Planetologie des Ruines

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Territory, Infrastructure and Features, in Brief

Territory is the physical landmass (or asteroids, or more rarely megastructures) occupied by a polity. A single Territory comprises an undefined amount of such space with the capacity to host human economic and industrial activity. Territory has a number of qualities outlined in this and other sections of the document. In a majority of cases a player with an uncontested territorial claim on a planet has an unlimited potential number of territories on a single planet, constrained only by their own ability to plan expansion and manage so much land. It took humanity thousands of years to reach Earth's carrying capacity, after all.

Infrastructure are the territorial structures that make dense, efficient, productive technic society possible. A Territory's capacity for additional industry is increased by its Infrastructure. Higher levels of infrastructure can often be seen physically embodied in the form of tower blocks and industrial arcologies extending higher into the planetary skyline. Infrastructure is powerful but its cost scales exponentially on a factor of TBD.

Features are quirks of geography, climate, etc that play minor factors in the function of a territory. Features can be discovered by survey or often induced via terraforming, though certain unique features may not be so easily reproduced. Planetary territory can be undefined by the player for ease of design (particularly during nation creation), in which case it simply has the planet's Dominant Features.


Human civilization remains centered on planetary life. Terraformed or naturally biocompatible 'garden worlds' are hugely valuable to polities as both places to live and build industry, as many technologies benefit from the consistency of planetary gravity and an atmosphere for both easy settlement and the ability to discharge waste heat, static and electromagnetic buildup harmlessly. Most divergent human clades are adapted for differences of climate or gravity rather than the total absence of these things. Most starting states should therefore select their initial planet, upon which all or a majority of their initial territory will be located.

Planet Design

Although a given planet might have some variations in surface conditions, macroscale factors like planetary composition, tectonic activity and proximity to its host star may results in truly alien worlds. Most of these factors like actual planetary mass and size, tidal synchronicity and the strength of the magnetosphere are abstracted and semi-represented via various Features.

By default settled worlds in the human sphere are assumed to be Normal Gravity, Breathable and Temperate with conventional biospheres. As these planets were the easiest to settle, they drew the majority of immigration from Earth.

Dominant Features

When designing starting planets for player states and NPCs, players select particularly prominent Features from the list which define both the overall planetary conditions and general geography of the planet. These Dominant Features offer a baseline for what generic territories are like for state creation and moderation purposes.

Individual territories can differ from the Dominant Features in various ways. A former capital of a Lush Forest world might be a Barren Plain after suffering atomic bombardment. Alien ruins may drop the Hellish gravity of a rocky superterran planet to a delightfully buoyant and Low .1G. Some Features can be stacked, particularly Geography and Biomes. Desert Mountain Plains could easily reflect the Himalayan Plateau or the mesas of Arizona, while Extremophile (Hot) Barren Mountains can stand in for recent (or ongoing) sites of volcanic activity.

Required Dominant Features:

  • Gravity: Choose 1
  • Atmosphere: Choose 1
  • Temperature: Choose 1, or more for particular regions like Equator and Poles

Optional Dominant Features:

  • Geography: Choose 1+
  • Biome: Choose 1+

Space Territories and Megastructures

By default Asteroids are set to None/Low Gravity, Barren Atmosphere and Extremphile (Cold) temperatures with no present Biosphere. If hollowed out they may feature Caves, life support systems allow them to host an atmosphere and local temperatures above these extremes and spin gravity can added to increase their Gravity up Heavy (2G). Most rocky moons are simply captured asteroids and have the same default Features, though particularly large satellites can have planetary Features as appropriate to the situation.

Required Dominant Features:

  • Orbital or Deep: Choose 1
  • Gravity: Choose 1
  • Atmosphere: Choose 1
  • Temperature: Choose 1, or more for particular regions like Equator and Poles

Optional Dominant Features:

  • Geography
  • Biome

Megastructures do not have Features other than their own trait and Connections, except for Habitats which can play host to any number of biomes. Default Habitats have an Earthlike ecosystem (i.e.: Normal Gravity, Breathable Atmosphere, Temperate, etc).

Required Dominant Features:

  • Megastructure: Choose 1

Optional Dominant Features: Habitat Only

  • Gravity: Choose 1
  • Atmosphere: Choose 1
  • Temperature: Choose 1
  • Geography: Choose 1+
  • Biome: Choose 1+

Example Planets

A curated list of some planets vaguely referencing past games or pop culture.

