Stars Without Number: Back in Black
A campaign page for the Stars Without Number: Back in Black campaign, run by The Wyzard.
- 1 Adventurers
- 2 Companions Lost and Killed
- 3 The Ship and Vehicles
- 4 Loot and Salvage / Cargo Hold
- 5 Custom/Unique Items
- 6 Slush Fund & Assets
- 7 Lifestyle Costs
- 8 Maps
- 9 Important NPCs
- 10 The Setting
- 10.1 Personal Equipment
- 10.2 Money
- 10.3 History of the State
- 10.4 Tech Levels and Psychic Powers in this Campaign
- 10.5 Spacer Culture
- 10.6 The Academe
- 10.7 Language & Culture
- 10.8 Known Alien Races
- 10.9 Common Starship Models
- 11 List of systems in the State
- 12 Malediction Sector
- 13 List of Systems in Malediction sector
- 13.1 Hades 77
- 13.2 Oneiros Beta
- 13.3 Ulysses Upsilon
- 13.4 Tyson Strange
- 13.5 Auspicious Enterprises
- 13.6 Minion School
- 14 House Rules
- 14.1 Characters & Character Generation
- 14.2 Character Advancement
- 14.3 Year 1 Tech Advances
- 14.4 Year 2 Tech Advances
- 14.5 Weaponry
- 14.6 Swarms
- 14.7 Madness & The Black House
- 14.8 Talk Show Rules
- 14.9 Trade
- 14.10 Minion School
- 14.11 Custom Spaceships
- 14.12 Dungeon Search Rules
- 15 Style Guide
- 16 Thread Index
- 17 References
- 18 Outstanding Issues and Plot Threads by Character
Carlos Danger AC 0, 43/43
Dr. Eris Delan AC 0 (or 2 or 7), HP: 28/33, PP: 28/28
Orlando Hermanez Ruis AC 0 (or 3), 42/42
Yevgeny Kerchenko AC 0 (or 6), HP: 51/51
Lieutenant Banks AC 3, 19/19, salary of 3000 credits/month, assigned to Pilot's Station
Ensign Alejandro Huertas AC, HP 8/8, assigned to Decks Station (male, Acacian)
Spacer Francisco Illan AC , HP 6/6, assigned to Decks Station (male, Acacian)
Spacer Kiril Litvak AC, HP 6/6, assigned to Comms Station (male, Chowald)
Spacer Nina Pancorbo AC , HP 8/8, assigned to Gunnery Station (female, Acacian)
Spacer Arthur Davies AC , HP 6/6, assigned to Engineering Station (male, Kadakian) [deceased]
Companions Lost and Killed
The Ship and Vehicles
Far Scout - Trendsetter
|Captain: Cha or Wis/Leadership||0||0||-1||0||2||-1||-1|
|Captain: Cha or Wis/Tactics||2||0||-1||0||2||-1||-1|
Loot and Salvage / Cargo Hold
- Lucky Break Cargo Bay 60 tons max / 60 tons available
- Trendsetter Cargo Bay 80 tons max / 80 tons available
- Happy Accident (5 tons)
- The Doomstaff (taken away by Reynard, no longer available for team use).
- Prince's Amulet (functions as Deflector Array, in Ship's Stores)
- Captain's Cutlass sword. +2 to hit, base 2d6+2 damage, glows, and doesn't seem to require recharging. It also ignores the armor rating of objects which are not immune to non-gunnery scale weapons. It further has a kind of "jet" function, which isn't strong enough to deal damage or be of use in an environment with gravity, but would let you navigate zero-g environments without something to push off from. (wielded by Carlos)
- A limited nanofabricator, low TL5. It can produce, given the base elements required, pretty much any TL3 or lower object that will fit within a one-meter cube. It's bulky and takes a lot of power, but it's manageable. It can reproduce some, but not all, TL4 objects. Essentially anything that requires power or fine mechanisms to function, or highly chemically complex medicines. It can make things like TL4 rope and backpacks, armored undersuits and combat field uniforms, etc. You could make monoblades with it, but not mag or laser weapons. It takes a few hours to complete a cycle. The Church apparently never used it, being afraid they'd break it. They did use it to make nuclear warheads.
- The Tome is a big book with a pre-scream wikipedia in it. It has lots and lots of information, is nearly indestructible, self-powered, with audio and visual capabilities. It has an expert system to help navigate it, but not a true AI.
- Field Emitter Panoply (worn by Eris)
- Grav Harness
- Vortex Cannon
Slush Fund & Assets
- 380,000 credits in the slush fund | AE shares
- Workshop installed in office space in Tenebrous station
- Secure work and living space at the Black House, and warehouse space at the Abaddon spaceport
- Auspicious Enterprises, Corporate HQ 10 on Thalassa
- 2,600 credits per month starting in May (3,000 with anagathics)
- The Sky Tomb
- Chittik Asteroid Base
- Legend for Chittik Asteroid Base map
- Map of Tyson Strange continent (aka Thalassa)
- Map of Village Glattfelden battle, OOC post of battle rules
- System Admiral Hanshaw, Tenebrous
- Station Governor Icinglass, Tenebrous
- King-Elect Tanaka, Tenebrous IV
- Planetary Governor Venedictov, Tenebrous IV
- Archivist Fenicks, The Black House
- Alkaylee, Orion Broadcasting Network, Nyx Cluster
- MP Windham, State Parliament, Nyx Cluster
- Professor Haley Telestrum, Corsican Federation of Futurists, anti-Academe, met on Nyx Cluster
- Dr. Dumont, anti-AI, met on Nyx Cluster, apparently lives on Corsica
- Dr. Kazaki Valhalla, Academe contact
- Forest, female "spook" in Nyx Cluster
- The "Grad" Students, actually highly paid professionals on Thalassa
- Ekaterina, princess of Acacia on Thalassa, now on Abaddon at The Black House
- Mad King Zakhar of Acacia
Characters begin with a compad suitable for adventuring. It has the following capabilities:
- Everything that a cutting edge iPhone or Android phone will do, plus much greater capacity in terms of battery life (a week of heavy use) and memory (all of it.) Like those, it is essentially a tiny computer. If you're on-board the ship or close to it, you can easily share data between the two.
- The camera has decent zoom and at least HD quality, and you can take 3d photos of smaller things so long as you're willing to manually pan the camera around the thing until your phone tells you it's had enough.
- It can tell you if the atmosphere has enough oxygen, and will chirp if that changes. This is not a foolproof way to tell if an atmosphere is safe or not. It will detect carbon monoxide and probably anything that is actually corrosive, but atmospheres can be toxic and still have oxygen, at it isn't sensitive enough to pick up, say, small amounts of nerve gas...essentially, it's not a substitute for real science equipment.
- It will give you barometric readings, temperature, humidity, a smoke alarm, etc..
- It will warn you if there's unsafe levels of radiation.
- It is shock resistant and waterproof.
- It has a transponder function that will let your friends find you, if you're still in a condition to turn it on. If you have a comm server, it can be set to give you the direction and approximate distance to the server.
- It will automatically link up to any planetary or space station communication network.
- If there isn't a planetary network, it can still let you talk to your friends like a walkie-talkie. If your crew has a comm server, the range gets much longer so long as you are within range of it. A comm server is considered sufficient to let you talk to your ship while it is in orbit, so long as you have LOS.
- You can receive messages from your ship if you have LOS, even if you don't have a server and can't talk back.
- If your ship has done even a basic survey of the planet and downloaded localize data into your pad, it can usually function as an altimeter, compass, etc., and perhaps a GPS.
- I assume that if something can be done with an app (like using the camera flash as a flashlight) then you probably have that installed.
Armor and weapons have social implications, and you should consider what you're carrying around with you.
- In general, armor is frowned upon more than weapons. Weapons might be worn to dissuade people from attacking you or for self-defense. People who are wearing armor are more likely to be assumed to be looking for trouble. You can get away with an armored undersuit almost anywhere outside of the most civilized places, and even there it's not a problem unless you're going someplace that will have weapon detectors set up (banks, spaceports, government buildings.)
- Space stations are almost always a little rowdy, and you can usually get away with a sidearm and an armored undersuit, even if it's obvious you're wearing it. Many places will disallow pistols but allow swords, so monoswords are actually a very popular weapon with spacers
- Pistols may be carried openly or concealed based on local custom. I assume PCs with guns have appropriate concealable and non-concealable holsters for them. Long-arms or SMGs are almost never carried openly. Having one "to hand," such as in a rack on an ATV, is just fine on more rustic planets. Actually carrying it around with you will make you look militarized in a way that's likely to make people uncomfortable.
Electronic banking is common within the more civilized systems. However, there is no easy way to transmit financial information between systems. It must be carried by ships using spike drives. Because the mail-ships might take weeks to reach from one end of the State to the other, this isn't practical for anything less than major operations. As a result, physical credit chips are the most common currency. They are released by the central bank in the Nyx cluster, and are in common circulation everywhere that spacers go. They may or may not be accepted on the surface of any given world, and moneychangers at the space ports or stations may charge rates that are more or less ruinous. They come in many denominations, and so a character can potentially carry a LOT of credits. Of course, flashing around a handful of the 100,000 credit chips is a good way to get marked for robbery.
You might think of a credit as being worth five or ten modern US dollars. Yes, skilled spacers are VERY highly paid. A ship can be easily worth millions of credits, and it takes one bad jump for an unskilled Navigator to blow the whole thing up. Also, a spacer is typically not working every day. They work a week while the ship jumps from one system to the next, and then they're off for a week while it loads, unloads, etc.
History of the State
A long time ago, the Terran Mandate ruled a civilization vast beyond comprehension. They had legions of master psychics, impossible science, and Jump Gates that could throw a ship scores of light years in an instant.
Then The Scream came. A psychic shockwave echoed from one end of the galaxy to the other, and it killed the vast majority of psychics (of every sapient species.) It also wrecked the Jump Gates, not that they could have been operated without the Master Teleportationists anyway, and burned out most of the Spike Drives as well.
Whole worlds starved, descended into savagery, or were destroyed. The network of trade and communication collapsed. Without the guidance and expertise of the Psychic Authority, many worlds lost the capacity to reliably train those with psychic talent, and they were left unable to use their abilities safely or reliably.
Centuries passed. Much was forgotten. The location of Lost Terra is unknown. In the midst of the sleeping wreckage of the empire, a spark of light has risen again. A century ago, a highly advanced cluster of worlds known as the Nyx Federation rediscovered Spike Drive technology. Their Primus was a woman who is either brilliantly forward-thinking or merely psychotically ambitious, depending on who you ask. The Primus bent the strength of her whole civilization to regaining mastery over the wilds of space. They found other human colonies that had survived, and using their technological advantages they soon crafted a sort of hegemony, or federation. With the discovery of a long-dead psychic academy, they reconstructed the training regimens that allowed psychics to use their powers without dying or going mad. There is now a healthy and buzzing psychic academy, reconstituted fifty years ago and with growing enrollment every year.
The Nyx Cluster has now become the core of what is referred to as the State. Thirteen systems claim membership, with a varying number of worlds or colonies within each system. For those human colonies that are rediscovered, joining the State is nominally optional, but so far no one has refused too bitterly.
The great ships of years past are still unattainable. But the Nyx Cluster can churn out fighter and frigate-class vessels equipped with spike drives, and they are plentiful enough. A few of the more powerful worlds have a cruiser or three, and Nyx itself has a single Battleship which is widely considered invincible. Not that there is any great need so far for military vessels; no alien powers have been encountered that can stand up to a Human expeditionary force, even if it does only consist of a few cruisers and a double handful of frigates.
The State exists on a model far different from that of the Terran Mandate. Where the Mandate required control and centralization, the State is quietly fearful of a second Scream. No one knows what caused the first, and the risk of a second cannot be assessed. Every system is required to either be self-sufficient in the absence of spike drives, or to be working toward that goal. This requires at a minimum the agricultural capacity to support its population and the ability to manufacture and maintain in-system vessels that could serve any asteroid bases or similar.
There is only a single functioning psi-academy, the Black House. At unbelievable expense, the State is slowly equipping it with psi-shielding that might allow the teachers and students that reside there to survive a second Scream.
