Saturday, November 26, 2011

Ad Astra: Regions of Space and Overview of Species

Regions of Space in Ad Astra

The galaxy of Ad Astra is represented by a large region of space defined by two zones: coreward (toward the galactic center) and spinward (the galactic periphery, the region where Earth is located). Within these regions are large areas called zones, each approximately 500 or more light years across. Zones are in turn broken in to sectors of 50x50x50 light years.

Region Summary

Spinward Regions of Space:

Rimward Zone The Terra-centered domain of space operated by the Human Federated Commonwealth

Freeworld Zone the human-dominated colonial expanses, loosely under HFC jurisdiction. Borders Pelegranen space and overlaps the Precursor territories.

Corporate Zones There are about a two dozen regions of human space specifically protected under HFC charters in which the local corporate interests have territorial control and complete legal jurisdiction. This was part of the civil conflict settlement.

Praektor Space The old-empire expanses once held by the crumbling Praektor empire. Much of this territory is under alien rule now.

Anageni Expanse A large, old, long-dominated region of space controlled by the Anageni, who function as a benevolent autocracy.

Zones in both Coreward and Spinward:

The Amber Zones A three-hundred plus light year region of space approaching the core of the galaxy that is quarantined. Once held the expanses of the now dead Byzanti Alliance. The charnel alliance was shattered two centuries ago, but the threat of it’s alien technologies and human dissidents live on, patrolled by HFC fleets.

Pelegranen Space The modest conquered territories of this warlike species.

The Founder Zone The Astratran Founders are heralded as the true sons of the space ways, having brought the technology of Wormholes to men and beyond. They are a benevolent, non-confrontational merchant species.

Metatranie Space The small but volatile empires of the Metatranie are luckily at war with each other far more often than with the Terrans.

Coreward Regions of Space:

The Dotari Region A quarantined region once held the the enigmatic Dotari, who progressed to a new stage of evolution millions of years ago, and are now trans-dimensional beings. Many encounters for simple four-dimensional species with these beings are fatal.

Grupnar Space Commonly known as the curmudgeons of the galaxy, this species holds sway over a unity of lesser species, and mistrusts terrans.

Harbinger Space This ancient region of space was once the playground of still-existant nearly cosmic entities which travel their routes throughout many galaxies via doomsday ships. This region has currently been quarantined since the return of on such Harbinger.

Shakaad Collective A region of multiple species with their own separate collective.

Kephran Empire A decadent humanoid empire discovered in 2592 which claims to have once ruled human space.

Species of the Ad Astra Campaign:

There are a bewildering variety of alien species throughout known space. The major species, that is, the major recent players in galactic politics, are described below. Each species has a known major affect on the current course of the interstellar community, either for better or for worse. Some species, such as the Farseers, are actually quite rare, and unlikely every to be encountered by most travelers. Others, like terrans and praektorians, seem to be everywhere and plentiful.

After the short list with brief intros, details on the abilities, profiles, and necessary character management data are provided.

Some of the most common known species include:

Name Quick Profile

Praektor Amphibious warriors once used by the Progenitors are soldiers

Grupnar mammalian-like “lizard-bears”, who rule their own region of space

Anageni quadrupedal, sensitive low-gravity dwellers, very scientific species

Cerr’K’Ta inimical species who adapt and advance by integrating others

Pelegranen warlike reptilian beings who are highly paranoid

Speakers squid-like psionic beings who serve the progenitors

Astratran Founders Tall, herd-minded explorers reminiscent of horses, very advanced

Dotari transdimensional beings who regard lesser beings as playthings

Metatranie powerful, primitive saurians, new to space-travel, and volatile

Hypolate Farseers evolved precursors, from Trikkus. Rare and curious people

Stick Men A trans-dimensional entity from another universe, a parasite

Gundari Wraiths Mysterious and deadly Byzantine allies, from quantum elsewhere

Byzanti Cyborgs Remnants of the machine intelligence of the Byzanti

T’Kazzt Rough terran allies, insectoid and very organized

Nommosi Thought nearly extinct, these ancient beings claim to predate all other species

Chael’Gaan A species brought near extinction by ancient war, spread thin and very violent

Golmak quantum beings from another universe, explorers and antiquarians.

Existing Traveller Species in Ad Astra

Characters in Ad Astra may be human. From Phase I onward, genetically enhanced humans become more common. Besides the other alien and simulant characters described in this setting, the referee is welcome to introduce Hivers, Vargr, Droyne and any other classic Traveller species in to the Ad Astra universe if he wishes. Foe example, you could easily assume that the Vargr are a recently uplifted species, although that means that they are not as widespread, nor do they have a homeworld. Conversely, you could assume that a precursor species did, in fact, uplift the Vargr long ago and transplant them to their homeworld and place them wherever you wish in the Ad Astra continuum.

Some suggestions for enhanced and uplifted species ideas follow, as well as where I would place default Traveller Species:

Vargr: The Ad Astra version of Vargr are colonial uplifted beings who have gathered in a series of colonies throughout the Freeworld Zone. Vargr were one of many uplifted species brought forth by humanity after reaching the stars.

Droyne: Droyne are indeed descended from an older and more advanced civilization, and are located in a remote region along the edges of Dotari Space.

Hivers: The hivers are as perplexing and mysterious in Ad Astra as in other universes. They are nestled in a region of space between The Rimward regions and Anageni space. The anageni, unsprisingly, get along fine with the hivers.

K’Kree: The herbivorous K’Kree are found on a small stretch of colonial worlds which they dominate in the Freeworld zones. They maintain their own regional government and are on very friendly terms with the terran freeworlders.

Aslan: The Aslan are fairly hostile to most outsiders, but maintain careful relations with their human neighbors in the Freeworld zone.

Human Variants: Human variants from core Traveller do not exist as such in Ad Astra, though you could use them as templates to extrapolate specific deviant or transgenic societies which have spun off from humanity over the centuries. In Ad Astra, no precursor race drew from primitive human stock to seed other worlds, and so there are no alien planets full of human-like species out there. When you find a world with humans on it, you know they all descend from earth within the last few centuries.

Some ideas for other potential species or transgenics follow. The core Traveller rules provide plenty of information on developing interesting new species.

Aquatic Xenoforms and Transgenic Oceanic Hybrids: A fairly humanoid aquatic being which is naturally adapted to or has been transgenically modified to survive on a water world would gain a +1 Dex when in water and have Athletics (swim) 0.

Avian Xenoform: An avian or winged xenoform with flight may come from a low gravity homeworld if it still maintains enough mass to fly yet is also sentient (distributed brain mass, or more compacted cranial capacity, perhaps.)

Insectoids: Lots of unusual races could be insectoid in appearance, although such species would have different respiratory processes if their mass is human sized or larger, unlike Terran insects.

One of the underlying themes of the campaign is that it is a big universe, and by Phase III, there are literally hundreds of intelligent species interacting in known space, and thousands of minor species yet undiscovered. The referee should encourage players to design unique races for unusual characters they wish to play by this stage, as well as creating his own!

All text copyright 2011 by Nicholas Torbin Bergquist, all rights reserved

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