Wednesday, August 12, 2020

Regulation Space for White Star

 Here's an excerpt on my precis for the setting I will use for White Star. It's got all the things I love in a SF setting: dangerous superluminal travel, a galaxy poised on the edge of war, cosmic old ones and lots of opportunities for free lancers to make their fortune.

Regulation Space Campaign Setting for White Star

Premise: it’s 2550, and humankind has spent the last four centuries expanding outward into the solar system and now into neighboring star systems thanks to the power of the hyperdrive. With the hyperdrive comes the discovery of other burgeoning civilizations and humanity’s introduction to a thriving alien cluster of civilizations. As the Hyperspace lanes expand, so does humanity’s connection to the diverse worlds of other species. Humankind arrived on the scene conveniently right around the time a warlike culture called the Volmath were attempting to conquer the diaspora of civilizations, and thanks to humankind’s timely intervention the Volmath were driven back into the void.

The Star Knights and Void Knights: this is an ancient order dedicated to a force known as the Blood Star. The Blood Star is a semi-mythical location shrouded in secrecy from which the Star Knights gain their unique powers to bend physics to their will. The Volmath use their shock troops called the Void Knights to similar effect, and it is suspected they have access to a system with a sun similar to the Blood Star, called the Void Star by their ranks. The exact nature of these stars and what they do to change humans and aliens alike into powerful psi-wielding agents of peace of war is a mystery to most.

Thematically the star knights and void knights might be closely comparable to the guardians of Destiny (the video game), poised between the light and darkness. Their powers clearly stem directly from the enigmatic stars they serve, and much of the mystery of their orders lies within exactly what the Blood Star and the Void Star are. 

Hyperspace: this dimension may tie to the mystery of the Void and Blood Stars. It’s a transitional fifth dimension through which ships can travel at extreme superluminal speeds without experiencing relativistic effects. The technology is ridiculously simple once understood, but does require antimatter as a fuel source to bend space enough that it “breaks” and allows the ship to enter. For the duration it is in hyperspace a ship must maintain a magnetic shield envelope around itself; if the shield falls before the ship leaves hyperspace it can be destroyed, spread out over multiple light years. Hyperspace is also dangerous; there are fifth dimensional beings which exist and for which no one wants to draw the attention of, as all encounters with these fifth dimensional entities have proven disastrous or fatal.

One known fifth dimensional threat from Hyperspace is called the Deluge. It is a cosmic mind-altering “essence” which some speculate is a living neural network of energy; its name derives from how it appears to “pour” like a flood from hyperspace rifts into the physical world in waves of varicolored superfluids. Its first appearance on the colony of Riven led to the entire world being quarantined as it mutated and drove the colonists mad.

Known Space: this is a vast swathe of unclaimed territory, ostensibly of neutral civilizations, star empires and other groups which exist independent of the Volmath Consortium and Regulation Space. While Regulation Space is estimated to be around 110 worlds in size and the Volmath Consortium consists of at least six united groups and over 900 worlds, the region of Known Space is pretty much “everything else” and charted territories so far have mapped out 32,000 worlds! No single power dominates in Known Space, though there are threats (such as the assimilants and Cannicks) lurking in its darker corners.

Regulation Space: this is the name for the Terran colonial expanse, the vast network of roughly fifty colonies plus Earth as well as another 60 alien civilizations which have petitioned and joined Regulation Space to benefit from the protection of the Terrans. Regulation Space is policed by the Regulation Authority while the military defense is handled by the Terran Frontier Defense Navy.

Alien species living under the auspices and protection of Regulation Space include the Alureans, falcon men (Sholdarak), Kath (rawrarrs), Procyons, crocs, space ducks (Un’hadani), thronks (calling themselves Vaadeer, but humans jokingly call them Martians), uttins, wolflings (Bengada),  

Volmath Consortium: Despite its perception as an evil empire, the Volmath is actually a Consortium of several species with like interests. These include the volmath themselves, who are close human analogs and appear to have either a common ancestry to terrans or close parallel evolution. They have within their ranks the client states of the Qinlon Hegemony, the Cabal of the Ickes, the Vaskagar empire of Felinoids, the Mecistops DIaspora and the Sketh (wellsians).