The term 'The Black House' actually refers to both the artificial world it is built on and the academy itself. The academy itself is "merely" the size of a large university, and is dominated by a central building that is like a cross between a medieval cathedral and Angkor Wat. The artificial world is a ring approximately three million kilometers in diameter, with an inner surface approximately two thousand kilometers wide. High walls at the edges keep the atmosphere in, and the rotation of the ring provides a normal day-night cycle and 1G worth of centripetal force. The habitable inner area has a surface area approximately 40 times that of Earth, with a normal mix of land and ocean area. However, it does not have tides.
The Black House could not possibly be constructed by State technology, and there is a healthy debate about whether even the Terran Mandate could have built it. The expert consensus is 'no.' It is assumed to be a pre-human relic. It is currently open for colonization, as the human population now consists solely of the Black House and its surrounding community, probably less than two hundred thousand people.
Tech Levels and Psychic Powers in this Campaign
I am setting the game "earlier" in the process of galactic re-conquest than the Stars Without Number default. Pretech items are very rarely available for sale. At the current time, there are NO planets able to manufacture much in the way of Pretech equipment. In some cases this is because the necessary infrastructure and knowledge-base has not been rebuilt, in other cases it is because the manufacture of Pretech requires certain specialized Psychic disciplines. The following is a brief introduction to what you should expect. Please note that some worlds may have either specialties or deficiencies, and so some worlds may have specific areas where they are better or worse than the baseline of their tech level. Nyx's anti-aging services, for example, are substantially more advanced than would be available in a standard TL4 world, and approach TL5 technology.
- Tech Level 0 is approximately neolithic. This is pretty rare for human civilizations, because almost any colony that manages not to go extinct will at least retain the knowledge to work metal.
- Tech Level 1 is medieval-ish. This is substantially more common than neolithic worlds, and there are worlds in the State that are still essentially at the level of Imperial China. Worlds like this can usually scrum up enough wealth to import T4 goods for the very wealthiest, and of course they can send their psychics to The Black House. This means that they may very well have an Immortal Emperor (anti-aging drugs) with a cadre of sorcerous viziers (trained psychics.) It is also not entirely unusual for them to still have access to recorded knowledge far above their tech level, or to have access to bio-engineered crops that make farming much easier.
- Tech Level 2 worlds almost always have full knowledge and awareness that they came from the stars, even if the Scream originally knocked them down to TL0 or 1 and they had to claw their way back up. TL2 worlds have technology ranging from the very best of the ancient world or Renaissance to an upper limit comparable to the US in the 1950s, although of course culturally they could run the full range of human history, and beyond.
- Tech Level 3 worlds are pretty similar to the modern day, give or take a few decades. TL3+ indicates there are a few areas where they have substantial knowledge and understanding in at least a few fields, enough that they can provide goods and services at that level. Also, they typically do manage to import a fair amount of TL4 goods, at great expense, of course.
- Tech Level 4 worlds are signified by having access to fusion power and spike drives, which are the signature achievements of this level of tech. Also, most of the technology you can find in a Cyberpunk 2020 or Shadowrun book is at least theoretically possible here (although since this isn't actually a cyberpunk milieu, some of it is inappropriate and it isn't really intended as a focus, anyway.) The only system in the State that is a true, full-blown Tech 4 society is the Nyx Cluster.
- Tech Level 5 is pre-scream technology. TL5 Technology requires incredibly sophisticated techniques and often materials that have properties not available in normal matter. This paramatter or exotic matter must be crafted by psychics using disciplines lost to the Scream. There are a VERY few items of pretech than be manufactured in limited quantities in the Nyx cluster, but actually finding it for sale is difficult. More likely, TL5 items must be recovered and restored to working order. Even that requires jury-rigged tools, as the equipment to work on TL5 equipment has also usually been lost. The upper edge of TL5 equipment are the lost and destroyed Jump Gates that made the vast size of the Terran Mandate possible.
- Tech Level 6 is crazy bullshit. The Orbital ring that The Black House is built on is TL6. Human civilization even before the scream only ever made a few TL6 items, and never in mass quantities.
Any PC with a spare Culture/0 slot might well consider spending it on Spacer, since spacers are the people you will have lots of contact with. There are spacers everywhere in civilization, since civilization by definition consists of the places spacers can get to. Spacers deny that there is any such thing as spacer culture. This is because spacer culture is often more about things and spaces than about [whatever people think culture is 'about'], because spacer culture is "just a common-sense reaction to living in space, not anything about mythology or rituals or taboos," and because denying that their culture is really a culture is a thing that people like to do.
Spacer culture is transmitted through, and takes its name from, the Spacer's Bible. This is a document that dates back to the Terran days, and has been expanded upon with commentary (and commentary to the commentary) over the centuries since then. The definitive edition pre-scream was known as the Little Blue Book, and it often was possessed in the form of an actual book with pages. It is now an app that is kept on the compad of almost anyone that spends much time outside of a planetary surface.
The Spacer's Bible is full of charts and useful data about how to maintain a vacc suit, how much oxygen a person needs in a given period of time and how long it will take them to deplete a given number of cubic feet of atmosphere. It has introductions to how pay should be calculated for different crew members and how votes should be conducted. It defines the standard division of duties on a vessel. It gives standardized answers to every kind of practical question, so that everyone knows the hand signals you use if comms go out, and how to secure lines if someone has to go out for a spacewalk across the hull. Even if you do not have any medical training yourself, the Spacer's Bible will give you a quick practical rundown on what a radiation leak will do for you, at least in terms of how quickly it will kill you.
It also has many practical pieces of advice and wisdom about how to conduct yourself aboard a ship. Spacer culture, and the spacer bible, was developed by people who had a lot in common with sailors and roughnecks. It is ruggedly practical and designed to function in times of high stress and pressure. It is intended to function as a lingua franca for people who might come from very different backgrounds.
Spacer Culture has as many tenets and practices as any other culture, but the following are major strains that run through it.
- Spacer culture comes from an acknowledgment that the lives of everyone on a ship depend on each other, and also that people in potentially tight quarters such as a ship or a station must get along.
- Spacers are egalitarian, but elitist. People on a ship can be divided between Crew and Passengers. Crew are spacers and are useful. Passengers are not spacers and should ideally be in cold sleep. Harassment or (non-playful) insult of either passengers or crew on the basis of almost anything other than proven competence and usefulness is a dreadful breach of etiquette. You don't want to insult the religion of someone you may be stuck in a can with for the next month.
- Hygiene is a matter of serious concern. Spacers typically shave their heads for hygiene reasons, including women. Men may have their facial hair permanently removed for the same reasons. Some spacers (again, men and women) may keep wigs so that they don't stand out so much when they go planetside. All serious spacers have a small hygiene kit, and know how to maintain hygiene when there is limited water available.
- Spacer culture is very much concerned with things and spaces. A spacer knows how to use and interpret the signals that differentiate between public and private goods and areas, when to speak to someone and when to come back later. In tight quarters, spacers will usually converse shoulder-to-shoulder rather than face-to-face. A spacer knows the rules for using airlocks and vacc suits, regardless of whether they have any technical skills that let them actually understand those things.
- Spacers can be as boisterous and frivolous as anyone else when planetside or when in a truly huge space station. But when on a vessel, spacers will be quiet and at least nominally sober. Yelling across a space vessel without a good reason is a breach of etiquette. The typical starship crew will be equipped with earpieces linked to their compads that let them communicate across the ship.
- A vast pay differential between the highest-ranked person on a ship and the lowest qualified spacer is extraordinarily unusual. Of course, apprentice/unqualified swabbie types might be paid almost nothing but room, board, and training.
- A spacer is expected to be able to keep their chin up and a stiff upper lip.
- Spacers would not have thought Ripley was being a bitch for trying to enforce quarantine procedures.
- Spacers know how to stow their things. Spacers do not wear clothing with no space for tools. Spacers do not like clutter, things must be secured in the proper place when not in use.
- Spacers consider it acceptable for crew members to be asked informally to segregate themselves from each other.
Spacer's Package body modification
The Academe is sort of a meta-university. It's a research rather than teaching institution, but it's research is practical in many ways, rather than theoretical. So, it can also be seen as a kind of think tank. People who are already accomplished in their field might apply or be invited to join the academe; or they might start being groomed for membership and pushed toward accomplishments. The central advancement mechanism of the academe is original research. That is, you have to go out and do something, and you have to write up a good solid report on it. And you need to learn new things to put in your report. The whole point is to add to the sum total of human knowledge.
Unfortunately, humanity is not always ready for all this knowledge. So, this research is often not published externally. The Academe sits on lots of information, and they dole it out when they think it's time for people to know it. They are currently engaged in a huge drive to regain pre-scream levels of technology, and so most of their findings on that subject (for example) are released publicly. However, they also need to make sure that any recovered artifacts don't fall into greedy and selfish hands that won't share them. So they keep a tight lid on leads to locations of pre-scream tech, for example.
There are times that this is vitally important. For example, the Golden Empire is jealous of advanced psychic training techniques. They really don't like it that the State steals away their best young psychics and gives them a better life that isn't under the thumb of the Emperor. So, if you manage to get down there and kidnap away young psychics, you definitely want to hide where you did it! Otherwise the Golden Empire might do things like hold their family hostage and torture them to get them to return. So, it is important for people doing practical research into psychic recruitment techniques to carefully document what techniques worked and what did not, and then to keep that information from becoming public knowledge (just as an example.)
The best way to get into the Academe is to make inroads with people who are professors of it, and get some leads on topics to investigate. If your "research" is good, you'll gain status and be asked to join, or at least gain status and maybe another mission or two to prove yourself.
Learning more about the Academe would make a great leveling Research Project. It's surprisingly shadowy despite being an academic organization.
Please don't get the impression that they own education, either! The Black House is pretty closely married to the Academe, but every other field of study is primarily managed via normal planetary university systems or corporate research or whatever. The Academe is a (relatively) small organization that sort of sits on top of everything else.
What you need to do in order to make inroads in the Academe is find a full professor who is willing to take you on as a student assistant, and then bring that person information and stuff. You can actually bring the whole party in as a research group, although they'd technically be interdisciplinary. The major barrier to being taken seriously as a full grad student is that you need to have at least one appropriate skill at 3, and some associated skills at 1 and 2. I don't want to come up with a complete list of what skills are acceptable, but no class is barred from joining just because they don't want to waste points on out-of-class skills. For Warriors, the most common way in is a combo of Tactics & Leadership. Experts have scads of options, Psychics are somewhere between the two.
Language & Culture
- All PCs receive at least two languages at generation. English, a second language of their choice (One of these two should be the most common language on their world of origin), a number of languages equal to their intelligence bonus, and the most common language of any world for which they have at least Culture 0.
- Superior maintenance of written records and standard reference works has done a lot to stave off the worst of linguistic drift, although of course there are dialects everywhere. For this reason, most languages in wide use are the very close descendants of modern languages. Also, it's much more fun to have characters using languages we know than it is to make up a dozen with no pre-existing cultural connotation for the players. Because it's fun, we'll also assume that at least some cultural traces of Earth cultures survive in those civilizations that have inherited their languages.
- The languages most common in the State cluster are: Mandarin, English, Hindustani, Spanish, Russian, Arabic, Japanese, French, Afrikaans. There are also a few worlds with their own offshoot languages.
Known Alien Races
The map of the state that you guys have is not a complete sector map.* There are a number of other star systems known to the State, but the locations of those other worlds and especially the charts to get to them are not made public.
My rule on sectors is that they are sort of self-contained areas of metadimensional space. As I've mentioned before, you can drill from any system in a sector to any other system within range, if you're willing to make the roll to try and navigate it. However, sectors only connect to other sectors at defined points. The State's sector has connections to six other sectors, but Tenebrous is the only connecting system that is publicly available. That is, the other systems that you could use to jump off to another sector are all classified. Part of this is to firewall off contact with alien civilizations until humanity is in a stronger position.
There are two known alien civilizations that could present a problem. One is sort of "northwest" on the sector map (Reynard can't get jump routes or anything) and is apparently a machine civilization. They're non-communicative but probably hegemonic. They have technology that's probably about equivalent to human tech, but don't seem to deploy it as well. They aren't well-understood, but every now and again some of their seed-ships come through and try to colonize the quarantine system, and the State burns them out. It's a holding action. Attempts to explore their space have not gone well, and nobody in the government or the navy wants to pour more resources into the problem unless they have to. They're code-named Daedalus.