Worse Earth

A common designation for unpopular, second-tier colonies that were the result of crude terraforming attempts or non-favorable material conditions. Livable, but just barely.

Dominant Features

  • Gravity: Normal
  • Atmosphere: Thin
  • Temperature: Temperate
  • Geography: Plains or Hills
  • Biome: Grassland or Forest
    • Density: Sparse

War World

Disrupted worlds that have fallen to a permanent state of tribal, pre-state conflict following WMD use during the Disconnect. Off-world interests often capitalize on the low value of life on these planets to recruit desperate locals to work as mercenaries.

Dominant Features

  • Gravity: Normal
  • Atmosphere: Irradiated Breathable
  • Temperature: Cold
  • Biome: Desert or Grassland
    • Density: Barren
    • Ruins: Human Ruins, Disconnect Era
    • Locals: Human Technobarbarians

Death World

An informal ‘spacer term for those rare lush, inviting habitable worlds with voracious ecosystems built on complex networks of predation, parasitism and scavenging. High gravity and a dense, oxygen-rich atmosphere creates predatory species that can threaten even highly disciplined military units.

Dominant Features

  • Gravity: High
  • Atmosphere: Hyperoxygenated
  • Temperature: Warm
  • Biome: Abyssal Forest
    • Density: Overflowing
    • Variations: Predatory and Mutagenic
    • Locals: Nightmares


Hic sunt amazones. A planet just barely amenable to sustained human habitation without extensive augmentations.

Dominant Features

  • Gravity: Normal
  • Atmosphere: Breathable
  • Temperature: Warm (Poles), Supertropical (Midlats) or Extremophile, Hot (Equator)
  • Geography: Coast (Sea) and/or Hills
  • Biome: Forest and Reef
    • Density: Lush
    • Variation: Inimical and Biocompatible


A relaxed place on the ruins of a massive Golden Age metropolis, with the remains of buildings sticking up in vast profusion from the clear blue water.

Dominant Features

  • Gravity: Normal
  • Atmosphere Breathable
  • Temperature: Warm
  • Geography: Coastline (Ocean) and Megacity Ruins
  • Biome: Reef
    • Ruins: Human Ruins, Golden Age

Mushroom Pandora

A resource world you don’t want to be assigned to.

Dominant Features

  • Gravity: Low
  • Atmosphere: Breathable, Inhospitable
  • Temperature: Tropical
  • Geography: Valleys and Mountains
  • Biomes: Superorganism Fungi and Forests
    • Density: Overflowing
    • Variation: Predatory
    • Locals: Alien Techno Barbarians and Nightmares

Ocean World

A planet completely covered in water. Low axial tilt means that polar ice is short-lived, if it appears at all. The atmosphere is mostly carbon dioxide, nitrogen and water vapor.

Dominant Features

  • Gravity: Normal
  • Atmosphere: Temperate
  • Temperature: Tropical
  • Geography: Ocean
  • Biomes: Aquatic
    • Density: Standard


Territories are defined by both their planetary Dominant Features as well as their own intrinsic Territorial Features. An ocean planet might have a small, densely forested hilly/mountainous island chain, or a volcanic wastelan might conceal temperate life-bearing caves settled by a minor scientific outpost while mining companies toil on the surface. The actual size of a territory is mostly undefined and relates to economic capacity and ease of conquest. Vast amounts of flat arable farmland and a few kilometers of a truly dense urban metropolis may very well both comprise a single territory apiece.

Territorial Features can situationally contradict the planet's Dominant ones.

Suggested Territorial Features

Gravity: Usually doesn't differ on a territorial basis except in the following exceptions:

  • Alien/Golden Age Ruins: Advanced facilities may disturb or modify local gravity constants. In particular malfunctioning drives and related facilities may often cause zones of crushing gravitation, or manifest bizarre floating islands where rivers flow upwards, etc.
  • Asteroids/Megastructures: Asteroids and Megastructure constructions may feature spingrav sections for medical or agricultural purposes, but omit them in other segments (adjacent territories, functionally) due to cost or space constraints.


  • Altitude: Particularly high mountains or deep lowlands and caves can have their Atmosphere made thinner or heavier to emphasize the particular danger of those environments.
  • Habitation Domes: A well-built dome can enclose any kind of atmosphere over a local area. Barren worlds like Mars and Titan were initially settled with these kinds of constructions before terraforming and physical adaptation could overcome these limiting factors, for example. Settlers may also want alternative atmospheric mixes to grow certain crops or cattle with useful biomedical properties unable to survive in an Earthlike climate.
  • Local Hazards: Pollution or natural disasters can release toxic or corrosive gasses over a whole region. Such dangers can also be deliberately induced to make an area less hospitable.


