumped knife is capable of wounding even a warrior in powered armor.
Up-jumped weapons cost the corebook prices. TL 1-3 weapons that have not been improved in this manner cost 10% less.
Underslung Launchers: Can be fit to rifles, combat rifles, combat shotguns, mag rifles, spike throwers, laser rifles and plasma projecters. If you knew what a shear rifle was, you could hook one up to that too. They have a range of 150/350, add +1 encumbrance to the firearm they are mounted to and have a magazine of 3. Reloading the magazine takes one action per grenade. You can't put a throwing grenade into a launcher, and you can't throw a launcher grenade (well, you can, it just won't hit hard enough to go off).
These are cheap, at 300 a pop. Launcher grenades cost the same as regular ones.
Ricochet: Grenades launched from either a dedicated gunnery weapon or an underslung launcher fly much faster than thrown ones. When they bounce, they bounce further. Misses deviate by 1d20 meters.
Indirect Fire: This, in addition to the blast radius, is what makes up for the deviations and 'soft' damage of launched grenades. When fired, you can take a -2 modifier to the attack roll in order to arc the grenade over hard cover, into a trench, etc in order to place a hit or deviation on a target that would otherwise be safe. There still needs to be a path for the grenade to follow in order for this to work.
Ricochet and Indirect Fire apply to the Multiple Grenade Launcher (MGL).
Keep in mind that grenades can kill your friends, that the enemy gets a Luck Save to halve the damage taken, that the damage does not ignore vehicle armor, that tanks are immune to grenade fire, and that ACs below 6 reduce grenade damage by one for every point they are below it. Grenades can do some serious stuff that other weapons cannot, but they have some significant downsides as well.
Legality: Man, grenades are common. They, and their launchers, are very portable and were pretty heavily circulated during the war, on both sides. Grenades are easier to build than missiles and have enough punch and utility to get a lot of jobs done, so a lot of this stuff got made and a lot of it is sitting on shelves, waiting to be used. We are not going to sweat the licensing.
Just note that the Authority will come down on you like the hammer of an angry god if you brandish or, even worse, use them in respectable areas or damage anything connected people care about.
The innovators (and primary producers) of Phoenician spacecraft live in submerged cities off the eastern coast. This influence has led to all atmosphere-capable starships being designed for submersible operations as well. They are slow and clumsy when underwater, however, being reduced to speed 0 and using in-system travel times for oceanic ones, without the benefit of the spike drive enhancing speed. Most weapons cannot be fired effectively while submerged.
The Language skill can be used to translate foreign languages and alien writing systems. The difficulty varies based on the amount of time used, the size of the sample and the amount of computing power at your disposal. Working from first principles, translating an isolated line of alien script in an hour with a notepad is much more difficult than translating a set of books in a day with a dedicated computer station.
After a working vocabulary has been developed, translation is mostly a matter of time and does not require rolls (most of the work can be offloaded to a computer). Working translations can justify an increase in the Language skill and developing them can count as training time, but translation rolls do not substitute for actually knowing the language. There's a significant time delay between encountering text and understanding it. A character could try to translate a recording, but real-time conversations are much too fluid and rapid to make the attempt.
Raw data pulled from computers never needs translating, but text and audio files might.
Firearms have attachments for accessories. Pistol weapons can support 2 attachments, carbines and submachine guns can support three and longarms can support 4. Attachments are things like scopes, bayonets, underslung grenade launchers, flashlights, cameras and flare launchers.
The scopes that come with a weapon let you fight out to their ranges, but they have crappy detail resolution and suck in the dark. Better scopes cost 100c, and if you don't move, they reduce the long-range penalty from -2 to -1. These also let you make out details well. Low-light capability can be integrated for an additional 200c. Scopes are helpful, but you can't really run and gun with them.
See the grenade section.
Grey Market Sales
Selling semi-legal, mildly-irradiated tech isn't as reliable or smooth as selling new product from an established vendor. There is a very real market for this kind of stuff, but it relies more on personal savvy and good business instincts than normal shopping procedures. This can go two ways.
- Way 1: You vendor this stuff for 20% of its base value and we all move on. No fuss, no muss, not much profit or xp. I expect this option will be more useful for disappointing finds.
- Way 2: You work the market. We start selling at 50% of base value and make a contested Business roll. For every point the market wins by, I take an additional 5% off the base price. For every point the PC wins by, I add an additional 5% to the base price. Win or lose, I roll on a trouble table for possible complications that will further reduce profit unless we do an adventure to stop it.