The other civilization is toward the "east." They're actually a warlike alien civilization, at a low TL4. There's effectively a secret cold war going on, with both sides trying to puff up, seem stronger than they are, and show off their best tech. The average citizen in their civilization knows of the State's existence. The average citizen of the State is kept deliberately in the dark about their existence. They're code-named Jotun.
Eris Delan research into Chittik Vessels (outdated, for historical reference only)
Chittik Interrogation on Thalassa
Common Starship Models
The following are some of the workhorse starship models of the State. The first generation craft were fairly experimental, as humanity was rebuilding its knowledge of how to scratch-build starships. As time has gone by, the innovators (The Reef and Nyx) have developed 2nd and later third generation craft. None of these hulls were configurable, the craft were built with all systems integral and later might be subject to some difficult and expensive modification.
Humanity is now in the middle of the third generation of starships, and the new development is configurable hulls. These are the by-the-book craft, where you buy a hull and can install anything you like in it. Most navies and corporations do not have access to the new craft yet. They're flying the standard models or something close to them. Note that only one of these vessels has any TL5 components. There are only two Eris-class deep space cruisers in existence.
- Set, 1st-generation Fighter
- Speed 4, Armor 4, 7 HP, 1 Crew, 5 AC.
- Sandthrower, Atmospheric Configuration
- Horus, 2nd-generation Fighter
- Speed 4, Armor 5, 8HP, 1 Crew, 5 AC.
- Spike Drive 2, Sandthrower
- Osiris, 3rd-Generation Interceptor Fighter
- Speed 5, Armor 5, 8HP, 1 Crew, 4 AC.
- Spike Drive 2, Reaper Battery
- Huginn, 1st-Generation Shuttle
- Speed 1, Armor 0, 10HP, 1/16 Crew, 9 AC.
- Extended Life Support, Extended Stores, Atmospheric Configuration
- Muninn, 2nd-Generation Shuttle
- Speed 2, Armor 0, 12HP, 1/20 Crew, 9 AC.
- Extended Life Support, Fuel Bunkers, Spike Drive 2, 2 tons cargo space, atmospheric configuration.
- Kali, 1st-Generation Militarized Frigate
- Speed 2, Armor 2, HP 16, Crew 1/6, 7 AC.
- Atmospheric Configuration, Sandthrower x 2, Fuel Bunkers, Extended Stores
- Hermes, 1st-Generation Non-Militarized Frigate
- Speed 2, Armor 0, HP 12, Crew 1/4, 8 AC.
- Atmospheric Configuration, Fuel Bunkers, Extended Stores, Ship's Locker, 100 Tons Cargo Space
- Ares, 2nd-Generation Militarized Frigate
- Speed 3, Armor 4, HP 20, Crew 5/20, 7 AC.
- Atmospheric Configuration, Sandthrower x2, Fuel Bunkers, Spike Drive 2, Armory
- Odysseus, 2nd-Generation Non-Militarized Frigate
- Speed 2, Armor 1, HP 16, Crew 1/6, 7 AC.
- Atmospheric Configuration, Fuel Bunkers, Extended Stores, Ship's Locker, 100 Tons Cargo Space, Spike Drive 2, Advanced Nav Computer.
- Koschei, 3rd-Generation Militarized Frigate
- Speed 2, Armor 10, HP 40, Crew 10/40, 7 AC.
- Plasma Beam, Reaper Battery x2, Spike Drive 2, Atmospheric Configuration, Armory, Fuel Bunkers, 40 tons cargo space.
- Edmund Fitzgerald, 3rd-Generation Non-Militarized Frigate
- Speed 3, Armor 2, HP 20, Crew 1/6, 6 AC.
- Atmospheric Configuration, Fuel Bunkers, Ship's Locker, Armory, 160 Tons Cargo Space, Spike Drive 3, Advanced Nav Computer.
- Fenris, 3rd Generation Militarized Cruiser
- Speed 1, Armor 15, HP 60, Crew 50/200, 6 AC.
- Spike Drive 3, Armory, Ship's Locker, Workshops, Fuel Bunkers X3, Spike Inversion Projector, Plasma Beam x2, Flak Emitter Battery x3, Ship's Bay (Typically contains a shuttle), Extended Stores.
- Eris, 3rd Generation Deep Space Explorer
- Speed 1, Armor 15, HP 60, Crew 50/200, 6 AC.
- Spike Drive 3, Armory, Ship's Locker, Fighter Bay (typically contains a shuttle), Workshop, Hydroponics, Fuel Bunkers x3, Precognitive Nav Chamber, Emissions Dampers, Survey Sensor Array, Cargo Lighter, 400 Tons Cargo Space, Charged Particle Caster x3, Sandthrower
- Inanna, 3rd Generation Colonization Vessel
- Speed 1, Armor 10, HP 50, Crew 50/3050, 7 AC.
- Hydroponics, Advanced Nav Computer, Cargo Lighter, Drop Pod, Fighter Bay (Usually carries a shuttle), Spike Drive 3, Extended Med Bay, Fuel Bunkers x2, Fuel Scoops, Ship's Locker, Workshops, Cold Sleep Pods, 3000 tons cargo space.
- Odin, 3rd Generation Battleship (Unique.)
- Speed 0, Armor 20, HP 100, Crew 200/1000, 4 AC.
- Spike Drive 3, Hydroponics, Fuel Bunkers x2, Ship's Bay: Frigate (Typically carries an Edmund-Fitzgerald class non-militarized frigate), Armory, Ship's Locker, Workshops, Hardened Polyceramic Overlay, Lightning Charge Mantle, Spike Inversion Projector, 2x Charged Particle Caster, Spinal Beam Cannon, Plasma Beam, 4000 tons cargo space.
List of systems in the State
You may assume there are thoroughly charted drill routes between each adjacent system.
While not a star system, this is the most convenient place to list the State's current military assets.
- Battleships: Odin.
- Cruisers: 2 Militarized, 2 non-militarized
- Frigates: 8 Militarized, 6 non-militarized
- Shuttles: 15
- Fighters: 15
- Nyx Cluster 04.04
- Golden Empire 04.02
- Wolf -- SWN 05.04
- Anumati 03.04
- Abaddon 05.03
- Corsica 03.02
- Inari 02.05
- The Reef 04.03
- Sisters 03.05
- Towers 07.04
- Blue Heaven 06.05
- Gabriel -- SWN 06.03
- Tenebrous -- SWN 06.06
The Nyx Cluster is the center of the State. In practical terms it is capitol of a loose federation of the known human worlds, and has hegemonic influence over some of them. The precise demarcation between the State and the government of the Cluster is not entirely well-defined, a source of frustration for the systems that have been strong-armed into it. It is referred to as a "cluster" because it has so many inhabited worlds, all with a single central government. The Cluster contains two Earth-like worlds, a dozen major moons, and probably a score of large asteroid colonies and space stations, with a large population of humans and a double handful of AIs. It is by far the most wealthy and powerful system in the State, and it is relentlessly attempting to regain the ability to manufacture pretech goods.
The Nyx Cluster is the most solidly TL4 civilization in the State, and they use this to maintain their influence. They are capable of producing drugs and treatments that reverse the aging process. A seventy-year-old member of the political or economic elite can be rejuvenated to a biological age of 30. The cost for this treatment tends to be phenomenally high - and usually payable in favors and influence as well as more mundane currency. It is administrated, in fact, by a branch of the government, and is not normally available on the market.
- Coordinates: 04.04
- Government: Constitutional Republic
- Laws & Restrictions: Possession of personal weapons requires a license; armed starships must dock at spaceports rather than planetside. Slavery is outlawed, indenture is restricted.
- Population: 8B
- Languages: English, French
- Technology: TL4, specialization in medical and anti-aging.
- World Tags:
- Fleets: 1 Militarized Cruisers, 2 non-militarized cruisers, 4 militarized frigates, 5 non-militarized frigates. 10 non-militarized shuttles, 10 fighters. Nyx has full NIFP protection and is fully equipped with space stations. Their ships are usually third-generation.
- Supply & Demand: Medical -2, Military -1, Luxury +1, Pretech +2.
- Goods: 1. Postech Housewares. 2. Postech Medical Supplies. 3. Small Arms, Energy. 4. Drugs, Recreational. 5. Parts, Postech Industry. 6. Parts, Starship Maintenance. 7. Tools, Medical Equipment. 8. Tools, Astronautic. 9. Tools, Industrial. 10. Clothing.
- Trouble: As per cosmopolitan worlds.
- Friction: 4
- Notes: Pretech goods are nearly unavailable for purchase. The Nyx government will pay handsomely for recovered pretech artifacts. Nyx is the primary source of anagathics, and their Dethanatonic clinic is capable of actually reversing the aging process (at phenomenal expense in some combination of money and favors.)
The Golden Empire is a system of only one inhabited world, mostly TL1. It imports higher TL equipment whenever it can sneak them past customs, and ruthlessly keeps it under Imperial control. Aesthetically the world of the Empire is similar to Medieval China, and seems to have based its post-scream and collapse culture on those records purposefully. Mandarin is the most common language (although the educated elite also learn English.)
The Golden Empire is an exceptionally fertile world which managed to retain numerous genetically engineered crops through the Silence. Even with only primitive farming techniques it produces a large surplus. It manages a few valuable exotic agricultural products, and also attempts to trade in slaves (although the State does its best to stamp this out.) Further, the Empire produces an unusually high number of psychics for its population (for which there is no apparent explanation), although they are by no means numerous.
The State is currently attempting a Prometheus Project on the world, which has been partially successful. The Emperor cooperated and allowed it to continue, until he had sufficient TL2 capacity to tighten his grip, and then began to stonewall the project. He has been resisting all further efforts to spread greater technology, because he fears it will end his rule. He doesn't dare have open military conflict with the agents of the State, but there is currently a heavy shadow war and layers of intrigue between the Emperor, the various nobles, and the NGOs administering the Prometheus Project.
Trade to and from the Golden Empire is not discouraged, per se, but cargo will be inspected thoroughly both coming and going. The State maintains a geosynchronous space station with a beanstalk lifter. Atmospheric craft are NOT allowed to land on the planet. All persons and cargo must go through customs at both the top and bottom of the beanstalk, and they are deadly serious about what you may or may not take with you.
The State thus has tacitly interdicted the Empire. They will not allow the Empire to gain any spaceflight technology, or full membership in the community of worlds, until they take on a less tyrannical form of government (Ideally, a puppet emperor. Is that less tyrannical, really? The State thinks it probably would be.) They also have nuclear-equipped gravity rods on the station, and can obliterate the Golden Empire with button-pushes whenever they want to. However, the loss of life resulting from the ensuing crisis of instability would kill millions. The Emperor, the Nobles, and the State are all aware of these facts. It's really only a question of how much blood will be shed in the process of civilizing this world.
The Emperor himself is allowed a single unarmed shuttle equipped with a Spike drive, but refuses to submit himself or his diplomats to State Customs via the Beanstalk. For that reason, it sits unused on the station.
- Coordinates: 04.02
- Government: Tyrannical Empire, with meritocratic bureaucracy
- Laws & Restrictions: State-imposed embargo on technology in or out. Planetary society is tyranny, whether anything is illegal or not depends entirely on the sufferance of the empire. Expect any goods above TL1 to be seized, with or without compensation.
- Population: 30M
- Languages: Mandarin, English
- Technology: 28M TL1, 2M TL2.
- Fleets: 1 Non-militarized shuttle. 1 Geosynchronous station with beanstalk that terminates near Imperial Capital, space-side customs controlled by the State. No NIFP protection, no extraplanetary facilities.
- Supply & Demand: -2 Agricultural, -1 Sapient, +1 Postech, +2 Military.
- Goods: 1. Slaves. 2. Clothing. 3. Livestock, Common. 4. Livestock, Gengineered. 5. Metawheat. 6. Housewares, Basic. 7. Metal Ingots, Common. 8. Native Artwork. 9. Tools, Basic Hand Tools. 10. Pretech Junk (!).
- Trouble: As per Tyrannical Worlds.
- Friction: 5.
- Notes: Trade is heavily restricted. Have a plan, friction can be modified downward and price substantially upward with the application of Adventure.