  • Altitude: High peaks and deep caves tend to be appropriately colder or warmer than the planetary norm.
  • Equator/Tropics/Poles: Even planets with relatively mild axial tilt will see small but noticeable temperature differences at their most polar and equatorial regions.
  • Active Volcano: Increase temperature as appropriate, can even jump to Extremophile (Hot).
  • Habitation Domes: Same as with Atmosphere Features.

Geography: Any, replace or combine with Dominant Features as desired.

  • Oasis/River Delta: Mostly Barren/Sparse planets may have much more active ecological activity around watering holes and great flooding rivers like the Yangtze or Nile.
  • Disasters: Local Biome may change in response to biomes, becoming sparser, less friendly and often simpler. A planet that suffers a thermonuclear exchange of sufficient severity may regress to a Primeval biome in its worst-hit zones, or find itself colonized by a Fungal Superorganism overgrowing its rotting biomass.
  • Ruins: Unless a planet is a truly impressive find (like the lost homeworld of an alien species or an ancient colony from a first wave of settlements) it's unlikely that the planet is completely blanketed in Ruins of any sort.
  • Locals: As with ruins, many these are preferable as Territorial rather than Dominant Features.

Example Territories

Territories may outright omit certain features in their listings to save space and avoid repetition, this is because unless directly contradicted in their listing they're assumed to have all planetary Dominant Features.

UN Alpine Observation Zone-3 "Neue Vaud"

A region with jagged peaks and thick, ancient glaciers that feed arable valleys below. The mountaintop spacelab is a lonely assignment, but the skiing, hot cocoa and fondue are a treat.

Planet: Worse Earth
Infrastructure Level: 0
Fortification: 0 (+2)

  • Temperature: Cold
  • Geography: Mountain
  • Biome: Grassland
    • Locals: UN Outpost

Hive Marduk

Built into the grand remains of an alien metropolis exposed when Lake Septunelle was partially evaporated by atom-fire, Hive Marduk fills a vast impact caldera that functions as a natural barrier to outsiders and shelters the only functioning spaceport on the surface. It is the sole refuge of civilization on a planet riven by endless war and barbarism.

Planet: War World
Infrastructure Level: 5
Fortification: 2 (+2)

  • Geography: Mountain and Megacity Ruins
    • Hydrography: Lake and Wetlands
  • Biome: Reef
    • Ruins: Human Ruins, Disconnect Era and Alien Ruins, Precursors
    • Locals: Independent Enclave and Human Technobarbarians


Infrastructure represents how 'built' up territory is. At level 1, territory is assumed to be in a state of exploitation similar to post-Green Revolution industrial agriculture or later hybrid land uses, while infrastructure level 3-4 could stand in for the greatest cities of the 20th and 21st centuries. Beyond Level 5 the territory itself increasingly can be likened to a machine on a vast scale with untold moving parts more than a series of shelters and workspaces. Level 0 infrastructure is assumed to not be exploited at all except for niche functions like tourism, or being preserved for scientific posterity.

The amount of economic activity that can be contained in a single place increases linearly while the cost of increased density is exponential though certain Features may modify this.

Feature Impacts on Infrastructure


  • None: Treat as if 2 levels lower for cost of raising Infrastructure level.
  • Light: Treat as if 1 level lower for cost of raising Infrastructure level.
  • Hellish: Treat as if 3 levels higher for cost of raising Infrastructure level.


  • Megacity: First 8 levels of Infrastructure cost the same as Level 1, costs increase normally afterwards. (L9 costs as L2, L10 as L3, etc)
  • Megacity Ruins: First 4 levels of Infrastructure cost the same as Level 1, costs increase normally afterwards. (L5 costs as L2, L6 as L3, etc)


  • Flood Plains: Level 0 Infrastructure functions as Level 1 for the purposes of holding economy.

Biome Density

  • Lush: Level 0 Infrastructure functions at as Level 1 for the purposes of holding economy, all ranks cost 25% more (50% if Predatory or Nightmares) until 3.
  • Overgrown: Level 0 Infrastructure functions at as Level 2 for the purposes of holding economy, all ranks cost 50% more (100% if Predatory or Nightmares) until 3.