This is basically a cut-down version of the Far Trader rules, meant to deal with small, diverse cargoes in a different grade of market.
Skill points gained per level are doubled. The skill caps remain the same.
Roll one additional die when rolling HP, and drop the lowest die. If your new roll is the same or less than your old score, add 1 hp to your old score.
An example: A Warrior with 8 hp reaches level 2 and rolls his new hp. He would roll 3 d8, dropping the lowest die. If he rolled a 7, 5 and 4, he would keep the 7 and 5 for 12 hp. If the result was less than 8, he would add one to that score and have 9 hp as his new total.
The Con bonus is added or subtracted after the roll.
Every 50 credits earned from adventuring translates to 1 xp for each character. Equipment or other loot kept by the characters is not counted. Experience will also be awarded for various milestones and on completion of certain actions and achievements. Milestone and achievement awards are received in full by each character.
Wyrm Sector Setting
Tech and Style
There's a lot of military surplus floating around. Most of it is up-jumped weaponry and personal body armor, but quite a few support vehicles are on the market as well. The military has been moving towards fully T4 weaponry and equipment and is selling off its older stock. Older, standard T2-T3 weapons are still common with civilians, but production is dwindling.
Print-o-Mats are increasingly common. 3D printing of a broad variety of consumer wares has driven the trend, wherein buildings house rows of printers and store raw materials in the basement, selling printing time and patterns to consumers. The process can take anywhere from half an hour to an afternoon. There are regulations in place limiting what can be printed, and custom designs and user-created patterns are common. There's a DIY community around creating custom designs for printing.
Visually, things are a sort of retro-30's and 40's futurism mashup. Vehicles might run on hydrogen cells and solar panels, but they have massive bumpers and running boards and big headlight sockets. Chrome is very in right now.
Starship production is semi-custom to fully bespoke, with shops in the underwater cities producing ship hulls and setups by the individual order. Ships are still modular, and the military does produce standardized hulls, but the private market still treats ships as luxury items, and they are designed, decorated and embellished appropriately. Inlaid patterns, filigree, decorative sculpture and other artistic flourishes are practically standard. The underlying guts of the ship are produced by third parties and are more utilitarian, but the finished product is a nearly unique work of art.
- Space Travel:
- In-system travel is ubiquitous in Phoenicia. There are a bunch of mining operations and some remote science stations and a deep space refueling tower. System space tourism is a real thing. Tickets are cheap and easy to get, with flights everywhere nearly every day.
- Near Interstellar travel is common. Imperial Spaceways is a government-subsidized shuttle company that maintains regular flights to the colonies of Tyre and Sidon, both adjacent to Phoenicia. You can just buy a ticket and go when the next flight is available. IS also carries small cargo (mostly government contracted) and mail. Ticket prices are roughly equivalent to long-range business class airline tickets today, so about a thousand or so credits per one-way ticket. It's also possible to purchase transport on tramp freighters and the like, free merchants that move goods out to the colonies and materials back in to the home system.
- Far Interstellar travel is uncommon. Far Traders make runs to Trakkar and Delann, with little interest in the systems in between. The Authority operates embassies at both systems, and maintains communication links with a small squadron of free merchants kitted for speed and endurance. **Purchasing berths to Trakkar is at the mercy of the far traders, while it's pretty much impossible to buy a ticket to Delann, since it's quarantined. A berth anywhere else is also impossible; nobody is flying five jumps to the middle of nowhere because you want to, even if you pay them.
- Inter-sector travel is unheard of. In this game, sectors are a political and cartographical convenience, so there are no special barriers to doing so, it's just that the sector transits are near the edges of the map and the Authority has lost enough ships to blind jumps for the present.
- Phoenicia is the only system in the sector building spike-capable ships. The military fleet is small and stretched very thin right now. It operates free merchants and patrol boats. The civilian fleet is also fairly small; spike drives have only been a thing for about 20 years. They have shuttles and free merchants.
- Purchasing a starship can be done by either buying a decommissioned military free merchant, which is cheap but risks operational quirks, or by going to a starship builder at one of the underwater cities off the coast and commissioning one. Starships are built to order, in layers of customization that run from factory custom to fully bespoke. They are still modular, but ships are works of art and are highly embellished and decorated.
- All starships must have the atmospheric configuration fitting, because they are all built on the planet. That will change when the Mare Industria moonyard is finished in about a year.
- If you only want to go to the colonies, tickets are fine. Buying a starship is perfectly legal, but they cost a lot. Salvage is an option, but it's dicey; you'd either have to hope for a good loot roll or go on at least one adventure setting up the find, then an adventure actually retrieving it.