Wolf is a TL3+ world that is part of the influential "core" of the State. Their heavy industrial capacity reaches TL4 in some areas, although their ability to manufacture TL4 goods in other areas is limited. Outside of construction and starships, their technology is TL3 (and even for Starships, they tend to import rather than manufacture the electronics and computer equipment.) The most common language here is descended from English and is barely recognizable, but it is so heavily dialected that outsiders cannot understand it without Culture/Wolf 0. It had heavy crossbreeding with some of the norse and germanic languages common here before the Scream, and they all intermingled during the long Silence. The natives are almost universally able to communicate in standard English as well. There are also a few areas of the planet where Russian is dominant.
Wolf is a slightly colder world than Earth-normal, but plentifully fertile for its inhabitants (the world is considered fully colonized, but only about two billion people live there. They like their space.) There are also substantial colonies elsewhere in the system. Wolf is a highly rational and clear-headed society, even if the people there do tend toward melancholy and contemplation of moral and philosophical dilemmas. There are heavy strains of Norse, Scandinavian, Germanic, and Russian culture running through it. They are not expansionist or militaristic, precisely, but they do believe in self-defense. They can manufacture vehicles of up to Frigate class easily with their own shipyards, and can manufacture Cruisers with difficulty.
- Coordinates: 05.04
- Government: Scandinavian Social Welfare, Mix of Parliament & Direct Democracy, Vestigial Monarchy.
- Laws & Restrictions: Personal weapons require licenses which are easily available. Armed ships are allowed on-planet at the discretion of the authorities.
- Population: 2B
- Languages: Wolf Dialect, Russian, English
- Technology: 1.5 TL3, .5B TL4, Prometheus project due to end in two years, specialty is heavy industry.
- Fleets: 1 Militarized Cruiser, 2 Militarized Frigates, 5 Non-Militarized Frigates, 8 non-militarized shuttles, 8 fighters. 2 Beanstalk-equipped geosynchronous stations for full planetary defense, full NIFP protection. Numerous asteroid and other extraplanetary bases. Wolf has mostly 2nd-generation craft, but is beginning to manufacture 3rd-generation and configurable hulls.
- Supply & Demand: -2 Survival, -1 Astronautic, +1 Consumer, +2 Mineral.
- Goods: 1. Colonial Materials 2. Colonial Supplies 3. Fusion Plants 4. Postech Building Material 5. Parts, Starship Maintenance 6. Tools, Astronautic 7. Tools, Industrial. 8. Small Arms, Projectile 9. Small Arms, Energy Weapons 10. Metawheat.
- Trouble: As per industrial worlds.
- Friction: 3
- Notes: Home of Spacekea prefab colony kits. There are several specific items purchasable here that are not available anywhere else.
- Spacekea Black Box Fusion Core. 50,000cr to purchase, takes up twenty tons. This requires its own building to be set up in, but is ruggedized and completely enclosed. It can be maintained by natives if they can read, and requires only water as a power supply. Gives enough electrical power for 5,000 homes or one factory. Does not come with its own electrical grid.
- Spacekea Prefab Villa: Takes up 10 tons of cargo space, costs 50,000cr, and includes its own integral fusion power supply. Constructs a habitation and small workspace for 25 people. Rated to last for over a century if properly maintained. Includes hydroponics for scrubbing atmosphere and water, but not for food.
- Spacekea Prefab Manor: Takes up 30 tons of cargo space, costs 150,000cr, and includes all amenities and features of the above Villa. Constructs a generous habitation and workspace for 50 people. The manor is lightly fortified, and it comes complete with tools, supplies, survival and exploration gear, rugged housewares, fabrication equipment equivalent to a workshop, a small armory and basic medical facilities.
- Nuke Snuffers, Slingshot Scout Vehicles, Rimworlder rifles, all per the Suns of Gold book.
- Larger prefab colony facilities are available through special order, including prefabricated spaceports.
Anumati a system focused around a single world. Anumati has slightly more surface area covered by water and its continents broken up into much smaller pieces. There are around a dozen landmasses in the size range between Greenland and Australia, and none larger. The common language is Hindustani. Their world is slightly warmer than Earth normal and is subject to occasional severe storms, but no major tectonic upheaval. The system has a wealth of asteroids with rare elements in them, and Anumati is therefore unusually wealthy. There are probably three billion inhabitants in the system.
Anumati is TL3+. They have excellent ability to manufacture personal and computer goods, and also medicine. Essentially, the cyberpunk package. However, their heavy industry and starship manufacturing capability lags behind. They can manufacture fighter and shuttle hulls on the surface, but must import spike drive parts and cannot build frigates or orbital facilities with any ease. They have a space station and a large fleet of in-system craft, but cannot sustain much in the way of interplanetary ambitions with a paltry fleet of five frigates (purchased and negotiated from other worlds.)
Anumati bristles at its lack of capacity, but doesn't have a strongly unified government. The megacorporations that rule it are unwilling to unite in common interest and continually squabble and make underhanded attacks on each other. The State is somewhat reliant on this state of affairs to maintain Nyx supremacy.
Anumati is also home to the Merpeople - victims of Mandate-era genetic engineering who were redesigned to survive underwater. There are enough of them to stay healthy and avoid inbreeding, but the rigors of spaceflight are difficult for them to survive and so they are bound to this world.
- Coordinates: 03.04
- Government: Corporatocracy
- Laws & Restrictions: Almost anything is legal so long as you buy an expensive license. Be aware of differing megacorporate jurisdictions.
- Population: 1B + 10M Merpeople.
- Languages: Hindustani
- Technology: .6B TL4, .4B TL3. Specialty is personal electronics and cybernetics.
- Fleets: 2 Militarized Frigates (1st and 2nd Generation.) 10 Shuttles (1st & 2nd Generation), 8 Fighters (1st Generation.) No 3rd-generation craft. 2 Beanstalk-equipped geosynchronous stations (neither exceptionally good, but they have them), and full NIFP protection.
- Supply & Demand: -2 Consumer, -1 Medical, +1 Postech +2 Astronautic
- Goods: 1. Cybernetics. 2. Housewares, Postech. 3. Medical Supplies, Postech. 4. Tools, Postech Medical. 5. Small Arms, Projectile. 6. Recreational Drugs. 7. Metal Ingots, Rare Alloys. 8. Exotic Jewels. 9. Entertainments, postech. 10. Clothing.
- Trouble: As per Savage World.
- Friction: 4 for outsiders.
- Notes: Ruled by corrupt megacorporations, who are not overly fond of competition. Anumati cyberclinics will do cybernetic implantation and similar procedures at half price, including a number of procedures that are illegal or unavailable elsewhere. Medical tourism is not uncommon. There are rumors of merchants that deal in sapients, although this is close enough to Nyx that the business stays underground.
- Cybernetics are a new good not listed in Suns of Gold. They are TL4 to manufacture. They cost 50,000cr per unit, and have the types of Postech, Medical, and Biotech.
- Entertainments are an adjunct to housewares, and specifically mean personal electronics, music, movies, TV series, toys and games, etc. They will typically have a tech level equal to the society that creates them. Postech Entertainments cost 10,000cr per unit, and have the types of Cultural, Consumer, and Postech.
Abaddon contains a dozen utterly lifeless and uninhabitable worlds that contain the ruins of human or other civilizations, and the Black House. Probably all of humanity in the entire State together could move to the Black House and live there comfortably, but there is a bit of superstitious dread regarding the system. Probably because no one has any clear idea of what rendered all those worlds uninhabitable. The State, for reasons of its own, has been pushing a colonization attempt on The Black House, with mixed success. There are a few tens of thousands here, but little more. The lifeless worlds and asteroid fields provide many opportunities for mining, the vast landscapes of the Black House contains unlimited space for agricultural projects. But people simply do not want to live here.
There are currently rumblings in the State government to consider dotting the landscape of The Black House with penal colonies, or settlements for political dissidents. The Nyx Cluster's relatively tolerant democratic government doesn't feel the need to persecute its own dissidents, but if the lesser civilizations in the State feel the need to do so, then why not turn a problem into an opportunity?
Every common language is in common usage here, and English is the universal tongue. Classes at the Academy are taught in English, and if a new student arrives who does not speak it, they are taught in short order. Psi education is available up to Level 6 disciplines. Some characters have knowledge and power in excess of that, but they are rare and their abilities secret. They are usually simply referred to as The Masters, and their precise identities are concealed. The students do not know which of the teachers have attained the rank of Master. Allegedly, all of them are in cahoots with the State's intelligence apparatus.
Abaddon does not have its own government beyond the purely local (which is dominated by the academics.) It has non-trivial planetary defense capability, but generally no more than a couple frigates in the system. It has very little manufacturing (a black eye considering the State's emphasis on self-sufficiency) and by itself would probably quickly drop to a TL1 status. However, its close connection to Nyx and sponsorship by the State means that TL4 goods and equipment are available there.
There are currently no more than a few hundred students studying at the Black House. The supply of psychics in the State is extremely limited.
- Coordinates: 05.03
- Government: Geniocracy (Psychics)
- Laws & Restrictions: Personal sidearms are allowed. Traffic control is relatively strict, persons attempting to approach the Black House must have a valid reason for doing so.
- Population: 30k, 500 Psychics.
- Languages: Officially English, all languages spoken to some extent.
- Technology: TL4, some TL5 Psitech, unsustainable.
- Fleets: 1 Militarized Frigate (3rd generation), 5 non-militarized shuttles (2nd Generation.) No station, spaceport is a bit ad-hoc other than serious landing control. There are planetary defense weapons, and full NIFP protection.
- Supply & Demand: ???
- Goods: ???
- Trouble: ???
- Friction: 5. For your group, adjusted down to 3.
- Notes: ???
This was one of the first systems recontacted by the Nyx Cluster after they regained Spike Drive technology. Corsica had a strong intellectual culture and a number of Corsican thinkers and politicians became very influential in the burgeoning State. For that reason, Corsica has influence well above the range of its actual power. It is currently agitating for a space station and other facilities, which the State does not wish to provide at the moment for budgetary reasons, and which no one on the private market is able to.
Corsica is considered very tourist-friendly, and is certainly able to market itself that way. It is probably the most popular travel destination in the State for the kind of people who are able to travel for pleasure. It also has very little restriction in the way of customs, and people are generally allowed to bring any TL4 goods they would like.
- Coordinates: 03.02
- Government: Social Democracy, Parliamentary System, very populist.
- Laws & Restrictions: No weapons allowed, all other goods are fine. Armed vessels must use a special restricted spaceport. Strong tradition of intellectual freedom. Will actually arrest people for "crimes against humanity" committed off-planet.
- Population: 500M
- Languages: French, Spanish Dialect
- Technology: .5B TL3
- Fleets: 1 Non-Militarized Frigate (3rd Generation), 5 non-militarized shuttles (2nd Generation), 10 militarized fighters (1st Generation.) Full NIFP protection. A few extraplanetary facilities, but no real station.
- Supply & Demand: -2 Cultural, -1 Livestock, +1 Consumer, +2 Postech
- Goods: 1. Clothing. 2. Fine Liquor. 3. Small Arms, Projectile. 4. Metawheat. 5. Native Artwork. 6. Livestock, Common. 7. Parts, Basic Industry. 8. Postech Building Material. 9. Tools, Basic Hand. 10. Housewares, Basic.
- Trouble: As per Cosmopolitan World.
- Friction: 2
- Notes: Corsica is an incredibly easy place to do business, and they'd like to see more of it. Unfortunately, they're in kind of a backwater. They are seriously interested in anyone that can open up a trade route to rumored worlds out beyond their system.
Inari is a TL3 world with a specialty in agricultural products, and a population of one hundred million. The common language is Japanese, and there is an unusually strong Buddhist tradition in several areas of the planet, despite the secularizing influence of contact with spacefaring civilizations. They were roughly at the height of 1950s-era technology when Contacted, and are now beginning the slow crawl toward TL4 capacity. There is a lively debate in the planetary government about what area (if any) of TL4 technology they should concentrate on developing first.
Inari is most interesting for its wildly varied biosphere, and the current belief is that it was seeded with life from many different worlds as part of some Mandate-era experiment (or accident?) Even now, Inari has an unusual reliance on domesticated wildlife and a highly sophisticated agricultural system built on dozens of exotic plant and animal products.