Galactic Threats: There are other species out there which are inimical to or seek to undermine, conquer or destroy both Regulation Space and the Volmath Consortium. These include the greys, the assimilants, the cannicks, frostines and mindoids. Some, such as the frostines and mindoids seek to protect their own territory while preying quietly on their neighbors. The assimilants however are an invasion force in the making, a vast swathe of galactic space being under assault near the galactic core by their kind, and the cannicks are an ancient machine race which wiped out their creators eons ago and are beginning to appear in the region once more, as their kind is found on the swathe of dead worlds left in the wake of an ancient galactic war. Finally there are the Sindrat, a race of humanoid spider-like insectoids that also appear to have access to the powers of the Void Knight and are focused on infiltration and sabotage. They seem to operate from flotillas of ships residing in the void between stars, where they are almost impossible to find.

Classes in Regulation Space:

The following are considered Core Classes: aristocrat, mercenary, pilot, robot, star knight, alien brute, bounty hunter, combat medic, cypher, deep space explorer, gunslinger, two-fisted technician, uttin, rockstar, alien mystic, star pilot, alien star knight, and mecha jock. Other classes may be acceptable but less common.

Affiliations: Each PC should pick from one of the following affiliations at the start of play:

Regulation Authority: you are a former or inactive member of the Terran police-keeping force which maintains rule of law in Regulation Space.

Syndicate: you are a member of the intergalactic criminal consortium of guilds called the Syndicate, an organization which was present in Known Space long before the Terrans arrived on the scene.

Merchants Guild: the Merchants Guild seeks to insure fair laws and trade across Known Space.

Free Lancers Guild: the free lancers are a collection of independent mercs, traders and couriers who seek to maintain their independence from authority and megacorporations, having loosely united into a guild in Known Space to protect such interests and provide resources and aid to one another.

Terran Defense League: comprising the combined power of the navy, marines and ground forces, the TDL is where many spacers served time learning useful skills before mustering out to make their own path. The TDL maintains stations in most Regulation Space ports and provides an excellent network for assistance to veterans.

The Star Knights: you are a member of or worked for the Order of the Star Knights, an independent peace-keeping force which was founded by the Old Coalition in Known Space before Terrans arrived on-scene. Many Terrans have since joined the order, which maintains its headquarters in the Orion III System.

Volmath Infiltrators: the Espionage branch of the Volmath Consortium is effective and runs deep into Known Space, gathering intel and reporting back to their masters.

Void Knights: The Order of the Void Knights is secretive and militaristic, but those who joined or served in its ranks are determined to rise to power. More than a few Void Knights are former Star Knights who were seduced by the even more potent teachings of the Void Star. A few were even Star Knights who sought to infiltrate and discover the secret location of the Void Star, and yet they too succumbed to the power of the Void.

Opportunity Sector

A major hub of activity is located in Opportunity Sector, a large area of space where Regulation Space and Known Space collide. It is also one of the regions with the shortest distance to the Volmath Consortium, which is a paltry 80 light years away on the other side of a stretch of Known Space. A century ago the Terran-Volmath War was fought to a near standstill in this region, and when the Accords were carried out it was on the local garden world of Sperlian, following the destruction of the Volmath super weapon dubbed the Sun Crusher. The ruins of the Sun Crusher are still in orbit around the now diminutive brown dwarf star of Cholos M44 (570 LY from Earth). The Coleopterans of M44 were almost entirely wiped out, though colonies exist in the region (including on Sperlian).

As a result, Opportunity Sector is a cold war zone between the two powers, and local independents profit from it as much as possible. Coleopteran dissidents still plot revenge against the Volmath, and war profiteers continue to ply their trade, seeking salavage for resale from the great war era. Amidst this tension the Regulation Authority seeks to make some headway even as rumors that the Assimilant Empire are approaching is bandied about in shady bars by distressed Deep Space Salvagers claiming to have seen assmilant scout ships patrolling. Lastly, rumors that the origins of the Sun Crusher can be found on one of the forgotten Old Worlds where the Cannicks destroyed their creators abound, and that the lucky salvager who finds the source of the machine’s design plans will be the richest (and most wanted) man in the galaxy is a laudable goal for those with no honor.

Opportunity Sector is also the location of the failed human colony of Riven, where the enigmatic being called the Deluge destroyed and mutated the colony. The Regulation Authority along with the Star Knights have cordoned off the world while trying to determine the Deluge’s intent, fully aware that if it escapes the planet it can spread its transformative disease to the rest of Known Space.   

1 comment:

  1. Glad you opted to go with White Star. Looking forward to hearing about your group's adventures.