- Ship sizes.
- Fighter-scale hulls are fairly small. An F-5 Tiger or X-wing would be on the light end of a fighter, while a Danube-class runabout from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine would be on the heavy end of a shuttle (in size, not equipment!). Ships in this scale have a cockpit or a single deck and are about 15 to about 25 meters long. They are fully modular, but not all modules are necessarily internal. Fighters might have external fuel bunkers, for example.
- Frigate-scale hulls are significantly larger. At the small end are the Space Shuttle Orbiter and the Millennium Falcon. Large aircraft like the Spruce Goose and the 747 are in the middle of the pack, while ships like the Firefly-class and the Corellian Corvette are at the upper end of the range. Ships in this scale have one to five decks, including partial decks for gun turrets or an equipment deck that isn't fully traversable. They always have at least one full deck. They range in length from about 35 to 115 meters.
- Cruisers are another big jump. Most of the Star Trek TOS ships would fit here, as would naval carriers and nuclear submarines. These ships are 200 to 350 meters long, have 5-10 decks, at least three of which are full, and can support attached fighter-scale craft. Currently there are no known ships of this class in Wyvern Sector, but the Authority is preparing a lunar shipyard in order to lay cruiser keels.
- Capital ships would be larger than anything known to the Phoenicians. They're not entirely sure they can build one, even with the zero-g shipyard.
- Tech Level
- Phoenicia is transitioning into a fully T4 society. There are a ton of upjumped T3 weapons on the market, as the Authority allowed its soldiers to muster out with their personal equipment in lieu of pay. The military is implementing full T4 weapons and armor, but it contracts the production of those items, and the contractors can sell to the private market. You have to jump through some hoops to get them, but nothing that would have hindered any of the PCs. Gunnery weapons and assault suits/powered armor have more substantial hoops.
- Upjumped ground cars, atmoflyers and helicopters are still the principle vehicles for most people. Naval vessels are common, due to the long coast and the underwater cities. Gravcars and gravfliers are a thing, but they're mostly limited to the military and the very wealthy. This isn't so much because they're super-expensive as it is that the economy was badly strained by the war and most folks don't have the cash to buy new anything right now.
- Cybernetics are real and available, but most people have a bias against using them except to replace a lost body part. There are some scary-ass ex-military street samurai wandering around though.
English is spoken as the primary language throughout the sector. It was the official language of the Mandate and is thus very widespread and commonly used. Plenty of other languages are still spoken, however. On Phoenicia, there are significant populations who speak Swahili, Japanese or French in their daily lives or learn it at school. Delann has significant pockets of Portuguese, German and Cantonese, while Tagalog is the daily tongue reserved for the warrior-leaders of Trakkar. There are groups scattered across the worlds that use other languages for ritual or ceremonial purposes, but their numbers are small. Many languages have been preserved primarily as academic curiosities.
History of Phoenicia
The colony at Phoenicia was set up for reasons lost to time and the Scream. What is known is that the world was successful and well-populated during the Mandate Era, and played a central role in the economy of the sector. The metadimensional event known as the Scream ended interstellar ties in Wyrm Sector, and the loss of sane psychics collapsed the planetary industries. The period following the collapse saw the population fall from an estimated 1.5 billion to roughly 200 million. These survivors formed loose, warring states around the remains of pretech cities.
After four centuries, these states were methodically conquered and absorbed by the nascent Phoenician Empire, then led by Emperor Harper, which succeeded over two generations of war and diplomacy in uniting the planet. Following the Conquest Period, technological and industrial development improved sharply as pooled resources fed a sustained effort to reinvent and deploy advanced technologies. In the same timeframe, power within the Empire was slowly being transferred from local rulers and nobility to the bureaucratic classes, partially to insulate Imperial power from rival nobles. Empress Hinata presided over a series of democratic reforms that ended when she abdicated the throne 50 years ago.
23 years ago, in-system spacecraft recovered the hull of the Naxos, a Mandate vessel left adrift in the mid solar system. Reverse engineering and study of its systems led to the development of the first postech spike drive. After several years of testing and analysis of its navigation maps, initial surveys of the sector began. Twelve years ago, Phoenicia launched its first colony in the neighboring Tyre system.
After two years, the strain of supporting a fledgling colony while developing new shipyards and related technologies left the government overstretched, a situation that hereditary nobles along the hilly regions in the west and northwest attempted to exploit. They rebelled, leading to a decade-long civil war that ended with the orbital bombardment and then nuclear bombing of Hill Prince military bases and urban centers. Broken, the surviving rebel princes fled the system, leaving an exhausted world to rebuild.