They don't seem terrifically excited about expansion in and of itself, and are actually slightly insular. Their primary motivation to bootstrap up is so that they cannot be pushed around, which has produced some conflict in the State as to whether they should be allowed to be insular.
- Coordinates: 02.05
- Government: Constitutional Theocracy.
- Laws & Restrictions: Weapons are disfavored and must be justified. Violence is heavily restricted. Planet is effectively an enforced vegetarian state, do not attempt to import meat.
- Population: 100M
- Languages: Japanese
- Technology: 98M TL3, 2M TL4.
- Fleets: 5 non-militarized shuttles, 2nd Generation. Full NIFP Protection. No stations.
- Supply & Demand: -2 Agricultural, -1 Livestock, +1 Medical, +2 Mineral.
- Goods: 1. Laughing Buddha Hydroponic Farms. 2. Livestock, Gengineered. 3. Livestock, Luxury Pets. 4. Metawheat. 5. Native Artwork. 6. Fine Liquor. 7. Parts, Basic Industry. 8. Postech Building Material. 9. Clothing. 10. Tools, basic hand tools.
- Trouble: As per agricultural world.
- Friction: 3
- Notes: The animals bred here are for byproducts only. They get really serious if people start selling animals for meat.
- There is one TL4 good that Inari makes, and they make the best in the State. They can produce unparalleled hydroponics systems.
- The Laughing Buddha Modular Hydroponic Farm weighs 10 tons when packed for transport, and costs 50,000cr. It includes four modules, each of which requires roughly half of a barn worth of space when put together. Each module is enough to feed 75 people once it is running continuously. Setup requires the addition of a great deal of water and biomass, which should be easily available in most environments, and a continuous (but not necessarily high-intensity) power source. The hydroponics facility requires maintenance from someone with Tech/Medical or Science skills and access to the manual.
Some huge disaster befell this system before or after the Scream, and it was uninhabited when first discovered. It has no remaining planets, only vast fields of more or less huge asteroids and a few bodies that were formerly probably very large moons. The common language is English, and the appropriate culture skill is Spacer.
The Reef is the greatest colonization success story, and one of the first ones. The mining and heavy industrial opportunities here were top notch, and there were a few artifact habitations that were still partially intact. The system is now a network of hundreds of major habitations, up to the size of small cities, and countless smaller ones, all sustained by hydroponic technology and space industry.
As an almost entirely spacefaring society, the Reef is TL4 and has a substantial navy.
- Coordinates: 04.03
- Government: Local Town-Hall Democracy plus system-wide Cybersynacy, effectively a client state of Nyx.
- Laws & Restrictions: Weapons are restricted to shipboard-appropriate. Strong physical security measures.
- Population: 20M
- Languages: English plus others
- Technology: TL4
- Fleets: 1 Militarized Cruiser, 2 Non-Militarized Cruisers, 4 Militarized Frigates + 5 Non-Militarized frigates, 10 Shuttles, 15 Fighters. Mix of generations. Without any real planets there is little need for space stations per se. Copious docking bays and all other services are available here.
- Supply & Demand: -2 Astronautic, -1 Tool, +1 Agricultural, +2 Luxury
- Goods: 1. Fusion Plants. 2. Metal Ingots, Common. 3. Metal Ingots, Rare Alloys. 4. Tools, Astronautic. 5. Tools, Industrial. 6. Parts, Starship Maintenance. 7. Housewares, Postech. 8. Colonial Materials. 9. Clothing. 10. Parts, Basic Industry.
- Trouble: As per industrial world.
- Friction: 1/3
- Notes: Purchases are exceptionally easy here. Sales are by-the-book difficulty without local contacts.
This system contains the worlds of Antillia, Thoth, and Utu. All three are earthlike worlds with a TL of 0 or 1, depending on what part of the planet you land on. They tend to be plagued by voracious megafauna, which have never been successfully wiped out due to the large areas of wilderness. None have a unified planetary government, or even a body of governments. These three were clearly terraformed worlds, and their biospheres are simply not that old. As such, they lack the fossil fuels that would have allowed them to maintain or increase their tech levels without support. Each planet has at least one civilization that kept records and remembered. On each world, there were at least a few who had read the oldest books, and knew that their people had not come from there, and that there might be other humans out among the stars. On Antillia, the common language among the most educated is Spanish. On Thoth, it is Afrikaans. On Utu, it is Arabic. These were the languages that the oldest books had been written in. So, while they may have been dead languages at the time contact was re-established, they were quickly made use of. In all three cases this resulted in the most advanced culture on the planet being the point of contact with starfaring civlization, but since each world has something like a billion people on it, that isn't an overwhelmingly large contact to have.
The State is currently trying to slowly unify these worlds under a single government per planet, preferably one that is under State control, without having a humanitarian disaster or otherwise completely losing control of the situation.
This presents much different challenges to those of the Golden Empire. The Empire is unified, but has a powerful and cunning leadership who oppose the State's hegemony. The Sisters have no unification, but also no organized or unified opposition. It is largely a case of playing one faction against another faction of the same planet, but not doing so with such vigor that the grav tanks have to come out to prevent a crime against humanity. It's like walking a tightrope with a balancing pole occupied by angry cats.
Dealing with worlds such as these is stretching the resources of the State in a way that the Golden Empire doesn't, and the State presence in this system is arguably much too thin.
- Coordinates: 03.05
- Government: Various Primitive
- Laws & Restrictions: Purely local
- Population: 10M/10M/10M
- Languages: Spanish, Afrikaans, Arabic.
- Technology: 5M TL1, 5M TL0. That is the natural TL, no Prometheus Project has begun yet.
- Fleets: 2 1st-generation Non-Militarized Shuttles per world, total of 6.
- Supply & Demand: -2 Agriculture, -1 Livestock, +1 Tools, +2 Postech.
- Goods: 1. Clothing. 2. Drugs, Raw Materials. 3. Housewares, Basic. 4. Livestock, Common. 5. Metal Ingots, Common. 6. Metal Ingots, Rare Alloys. 7. Metawheat. 8. Native Artwork. 9. Slaves. 10. Tools, basic hand.
- Trouble: As per primitive world.
- Friction: 1d4+1 for each world, determined randomly the first time you visit.
- Notes: The economic character of the three worlds is pretty similar.
Towers is a black sheep in the community of worlds. They sit on the edge of the State and joined it reluctantly. They have a dozen frigates, all armed, but no cruisers, two geosynchronous stations with beanstalks that are in mediocre working order, and partial NIFP protection. They are actually only partially TL4, there are areas of the planet where TL4 goods and services are not yet commonly available. Psychics are illegal, and there are hotly contested covert programs to help psychics escape from this world. The most technologically advanced areas of Towers are actually the Hives, which are habitable megastructure arcologies. Millions of people can live in a single Hive. There are still wide ranges of the planet that contain imiscible plant and animal life, and there are constant efforts to drive those species extinct.
The dominant language is Russian. Towers has a strong interest in technological advancement, and will pay for alien or pretech artifacts if they are functional. Towers is not a particularly egalitarian place, and there are small groups of people with absolutely phenomenal wealth and power. There are probably more people here that individually own starships than anywhere else.
- Coordinates: 07.04
- Government: Nepotocracy
- Laws & Restrictions: Highly Repressive
- Population: 2B
- Languages: Russian
- Technology: .5B TL3, 1.5B TL4,
- Fleets: 5 Militarized Frigates (1st and 2nd generation.) 10 Non-Militarized Shuttles.
- Supply & Demand: -2 Military, -1 Low Tech, +1 Luxury, +2 Sapient
- Goods: 1. Clothing. 2. Metawheat. 3. Parts, Basic Industry. 4. Tools, Basic Hand Tools. 5. Small Arms, Energy Weapons. 6. Small Arms, Projectile Weapons. 7. Housewares, Basic. 8. Tools, Industrial. 9. Postech Building Material. 10. Tools, Astronautic.
- Trouble: As per decadent world.
- Friction: 5.
- Notes: Not really a safe place to do business at all. However, it deviates strongly from the State standard, and so it may be possible to purchase things here that are unavailable elsewhere...
- Balrog Laser Pistol: This is a bulky, inaccurate laser weapon preferred by thugs and degenerates all across Towers. It has a range of 50/100, deals 2d4 damage and takes two Type A energy cells. It has a magazine of 12 and is capable of burst fire. 600cr.
This is, in fact, a remarkably beautiful world. The Scream and the Silence hit it extremely hard, and it was apparently not fully colonized at the time. It has very slowly increased its population, civilization, and tech level on its own ever since hitting bottom. It is generally a low TL2 or high TL1. The locals can make antibiotics, steam engines, factories, telegraphs, and firearms, but internal combustion engines and radio are not universally available.
It's viewed as a sleepy backwater, and that is a fairly accurate impression. The two largest governments on the planet have each been given a pair of spike-drive equipped shuttles, and State personnel to maintain them. There are no space stations, but space ports exist in the sense that there are large clear areas near several major cities, with port authorities to count crates and write your name down on a list. Remarkably, there are no current trade restrictions. The governments here value a laissez-faire approach to things, and the State has largely respected this local practice. Blue Heaven is attempting to bootstrap itself up to TL3 without government intervention, by letting market actors hire outside experts and outside businesses set up on the planet. They are suspicious of the way the State provides training for Psychics, but willing to tolerate it since they don't have a better option.
Large areas of Blue Heaven have a wild west atmosphere, and visitors are encouraged to carry sidearms and wear suitably low-profile body armor (the armored undersuit is an incredibly popular accessory for visitors.) Merchants will usually find ready buyers for outside tech, especially of the long-lasting and easily maintained variety. The problem is that the locals do not usually deal in Credits, because they barely have any. The bigger problem is that finding anything from Blue Heaven that is worth selling somewhere else is an enormous challenge. The current fashion among speculators is to buy up large amounts of real estate, on the assumption that it will become worth more as the planet develops.
- Coordinates: 06.05
- Government: Minarchy
- Laws & Restrictions: Whatever.
- Population: 50M
- Languages: English, Mandarin
- Technology: 24M TL1, 26M TL2. Prometheus Project is at 1M per year.
- Fleets: 4 non-militarized shuttles, 1st Generation.
- Supply & Demand: -2 Agriculture, -1 Luxury, +1 Tools, +2 Military.
- Goods: 1. Drugs, Raw Materials. 2. Housewares, Basic. 3. Livestock, Common. 4. Metawheat. 5. Native Artwork. 6. Slaves. 7. Small Arms, Projectile Weapons. 8. Tools, Basic Hand Tools. 9. Fine Liquor. 10. Pretech Junk.
- Trouble: As per a savage world.
- Friction: 1
- Notes: It is basically a western movie every time you land here.
A system that roundly rejected standard naming conventions, the major inhabited planet is called Gabriel's Tear. It has an earthlike climate but is an ocean world, with only perhaps 20% of the land surface area of ancient Terra. The population is small, only half a billion people, many of which live in floating cities. Civilization here dropped to TL0 or 1 at some point during the Silence, and the silence-era civilizations built many huge monuments and monoliths during that time. They are considered cultural treasures and access to them is restricted. The system has a wealth of rare minerals, and the people take naturally to space mining, so it is considered a zone of substantial economic opportunity. Gabriel's Tear is currently TL3 with a major language of Afrikaans. The government has historically been a system of city-states, each one focused on one of the islands that make up the world's limited land-area. They have now created a sort of UN to handle extraplanetary affairs, but it is weak and the nations often compete with each other to undercut it. The State is slowly gaining more of a hold here by playing one nation against another. Three nations have currently been bribed with the use of spike-drive equipped shuttles.
- Coordinates: 06.03
- Government: Federation of democratic city-states, strongly technocratic.
- Laws & Restrictions: Varies by individual polity.
- Population: 30M
- Languages: Afrikaans, French, Arabic
- Technology: TL3
- Fleets: 6 non-militarized shuttles, 1st Generation.
This is the civilized jumping-off point into the PCs' claimed sector. The two primary points of interest are Tenebrous III and IV. Tenebrous IV is a massive Terran Mandate space station. It was long-dead when discovered, and all human life in the system had in fact apparently been extinguished in the aftermath of the Scream. People still occasionally find long-mummified bodies in out-of-the-way corners of the station. State engineers have it up and running again, although they don't entirely understand all of the pretech systems. The PCs have a lease on a landing bay and some light industrial/office space.
Tenebrous III is a planet with a burgeoning colony. The wreckage of the pre-scream settlements have been picked thoroughly clean. At this time there are five colonies scattered around the planet, essentially one in the most hospitable part of each continent. The science of terraforming is still badly understood, and this planet is considered a testing-ground for the field. Biologists are regularly introducing species that are more harmonious with human civilization, and attempting to manage the ecological destabilization that results from adding a few dozen invasive species.
Very much a wild-west atmosphere.
- Coordinates: 06.06
- Government: Elective Monarchy (temporary)
- Laws & Restrictions: Highly Libertarian
- Population: 100k
- Languages: Various. English is the official language of government and port control, Arabic is heavily represented planetside
- Technology: TL4, unsustainable.
- Fleets: None surviving. Currently occupied by rotating Naval detachment.
- Supply & Demand: -2 Agricultural, -1 Livestock, +1 Tools, +2 Postech
- Goods: 1. Clothing 2. Drugs, Raw Materials 3. Livestock, Common 4. Metal Ingots, Common, 5. Metal Ingots, Rare Alloys 6. Metawheat 7. Native Artwork 8. Tools, Basic Hand Tools 9. Housewares, Basic 10. Pretech Junk.
- Friction: 2
Stargazer, you happen to gain access to a junkyard for wrecked ships. Your scavenging instincts lead you to dig through their hard drives in case any data was left behind. You manage to find two uncorrupted drill routes. One goes from the Golden Empire (04.02) to an unknown system (06.01). OOC2-40
Pre-scream, there was a Mandate mecha base in a system called Shadowfax. The known drill route started out in Sisters (03.05) and went two hexes directly south (03.07). The facility was on the third planet out from the sun. There are no drill charts for this route. OOC2-125
Guild of Cartographers Map
Revised Sector Map
Notes: This map is made to conform to SWN's hex system. The routes are identical in terms of what points are accessible, but there may be times when the drill route is one hex longer or shorter. Use this map in all cases. A yellow dot indicates a single star. A red dot indicates a binary system. A blue dot indicates a trinary system. The black star in the upper right is a black hole. A ring indicates that there is a jumping-off point to a different sector. The ringed star system in 04.09 is Oneiros Beta, which has a drill route to the State sector.
List of Systems in Malediction sector
- INITIAL SYSTEM SCAN
- Central body is a red dwarf star.
- Orbital I is a terrestrial planet, .5g. Remote scan indicates breathable quantities of oxygen. Temperatures are human-compatible over most of the planet's surface; cold weather gear advised. 2 moons, neither remarkable.
- Orbital II is a black body, minimal heat signature, 500km across. Mass signature indicative of a hollow artificial structure.
- Orbital III is a relatively conventional artificial space station less than 1km in its widest dimension. No power signatures detected.
- Orbital IV is a system of 2 dwarf planets and 4 small unremarkable moons. IVa is low gravity, no atmosphere. IVb shows unexplained gravitational fluctuations, CO2 atmosphere.
- Orbital V is a terrestrial world. High tectonic instability. Atmosphere is high in sodium, likely highly toxic and corrosive. Temperatures are too high for compatibility with human life. No moons.
- Orbital VI is a system of two terrestrial planets and 5 unremarkable moons. Both medium gravity and CO2 based atmosphere. VIa appears mostly rocky; VIb shows signs of substantial water and likely organic life.
- Orbital VII is a white dwarf star.
It looks like in the relatively recent (in astronomical terms) history, the red dwarf captured a much smaller white dwarf into its outer orbits. This has eaten the outer planetoids and the gas giants, and also scattered a few smaller rocks through the system, and generally played hell with everything. The binary planetary systems are probably a result of things getting thrown out of their normal orbit; same with the high number of large natural satellites. Orbital V is a total hellworld; probably a result of eating a broken-up moon or otherwise huge amount of meteor strikes within the last thousand years or so.
It's midnight ship's time when you reach the station. It's dead, as nearly as you can tell, and with your sensor package and Graham on sensors, you should know if it wasn't. The shielding is good enough that you can't get an in-depth picture of the interior, but if anything at all is still running on-board, it would have to be both low-power and deep in the interior.
The station itself is huge by the standards of modern construction, a fat disk slightly over 700 meters across, and two hundred meters through the center. It must have been one of the greatest construction projects in the history of whatever world built it, because the quality of engineering and hull material is otherwise less than the current state of the art in Nyx and the Reef. There are eight internal frigate bays evenly spaced around the edge of the disk, all currently sealed. The remains of heavy weapons pods on the central dorsal and ventral areas says that this was a military installation of some kind, or at least militarized. Something wrecked them pretty thoroughly, though.
The killing blow is obvious, even from a safe-ish distance of a thousand kilometers away. Something punched clean through the center - in the ventral side and out the dorsal, at a slight pitch so the entry and exit holes are on opposite sides of the central axis. The hole is a good fifteen meters wide, and you're glad that whatever made it must have happened centuries ago, because you wouldn't want to meet it. There are other pits and scars across the surface of the station, but nothing that should have been terminal on its own.
You arbitrarily designate four of the frigate bays as the cardinal directions of North, South, East, and West for easier description of the base.
Oneiros Beta - Outer System
December 26th - 1100 Universal Clock Time The Lucky Break
The initial system scan takes about two hours. From what you can tell, there really isn't much in the outer part of the system. The various orbital bodies are all fairly close in.
The outermost object you can pick up is a gaseous planet, but not really all that large. Your sensors indicate it's mostly nitrogen, and probably has a gravity close to 1G.
In from that, and not very far out from the edges of where the nebula gets really dense, there's a terrestrial planet of roughly Earth-equivalent mass. You're even detecting an oxygen atmosphere. You suspect it's habitable, but it's also going to be very cold. You're going to want to wear a vacc suit or other cold weather gear, even if the atmosphere is breathable.
The next thing in from that is a massive field of ice asteroids ringing the very edge of the nebula. You'd guess that at least one truly enormous gas giant or multiple ice worlds had to be ripped apart to produce enough free mass for that. You shouldn't have trouble navigating it, but it is pretty big and there's some huge chunks of ice in there.
Rook spends a fair amount of time on the computer before completing her report. "I've located five additional planets inside the nebula. I'm working from raw gravity signatures, though, so I can't get much more information on them than their location and rough mass. No details on their composition or nature will be available without a closer look."
"From the closest to the binary outward, we have: One small world, a second small one, one that is very large and...quite high density, I'd say terrestrial, one that is roughly earth-equivalent, and a third small one. Next out from that is the ice field."
Black House contract re: Oneiros Beta
Within the next calendar year, the adventurers and the Black House will engage in a joint expedition to an alien colony that is within the bounds of the adventurers' sector claim map. In return for an introduction and guide services, and for the non-exclusive right to recruit psychic talent from the habitat (and with no other rights to economic exploitation), the Black House will provide the adventurers with a number of services.
One, transport for up to ten persons on the initial expedition, to and from, which may be expected to take at least three months. Two, an official report on any possibly-extant mecha facilities from the Mandate era, including any available navigation information. Three, up to two hundred hours of research by qualified researchers per year for the next five years (this means that you can ask for some grad students or a professor to find out about X topic, and they'll work on it. Results are likely to be dependent on a skill check by the NPC.) Four, secure work and living space at the Black House, and warehouse space at the spaceport, for the next ten years, with an option to renew for an additional ten year lease at 75% fair market value (FMV.)
The adventurers maintain rights to all salvage of Unconventional Technologies*, and are given a fee equal to 20% of the FMV of any such items removed from the habitat by the Black House or its agents, if they do obtain any items from the habitat or its inhabitants.
The contract is non-assignable and non-transferable. The expedition will begin from the Black House, and the adventurers are to send word through standard State courier services two weeks before they begin making their way to Abaddon to embark on their next expedition to Oneiros Beta. The adventurers are responsible for transporting any of their own chosen passengers (the technicians, essentially) to Abaddon, after which time they will become the responsibility of the Black House.
(*) This is an actual legal standard in the State. It includes basically anything that can't be reproduced and obtained on the market, so anything TL5 basically.
You find that Ulysses Upsilon has several rocky and icy planets, and one close-in asteroid belt less than an AU from the star. There are no gas giants. There is also one relatively terrestrial planet; you think that the atmosphere may have once been breathable. However, it's far out from its darkened star, and is now completely frozen. Drifts of crystallized oxygen now sit crusted over its surface.
Unusually... you can detect some activity in the system. There are at least a few radio beacons weakly pinging from here and there in the asteroid belt, and another one from the moon of that frozen terrestrial world. There's no indication they're Chittik. You can be almost certain it's human, since they're transmitting short repeating patterns in a 9-bit format that was standard in the Mandate era and still is in the State. You just can't make sense of the information. A bunch of seemingly random alphanumeric characters. They could be place designators, or they could be garbled, crappy data from systems that are about to fail from not having maintenance in a thousand years or so.
You are able to identify the sources of the radio signals as being ancient installations of some kind. The two asteroid bases were probably mining operations. The signal from the moon was almost certainly an orbital space station that has since crashed onto the surface, and somehow one of the beacons survived. You also identify some signs from the frozen world that there were habitats there, although since you aren't detecting any heat or energy, they are almost certainly long-dead. There's no way people could survive that kind of cold without a solid and sustainable technological base. You can be fairly certain you're the only living humans in this system.
0. The star is a yellow dwarf, very much like the Sol that Lost Terra orbited once upon a time.
1. The first orbital body is a thick nebular ring.
2. The second orbital body is a thick ice field.
3. The third orbital body is a small, stony dwarf planet.
4. The fourth orbital body is a very Earthlike world, but largely aquatic. You think there are only two smallish continents, on opposite sides of the planet from each other. There is a mix of radio signals from this world. Low-tech broadcasts, too muddled to get much from this far out.
5. The fifth planet out is also habitable. Chilly, probably, but you can tell the atmosphere is a breathable mix, and it's covered in vegetation. You can't detect any signs of inhabitation, though.
6. The sixth and seventh planets out are both very small gas giants, with gravity slightly less than 1g. The sixth one is almost pure hydrogen. Your fuel scoops could refuel in only half the time, or two days.
- The fourth planet has three moons. Two are rather small, the third one is close to as big as lost Luna. That last one has a LOT of wrecked starships on the dark side.
- You can spot the nuclear bomb sites pretty easily from orbit. There are a couple scattered islands around the southern continent that were used for tests. There are at least two cities in the interior of the continent that were nuked in anger. As of right now, though, you don't see any large mobilizations and would say that the planet is at peace.
- The continent has a pretty good number of coastal cities and interior cities. There are still broad swaths of back country, but it's definitely been settled for a while. You don't see much sea traffic more than sixty miles from the coast, though.
- The northern continent is pretty much completely unsettled. There are a few shacks and cabins near the coast, but you don't see any signs of serious occupation.
- Your impression of the local tech level was generally correct. Lots of counterculture radio broadcasts, not much from the establishment. Looking down, you can see a weak highway system and a well-developed rail system.
- You think the place is actually kind of metal-poor. There are a lot of minerals that they might not have enough of to really bootstrap themselves up past their current tech level. The mineral deposits at the northern continent are much richer and more accessible (it's a very mountainous region) but those aren't being exploited.
- You can make some kind of educated guesses at national boundaries, but you don't have enough data yet to make that information useful. The continent seems (broadly) to be divided up into four quadrants, with some kind of major interconnection in the rough center. There's heavy rail traffic, highway access, and some river access. It's not the most geographically convenient spot imaginable, though, so it's a bit curious as to why it would be placed there, other than the fact that it's the center of the continent...
Salvage on largest moon of fourth planet - The aren't even what you'd call hulks, anymore. They were cut apart or in some cases actually wrecked on the moon. There were definitely cruisers among them, but you don't see evidence of capital ships.
You can get 2d4x1000 tons of salvage...nice roll. There are 7,000 tons of salvage there. There is an even greater quantity of scrap, let's say ten times as much. Salvage is as per the rules I've given for salvage. Scrap is basically hull plating and stuff, it's equivalent to "Metal Ingots, Common" on the trade tables. (Notice that common metal ingots are 1,000 per unit, but they're Bulky, which means a unit is ten tons. Since salvage is 1d4x100 per ton, this means that the average load of salvage is worth 2.5 times the equivalent tonnage of scrap.)