In the last year, the Phoenician Authority has mapped the routes along the arms of the sector, made the Tyrian colony self-sufficient, began initial colonization of the adjacent Sidon system and made contact with two human-inhabited worlds. Interstellar trade and diplomacy is slowly expanding, but the colony efforts and reconstruction on the homeworld have slowed efforts to build up the fleet.
The Civil War
- The Hill Princes rebelled because they used to have a lot more power, basically. The nobility used to run things, but the Imperial government had been chipping at them for a long time, and eventually the last empress took them out entirely. Lots of nobles still had power, but they had to be appointed or actually run for election (gasp!) to participate in the government. The princes up in the hills took that the most personally, in part because they were the most insulated from earlier changes and in part because (truly) the Authority hasn't been great at respecting the needs and unique challenges of the mountain communities. Also commercial spike drives gave them the ability to bail if things went south (things did go south and they did bail, hence the rebel pirates).
- So, from one angle, the civil war was nobles vs democracy. From another angle, it was a struggle for dominance between the heavily industrialized mountain regions and the advanced and prosperous domed cities off the coast. And while the rebels were obviously messing with maltech and killed Cortez' dad in cold blood, it's also the case that the Authority used orbital bombardment and nuclear warheads on civilian targets. Like, dozens of them.
- That the government was overtaxed and vulnerable was just the spark, really. The tensions had been there for decades.
The Phoenician Fleet
It's hilariously overstretched right now. That will change in a few years, when the reconstruction of the northern ranges is complete and the moonyard is finished, but right now resources are pretty scarce.
Military ships are labeled with a Phoenician Naval Vessel prefix, a dash, a two letter code denoting hull model, a two digit issue number, a dash, and a suffix for role (combat or auxiliary).
- Location: 0405
- Planets: 7 (three inner, four gas giants)
- Population: 1 billion.
- TL: 4
- Government: Parliamentary democracy.
- Description: The northern continent is inhabited through an area roughly the size of Russia, bounded on the north, west and southwest by mountains and on the east and southeast by an inland sea. There are small mining camps scattered across the continent. The southern continents were colonized much less intensively and failed after the Scream.
The Norlight Impact Event
First, the impacts were from starships that apparently fell out of the sky roughly 8 centuries ago. These vessels are alien. Next, the area is badly overgrown and topsoil generation is high, so the wrecks are beneath the surface. The rebels excavated several failed finds that generated only scraps, but one of the largest craters had the back half of a cruiser in it. They spent a long time exploring and studying it, and collecting bio samples. Some of these samples came from the dead crew, but most of them were from the ship. The ship samples were still alive.
The ships themselves are not living beings, it appears, but they have significant organic components. Nick confirms that most of the core technology of the cruiser is essentially postech in capabilities, though some of it varies substantially in design from current Phoenician models. There's no sign of life support, however. He concludes that in addition to their other functions, the biotech must be processing air and water.
There were several sections that the rebels did not explore, and they began excavation of another site before abandoning the area. Several crew members died from native beasts, and the ship itself killed a couple of them before they disabled the security.
The impact site has a large crater remnant that contains the aft cruiser section, a scattering of small craters that aren't large enough to contain more than scrap (three have been excavated) and a significant crater east of the cruiser impact that was partially excavated but not explored. It may be a second ship, or perhaps the rest of the cruiser.
The Norlight Aliens
Several alien bodies were left behind and examined by the rebel expedition. They were humanoid, with solid black eyes and keeled, gray scales covering their bodies. They had longer than average canines and a series of barbs jutting out of their forearms that may have been venomous.
These aliens (informally deemed Norlighters) had small muzzles and were slightly shorter than human average. They preferred an environment that was very hot and that had dim, red light. Based on the wrecks so far excavated, the Norlighters had a very communal society with little regard for privacy or personal space. They may well have found constant, close physical contact psychologically stabilizing or desirable.
Their tech base was essentially postech, but they used a great deal of biotech as well. They grew neural networks to act as transmission lines and aid computing, modified alien scorpions to act as security features and maintained jaw-like structures that grew the ammo for their unique 'fang guns' and also grew venom for use in those guns and in melee weapons. These living systems also took the place of traditional life support, doing the work of atmospheric, water and waste recycling.
The Mandate classified the Norlighters as members of the Peleset, a grouping of several alien species that lived beyond Mandate borders and occasionally raided into both it and allied alien sectors.