Details on Thalassa
Link to post describing the different countries on Thalassa's main continent.
Link to post with details on the Church.
Link to post with details on the comparative military strength of the countries.
Link to post with details on unique Thalassan item: Bone-Jewel.
Link to post with details on the Thalassan graduate students.
Students with space flight experience:
- Inigo - 1 flight
- Amari - 1 flight
Thalassa exchange rates
For purposes of this campaign, we're going to say that one unit of Trade Metals breaks up into ten "coins," which might be a great big krugerrand, a couple little ones, a big gem, or a few smaller ones, etc. Saul is offering you 2,500 in local currency (Lucre) per unit of trade metals. You can alternately think of this as 250 lucre per "coin."
At this point, you've had enough of an opportunity to examine prices for goods in the local economy. For purposes of convenience, we're going to say that objects have a cost in lucre equivalent to modern-day real-world dollars. Items which are made primarily of metal cost 150% more, and may have shortcuts taken to reduce their metal content.
And, of course, it's 1950s technology. So, you can buy a good refrigerator for 1,000 lucre (that's about what I get when I google "refrigerator"), but it's going to be a nice refrigerator from the 1950s, not a nice refrigerator from 2014 Home Depot.
He can move four units of trade metals per week, or 40 coins. That's 10,000 lucre. If you continue to do business with him, the amount he can move per week will increase.
He's guaranteeing you get clean local currency, and that it won't be traced back to you.
Goods left on Thalassa
- 4 units industrial tools to build spaceport.
- 40 tons of material/equipment needed to build spaceport.
Thalassan Defense Force
Thalassan national militaries
Duchy of Dreswen
Nuclear Inhibition Field Projector (NIFP) distribution
- 1 for our spaceport
- 1 for the Holy City
- 2 for Kadak (one in capital city, other at their discretion)
- 2 for Chowald
- 1 for Jeriat
- 1 for Acacia
Thalassan Trade Goods
- bone jewels (Compact, Mineral, Luxury, 1 unit = 1/10th ton, 25k credits base price)
- Tlalix alcohol (Fine Liqueur trade good)
- Corporate Headquarters in New Augusta. This concrete structure is a level 5 corporate headquarters. 
- The Sawmill. The original headquarters have been turned into a corporate retreat and spa.
- The Spaceport.
You have a level 5 (upgrade) corporate headquarters, the central offices of which are referred to as "The Sawmill," although it's rather larger than the original sawmill now. You also have a lot of office space in Sommerset, and a some office space out at the spaceport, as well. Your factor is Saul, who is at +3 to Business, +2 to Culture/Criminal, and +2 to Steward.
- What you have in place with that holding:
- Ship Service Depot (3)
- Corp Security, Major (6)
- Production Center, Minor (Bone Jewels) (2)
- Prometheus Project, TL3 (2)
- Production Center, Major (concrete) (5)
- Production Center, Minor (electronics) (2)
- Production Center, Minor (Carbon Fiber) (2)
- Minion School: (3)
- 25/27 Holding Points.
This is at least self-supporting, and also gives you substantial local currency to play with. If you want to add more Holdings, you're going to need to upgrade your headquarters to Level 4 or higher. You estimate you could get as high as Level 5 before you were under untenable amounts of local scrutiny.
- Liquid Assets: 1.48 mil lucre.
- Material Assets:
- 20 units of Fine Liquor: 2 tons
- 10 units of fine, handmade clothing: 10 tons (This is like normal clothing, but add the luxury tag and give it a base price of 5k.)
- 20 units of native artwork. They've really given you the farm on this one. There's some pretty heavy stuff in here.
- They also intend to send along a pair of cultural experts/salesmen, who will be able to properly explain the provenance of the goods and assist in gaining a good price for them. 20 tons.
The Prometheus Project is self-supporting, and continues in effect every year so long as you keep the holding points devoted to it. The total number of people uplifted doubles each year. I think this in-game year (Year 1) you have about 20,000 people at TL3, and it will double next in-game year to 40,000. And on from there.
- Two Scarab class frigates
- 237 rail guns
- 40 students:
- 20 Jerians
- 10 Kadakians
- 10 Church-folk
Characters & Character Generation
- After first level, characters gain double hit points.
- New PCs start out one level below the lowest-level PC who has gained at least one level in the course of play.
- Hit Points: I reroll a character's entire pool of hit points each time they level. You take the new result if it is higher. If the new result is equal or lower to your current result, you instead gain one hit point.
- A character may reroll their entire pool of hit dice by spending one week on vacation, doing nothing of note (including travel!) In this case, the new result must be taken even if it is worse.
- Characters gain XP mostly by making money as adventurers. Every 5 credits worth of loot, salvage, valuable data, etc. that the PCs take back to civilization and sell is worth one XP. XP is pooled and divided between the characters evenly (excepting that Rook receives only half a share.)
- As noted in the recruitment thread, characters gain double skill points on leveling. Please note the separation between class and non-class skills!
- When a character gains a level and spends skill points, they must deal with the training time and cost. They should consult the table in the character advancement chapter, and add together the training cost for all skills they are training. Spend this amount. For every five hundred credits so spent, training takes one week. Training must be done at a venue where training of that type and level is available. When leveling, players should post their advancement plans and I'll inform them of any skills that will require time at different venues.
- While training, players can specify one skill they are raising to 1 or higher to use for a research project. This is a skill roll that can be rerolled using an Expert's unique power, to determine things like useful information, lost/proprietary drill routes, blackmail material on NPC's, etcetera. The GM always has the right to veto a project and request that you pick another one.
Year 1 Tech Advances
The following personal equipment is now available, at five times the book price. These items can only be purchased in Nyx, except for the Psitech items, which can only be purchased at the Black House.
- Grav Harness
- Grav Chute (TL5, the TL4 version was already available)
- Mind Blade
- Telekinetic Sling
- Thunder Gun
Year 2 Tech Advances
New items that are now available at 5x base price:
- Shear Rifle (but lacks burst fire capability)
- Metafocal Grenade
- Vacc Skin
- Inertial Shunt Nodes, Gecko Gravity Anchors, Level Two Direct Interfaces (See Polychrome, these are available only on Anumati, and Anumati's cyberware discount does not apply.)
Now available to private purchases at 2x base price:
- Naval Courier (Skyward Steel)
- Bulk Freighter (I have special rules for these, inquire if necessary)
- Bannerjee Model 12 (Skyward Steel/Banerjee Construction Solutions)
- Peerless (Bannerjee Construction Solutions)
New Custom Ship Upgrades:
- Generation 4 Life Support System: This increases the base life support duration for a ship to 4 weeks (or one month) from two weeks. The cost is 20,000 credits x the maximum crew rating of the ship. It's a pure upgrade resulting from more advanced technology, and costs no mass or power. It does add to the total cost of the vessel for purposes of determining maintenance costs.
- Weapons are -2 to hit against armor that is higher TL. Weapons are +2 against armor that is 1 TL lower, and usually ignore armor that is 2 or more Tech Levels lower.
- Spike Throwers are intended as assault weapons, to take out unprepared enemies in confined spaces. Note their very poor range. Additionally, they perform poorly against armor. When attacking any vehicle with an Armor rating, they deal only half damage. Damage is halved after applying armor.
- Void Carbines are intended to allow assaults on spacecraft, so that the crew can be killed while leaving the spacecraft intact. They rip vacc suits like the Suit Ripper on page 35. They are considered suspect weaponry, but are not a capital offense if a person is otherwise authorized to be armed.
- Mag pistols and mag rifles are the signature military technologies of humanity. They tend to mitigate the effects of cover. They subtract 2 from the armor rating of anything that can be damaged by non-gunnery scale weaponry (and that's at TL4, they may ignore the armor rating of objects below TL4.) They usually overpenetrate through hard cover, and penalties to attack targets behind cover are lessened unless the cover is extremely tough, if the attacker has a means of accurately determining the location of the enemy.
- Grenades are a topic of some concern for player characters, for obvious reasons (Hint: It's because player characters like to blow things up.)
- Each Readied grenade takes up 1 encumbrance by itself.
- Grenades deal 2d6 damage.
- When stowed, grenades can be carried in packages. A package of grenades contains 3, so you can get three stowed grenades into one package for one encumbrance. However, it takes one round to remove the grenades from the package in addition to the round to un-stow them.
- Under no circumstances can grenades or grenade launchers be carried through civilization without repercussions.
- Grenade Launchers can be equipped along with an appropriately modified firearm. They use combat/gunnery.
- A grenade launcher adds one encumbrance to the encumbrance value of a longarm.
- Thrown grenades and grenade launcher grenades are not interchangeable. You must specify which one you are carrying.
- They fire rounds which arm at 20 meters, and will not explode until they have flown at least that far (but beware ricochets...) and are pretty much direct-fire weapons with 50/150 meter ranges. Unlike thrown grenades, these detonate on impact rather than on a timer! The actual projectile can be fired out to 400 meters by arcing it, but they're wildly inaccurate at this range. I suppose under some circumstances you could find a use for that, but it wouldn't be any good for trying to pick off a specific enemy or group of enemies.
- Underslung grenade launchers have an internal magazine of three grenades.
- Launched grenades, unlike regular grenades, are loaded with high explosive warheads. They ignore the Armor of and can damage soft-skinned vehicles such as passenger cars. This is yet another reason you cannot use them anywhere outside of a war-zone.
- Also unlike thrown grenades, launched grenades deviate by 1d20 meters. Yes, they can bounce back at you.
- Using them inside a space ship may also be a bad idea. Just a thought.
- They're actually pretty expensive. You guys have enough money that it won't be an issue, though. If we haven't added an Armory to the ship then we will at the next opportunity, and that will cover it.
- Total of six encumbrance, two of which is carried readied (the sprayer-rifle) and four of which you can carry stowed (the fuel/pressure tanks.) You can carry extra tanks if you want. The flamethrower has an 80 meter range, with no range penalty. It can be used to attack small groups of enemies that are at least slightly cohesive, say up to six at once. Make one roll to-hit, a successful attack strikes all of them. Flamethrowers are uniquely able to have their fire bounced off walls or sprayed through apertures; in many circumstances the user of a flamethrower will be able to avoid the penalties from cover or even strike enemies who are fully under cover.
- The flamethrower will deal 1d8 damage on the first successful hit, and the opponents will thereafter take 1d4 damage at the end of their next two subsequent actions. Further, any targeted group of enemies must immediately save versus fear (mental effect save) when attacked with a flamethrower or retreat via the best means available. Enemy forces who are attacked with flamethrowers may receive a -1 to their morale for any morale checks made during the battle. Flamethrowers can get ten shots per tank.
- They can also be used to set buildings alight.
- 5,000 credits for the flamethrower, 100 credits for additional fuel tanks.
Melee & Ranged Weapons
- Longarms are the weapon of choice for most large-scale infantry actions, but other weapons have their uses. Specifically, melee weapons have an advantage in melee combat.
- Longarms cannot be fired into a melee without the risk of hitting the wrong target. If you are in melee with no other allies, and are attempting to fire a longarm at opponents who are in melee with you, you must take a penalty of -2 to hit, and opponents will receive +2 to hit you. On second and subsequent rounds of attempting to use a longarm in melee, you will automatically lose initiative.
- Pistols can be fired into a melee safely if the pistol-wielder is part of the melee. They do not receive a penalty to hit, but melee-armed enemies will receive a +2 bonus to hit the pistol-wielder.
- Some pistols are designed to be concealed. They will usually have less range and ammunition capacity, but in return can be hidden beneath normal clothing. Costs are the same as for the larger version. Some worlds allow open carry but not concealed carry; Culture/Traveler 0 and access to a planetary data network will be sufficient to forewarn PCs who think to ask the GM what the local weapon laws are. For double cost, these weapons will defeat TL3 security scans and can only be found with a pat-down search. Even then, the dedicated PC might find ways of hiding them.
- Concealable Mag Pistols have a four round ammunition capacity and a range of 20/40.
- Concealable Laser Pistols have a seven round ammunition capacity and a range of 50/100.
- Concealable Thermal Pistols have a four round ammunition capacity and a range of 15/30.