- Location: 0404
- Planets: 5 (two inner, two gas giants, one dwarf)
- Population: 5 million.
- TL: 4
- Government: Parliamentary democracy.
- Description: The Tyrian colony is located on rolling plains on the eastern subcontinent, and is still developing local industry. They are an important market for Phoenician production, and most of the systems resources beyond the planets atmosphere have been acquired by orbital mining concerns.
- Location: 0305
- Planets: 4 (1 inner, two dwarf gas planets)
- Population: 30,000
- TL: 4 (dependent)
- Government: Colonial oversight.
- Description: The Sidonese colony is very new, and still directly ran by the Colonial Administrative Board. It receives frequent shipments of supplies and colonists, and cannot survive on its own currently. The planet is frigid and icy, with taiga near the tropics and ice elsewhere. The planned colony sites are situated on geologically active great lakes that vent heat into the surrounding area. The weather is temperamental and nearly always foggy. These hotspots are also incredibly rich in a variety of common and uncommon ores.
- Location: 0301
- Planets: 6 (2 inner, 4 gas giants)
- Population: 50,000
- TL: 2
- Government: Oligarchy
- Description: They live in a mobile, underwater city because the atmosphere is nightmarishly corrosive and invasive, and have fallen to T2 from the lack of psychics and interstellar goods. They keep the city running (sort of) with massive steamworks and tight social controls, and are pretty eager for outside trade. The warrior-leader caste is said to be flatly stronger, healthier and smarter than the average person, and they have some pretty impressive melee weapons cut from T5 scrap. The Phoenician Authority, in turn, is pretty interested in their pretech caches.
- Location: 0607
- Planets: 7 (five inner, two gas giants)
- Population: 500 million
- TL: 3
- Government: Presidential democracy
- Description: Delann is a T3 society, maybe 20 or so years ahead of our own. They have insystem ships, fission power, orbital mining and basic quantum computing, but they're scarce on the trace elements needed to manufacture spike drives, which is slowing their research in that area to a crawl. The Authority has them on limited quarantine; they're populous enough to pose a threat if they get to TL4, but they also have a fully functioning psychic academy, which Phoenicia lacks. You basically have to buy permits to go there, and trade is restricted to goods that can't lead to astronautic or weapon-related breakthroughs.
- Location: 0202
- Planets: 4 (two inner, two gas giants)
- Description: The second planet is temperate and has a thick atmosphere. The Norlighters collected mirror-bird feathers there as cargo and there were no intelligent species inhabiting the world. Nick recalls that Kazumi had dreams about the place, and that he thought there were humans there, but that hasn't been confirmed.
- Location: 0505
- Planets: 7 (5 inner, 2 gas giants)
- Population: ~3 million
- TL: 1
- Government: Independent Poleis.
- Description: The third planet is temperate and has a breathable atmosphere. The Norlighters encountered a primitive native population there and extracted a tribute of 'Koilian liqueur' from them. They did not record their appearance or many details about their culture.
- New Horizons salvaged a dying cruiser in the first gas giant, a ship that was doomed by a rogue psychic event.
- The moon above the inhabited planet contains the ruins of a Mandate comm relay, staffed by robots.
- The planet is populated by Bronze Age bat people, who have converted to Catholicism and lived with Mandate-era humans that died out just over a century ago. They have a Bat Pope.
- Location: 0702
- Planets: 9 (4 inner, 4 gas giants, 1 outer)
- Population: 1 million
- TL: 2
- Government: Tribal coalitions
- Description: The fourth planet is temperate to hot and has a breathable atmosphere. The Norlighters traded with native aliens there for various rare ores and an unidentified floating crystal. They used ancient ruins as landing sites and base camps.
- Location: 0101
- Description: Information found in the data core on board the Loaves and Fishes
Outside the technical information, there is quite a bit of information about the Restoration Catholic religious movement and their operations in the sector, including a secondary base at W0101.
- Location: 0608
- Description: Unknown - location found in rebel navigation logs.
- Location: 0706
- Description: Unknown - location found in rebel navigation logs.
- Star= Star System
- Black Line= Publicly Known Route
- Gray Line= Rebel Route
- Red Line= Nick's Secret Route
- Purple= Phoenician Authority Space
- Green= Trakkaran Territory
- Blue= Delann Space
- Orange= Koilian Territory
- W0508 and W0706 both have routes that lead to another sector, sector NM-1.
- W0101 has a route that leads to sector NP-1.