- Sniper Rifles
- Laser Sniper Rifle: +1 to hit, 2d10 damage, add your combat/energy skill to your damage rating if you take at least one round to aim. Range 2000/4000. Has an enormous scope with low-light capability. Gets 5 shots from a Type A power cell. 4 Encumbrance, takes two rounds to fold from a briefcase-sized case out to the firing configuration, or one round to fold back. Fires from a bipod mount.
- Railgun: 3d8 damage, add your combat/projectile skill to your damage rating if you take at least one round to aim. Range 1500/3000. Enormous scope with low-light capability. 3 round magazine. 5 encumbrance, takes two rounds to fold out from a briefcase-sized case out to firing configuration, or one round to fold back. Fires from a bipod mount. Loud.
- Swarms are a mechanical way to represent fights with very large groups of enemies.
- A swarm's Strength is equal to the number of creatures in the swarm.
- A swarm's HP is equal to the average HP of a member of the swarm.
- A swarm's other stats, such as AC, Movement Rate, saving Throws, et cetera, remain the same.
- An attack that deals less damage than the swarm's HP has no effect
- An attack that deals damage equal to or greater than the swarm's HP reduces its strength by 1. Some weapons listed below can reduce strength by more than one per attack. For each multiple of the swarm's HP, Strength is reduced by one, up to the limit of that weapon.
- Bursts of automatic fire can reduce strength by up to 3.
- Area effect weapons deal double damage and do not have an upper limit on the amount of Strength they can remove, so long as in the referee's judgment the area could include that many creatures. Reductions to damage from a successful save (The Swarm only makes a single save) or from having a low AC (as in the case of grenades) is applied before doubling.
- Suppressive fire weapons deal double damage instead of half damage, and have no limit on how much they can reduce enemy Strength. If the swarm is under hard cover, they can make a save as normal.
- PCs with combat/primitive or combat/unarmed, who are using those skills, may make a number of melee or unarmed attacks equal to their skill rating +1 if the swarm is in melee with them, and they are using that type of attack.
- A group of enemies must have Strength at least double the number of PCs to be considered a swarm. They only make one attack per PC (Ranged or melee, as appropriate.) However, for every full multiple of the PCs number their strength is (double, triple, quadruple...) the swarm's attacks gain +1 to hit and damage.
- A swarm with Strength equal to at least four times the number of PCs may deal 1d4 damage (with no bonus) to PCs who are in powered armor or the equivalent, even if their weapons would normally not be able to affect an opponent in that type of armor. This still requires a successful to-hit roll.
Madness & The Black House
I don't really like the way that the base rules absolutely fry someone for using psychic powers untrained. So, instead, I'm ruling that untrained use of psychic powers accumulates Madness. If you're careful, you can get away with it for a while. A lot of incoming students do; they may have been using their abilities in secret for a time before the agents picked them up. It's a lot less of a problem than it used to be, but it still happens.
A great deal of what happens in the first year or two of Psychic training is attempting to undo the accumulated Madness of the worst cases, or at least help the students to deal with it. The education of psychics tends to be heavy on history, culture and religion for exactly this reason; many students take comfort in mysticism (although its discouraged if it becomes excessive.)
They also often are given pets to take care of. It's therapeutic. The Black House gets weird some times.
Talk Show Rules
Okay, these are going to be the rules for the talk show.
As always, creativity is rewarded. Also, these are going to be subject to what is going on in the fiction, and the results may be tilted or reinterpreted in that light.
You need to be able to make a decent presentation of yourself. This can be seen as basically a wardrobe check. You can use an appropriate skill (Leadership, Business, Any Culture/World* skill if you are going to dress like a person from that world), modified by Wisdom, to dress like a person who belongs on television. If you hit at least a difficulty seven, you manage to present yourself appropriately. If you fail the check, you will receive a -1 to every check you make until you succeed at a check.
If you hit at least a twelve, you will gain a +1 to any one check you make during the show. You must declare you are using this bonus beforehand.
Rounds and Players
There will be three rounds, each representing about a half hour of air time. During each round, three members of the party and three NPCs may take an action. The three NPCs are Alkaylee and two expert commentators. No PC may act two rounds in a row; therefore each player character will act twice. Rook acts as part of your group and will also act twice. You can kibbitz as much as you want in the OOC thread, because Delan's telepathy will allow you to coordinate your actions.
The following actions are available. Other actions might also be available. There is some flexibility in what skill is used, but please don't try to just always push towards using your highest skill.
- What's your agenda here?: This action can be used against any participant who has acted at least once already. It is a perception check with a difficulty of 7. Success gives the party information about the purpose and likely subsequent actions of another participant. If Delan uses this action, her Empathy power gives her the option of using it against every NPC. In this instance, they will make a saving throw versus mental effect instead of her making a Perception check. The amount and type of information obtained will depend on the NPC's emotional state and what action they are attempting that round. This action always takes place at the end of a round.
- ...but you aren't entitled to your own facts!: This action uses an appropriate knowledge-type skill. History and Tactics are the most obviously useful, but this is another area where creativity will be of great assistance. This action starts at Difficulty 7, and allows the establishment of a common ground of fact, which must be within reason. No later action can that rests on incompatible premises can be successful. This action can be countered by later uses of the same action; each subsequent use to alter the same factual landscape increases the difficulty by one. Facts which are not closely related or incompatible can be established without reference to each other's current difficulty. (For example, an Tech/Astronautic argument about the quality of Chittik vessels and a Steward argument about the effects on the State's coffers may indicate contradictory conclusions about the best course of action, but the facts themselves are not in contradiction.)
- Rhetoric: Once facts are established, a character can use Persuade to push the audience toward a conclusion. This will fail if the facts are later controverted. Build your argument on solid premises!
- Conclude: If Rhetoric was used successfully during a prior round, and has not been countered, then a use of Leadership can effectively seal the deal so far as the audience is concerned.
- Challenge Credentials: With this check (probably based on Persuade), you can compel another character to reveal the skills they have that are relevant to the discussion. This action will automatically succeed if the target has failed a check in the prior round. A character who has had their credentials challenged receives a -1 to all checks until they succeed on a check.
- Establish Credibility: With this check, using an appropriate skill, you demonstrate that your group has credibility. Everyone on your side gains a +1 to their checks on the next round of actions.
- Question Credibility: If you have already determined another party's agenda, you can reveal it and attempt to argue that they're too biased. If successful, everyone with that agenda will be at -1 to any future actions relevant to their agenda, unless they can manage to shake off the accusation of bias.
- Build Reputation: This action allows the user to gain temporary Reputation (or some other benefit) from an outside organization or group by self-promotion or promoting the agenda of that organization or group. This will have effects that only apply outside of the combat, and those effects may vary wildly.
- Provoke: This action may be taken in a round after an opponent has failed an action. The opponent may contest it with a roll of their own, but if the target loses the roll then they are removed from the show and may no longer act. The target may decide if they storm off, lose it and have their mic cut off, or what.
- Straw Man: The user of this action may (within reason) dishonestly impute a position to a target who has used ...but you aren't entitled to your own facts! in the prior round. The straw man must be a reasonable corollary to the facts the target established. If successful, that person must either accept that position or lose their next action to disclaim it (automatic success.)
Note: Culture/World specifically means a world, it does not include spacer, traveler, criminal, et cetera.
- Successful Trade, whether purchase or sale, usually requires at least a couple days on-planet. This may vary depending on what you are purchasing or selling, how much of it, and where. On TL3 or 4 planets where electronic bills of lading and so forth are available, Trade can be done rapidly. On lower-tech worlds, time may be required for buyers to come and go.
- I usually don't stack modifiers for supply and demand. Instead, I use the most specifically applicable modifier.
Please note that one of my house rules is that the Atmospheric Configuration module is an inherent part of a ship's design. It must be factored into the vessel at the time of its construction, and cannot be added or removed later. Not all vessel types are available from all systems.
New Ship Class: Corvette
The Corvette sits in size between a Shuttle and a Free Merchant, and so it sort of straddles the line. Corvettes are too large to sit in a Fighter bay on a larger vessel. However, two Corvettes can occupy a single Frigate bay on a capital vessel. Corvettes gain five tons of Cargo Space per point of Free Mass spent on Cargo, and are able to accommodate fittings up to Frigate size. In the Ship Fittings charts, costs marked # are not multiplied for Corvettes, and costs marked * are multiplied times 5.
- Cost: 350k
- Speed: 3
- Armor: 2
- HP: 15
- Crew: 2/4
- AC: 6
- Power: 7
- Free Mass: 7
- Hardpoints: 1
The Drekkar is a Corvette hull produced by the Spacekea shipyards in the Wolf system. It's a ship designed for light-duty scientific, exploration, and trade expeditions. The hull has an integral Atmospheric Configuration and Equipment Locker. Further, the area around the rear cargo bay door contains collapsible panels that can fold out into a prefabricated seven meter by seven meter by three meter room. This can only be used when the Drekkar is landed on a planetary surface and can't be separated from the ship without destroying it, but it can be put up or taken down in about an hour. It is configurable as a living, laboratory, or work space, and has electrical, water, and HVAC comparable to any other TL4 structure. Some small-time traders configure it as a literal storefront, and make sales directly from their cargo bay.
- Cost: 400k
- Speed 3
- Armor 1
- HP 15
- Crew 2/10
- AC 7
- Power 5
- Free Mass 8
- Hardpoints 0.
The Yacht is a luxury vessel. They have a small integral lifeboat, but the capacity of the lifeboat never exceeds 5, even if the Extended Life Support fitting is installed. Yachts have double the normal yearly maintenance costs. Yachts are available in Anumati.
New Frigate-class hull: Runabout
- Cost: 750k
- Speed: 3
- Armor: 1
- HP: 20
- Crew Min/Max 1/20
- AC: 5
- Power: 10
- Free Mass: 10
- Hardpoints: 2
Dungeon Search Rules
This is a megadungeon in terms of In-Character size, but I'm dividing it into abstract zones rather than actually mapping out kilometers of corridor. I hope to be a tad more sophisticated about it than I was with the Chittik asteroid base. Generally speaking, a "zone" might be the size of a neighborhood, a power plant, or a mall. Something like that. It's big enough to have an extended scene in a movie, maybe several interesting things to look at or treasure to find, a combat or two. Things like that. Zones are connected to specific other zones. You can map it by just drawing a circle for a zone and a line to any other zones it connects to. Do not concern yourself with macro-scale measurements; I'm not hiding secret rooms that you need to triangulate to find. If I start specifying distances, it's because weapon range or movement or simply picturing the terrain might require it, not because we're dropping into something where you need to search every three meters for a secret door.
This is going to be run in half-hour turns. It takes a half-hour to do a basic "chunk" of exploration of a zone, basically to do something substantial. Some zones might take more than one turn to search. I'll tell you when you're done and what you've found. Doing something like restoring power to a dead generator or hacking a computer or other big projects takes a turn. Wiping the dust off of a long-disused holoprojector doesn't. If there are specific pieces of scenery you want to examine, they may or may not take a turn to go over, it depends on what they are and what you're doing. Basically declare your actions and I'll post time-stamps.
Traveling from one zone to another takes a turn. So, budget a minimum of three turns for a zone. 1 turn to search it and get the layout, 1 turn to do anything interesting if you think of anything interesting to do, and 1 turn to move on to the next one. That's an hour and a half.
I'll post a time-stamp every time you advance a turn.
The style guide is a set of expectations for the players and, to a lesser extent, me. Reading it is fairly mandatory.
Crew Points: 42 (Athletics 1 (Y/G), Combat/Gunnery 3 (Y), Computer 3 (G), Culture/Spacer 2 (E), Exosuit 1 (D/Y/G), Leadership 1 (D), Navigation 3 (R), Tech/Astronautics 2 (R/Rook), Tactics 2 (Y), Vehicle/Space 3 (R))
- Captain: Danger
- Pilot: Ruis, Crew Banks
- Comm Officer: Graham, Crew: Kiril Litvak
- Boatswain: Eris, Crew: Francisco Illan, Ensign Alejandro Huertas
- Gunnery Chief: Yevgeny, Crew: Nina Pancorbo
- Chief Engineer: Rook, Crew: Arthur Davies
Introducing New Characters
Ship Science Lab
Outstanding Issues and Plot Threads by Character
- membership in The Masters
- membership in The Academe (Chittik psychology and physiology; Cybernetics and the brain and body)
- Report from Preston on Chittik/Other Alien sightings/information in Malediction