Biome Variations

  • Gaia: Functions at +1 Level for the purposes of holding economy.
  • Predatory: Ignore the free increases to effective infrastructure level from Features (floodplains, lush, overgrown, gaia, etc).

Ruins: Ruins are generally expended (removed) when rehabilitated for settlement. Alternatively, ruins that aren't hastily mined can be kept as-is for tourism and tech-mining purposes.

  • Failed Wildcat Colony: 50% chance of doubling the cost of the first two infrastructure levels (poor planning) or halving (auspicious planning) when early colonial structures are cleared.
  • Human Ruins, Any: Territory starts at +1 Infrastructure level if intact structures are gutted and rehabilitated.
  • Alien Ruins, Advanced or Precursor: Territory starts at +1 Infrastructure level if intact structures are gutted and rehabilitated.


  • Humans, Any Type: Potential source of immigration. Diplomatic actions can reward free economy or $ spent towards raising Infrastructure.
  • Aliens, Any Type But Nightmares: Provided their biological needs are met, same as humans.
  • Independent Enclaves: Will generally prevent expansion on their turf, territory is Level 0 for anyone else unless occupied with military force or negotiated with.
  • Technobarbarians, Any Type: Will damage infrastructure and prevent expansion beyond Level 1 unless negotiated with (increased upkeep) or driven off with military force. Some may not negotiate and prove difficult to keep away.
  • Aliens, Nightmares: Ignore the free increases to effective infrastructure level from Features (floodplains, lush, overgrown, gaia, etc).


  • Any Non-Moon: Max Infrastructure Level 1


  • Orbital Platform: Max Infrastructure Level 4
  • Orbital Array: Max Infrastructure Level 3
  • Space Elevator: If every link in the Space Elevator has the same level of Infrastructure, it can carry 2x that many capital ships (and untold numbers of smaller vessels) up and down from orbit. If no, use lowest value to determine limit.
  • Habitats: Habitat Infrastructure level limit and efficiency scales with technology. The starting limit is 10 and each rank is 25% cheaper than base.
  • Space Hulks: Treat as Megacity Ruins with the Habitat caps and cost breaks.


Just as Infrastructure represents density of civilian economy, Fortification is a broad assessment of local defensiveness, hardening against orbital bombardment and ability to support military structures of various sorts. Unlike Infrastructure, which is 'merely' a cap on economic output, Fortification also has direct impact on the ground combat rules as well as the ability for ships to influence engagements on the ground. This power is limited in two ways: first, the Fortification track is treated the same as and stacks with Infrastructure for the purposes of buying it up. Militarizing a factory district may be relatively easy, but fortifying the metropole to be an unrivalled fortress at the same time will be a tremendous task. The second is that Fortification's passive defensive power is limited at the game start and can be increased slowly through certain acquired technologies. This is both to encourage specializing districts somewhat, and also to curb complacency from PCs 'playing tall' by creating an opportunity cost for highly-defended, highly-invested in Territories.

Fortification Passive Effects

  • Can store (Level+1)*XXX value in military structures.
  • Provides a linear defensive value to military units equal to (Level).
  • Multiplies the amount of Ortillery Facets necessary to suppress and destroy ground units inside the Territory by (Level, Max 6).
  • Provides ablative defence to that territory's Infrastructure and economic/research/etc units. Fortification levels and military defences will always be destroyed first barring covert action.

Feature Impacts on Fortifications


  • Heavy/Hellish: +25% cost to increase, treat as if +1 levels higher.


  • Megacity, Megacity Ruins: As with Infrastructure.
  • Hills: +25% cost to increase for first 4 levels, treat as if +1 levels higher.
  • Caves, Any: -25% cost to increase for first 4 levels, treat as if +1 levels higher.
  • Mountains: +50% cost to increase for first 4 levels, treat as if +2 levels higher.
  • Valleys: -25% cost to increase.

Ruins: As with Infrastructure rules. Militarizing ruins basically precludes researching them in any meaningful context.

  • Human Ruins, Any: Territory starts at +1 Infrastructure level if intact structures are gutted and rehabilitated.
  • Alien Ruins, Advanced: Territory starts at +1 Fortification level if intact structures are gutted and rehabilitated. May begin with Xenotech Defenses.
  • Alien Ruins, Precursor: Territory starts at +2 Fortification level if intact structures are gutted and rehabilitated. May begin with Theotech Defenses.


  • UN Outpost: Automatically a Level 2 Fort if conquered or integrated peacefully.
  • Independent Enclaves: As with Infrastructure.
  • Technobarbarians, Any Type: As with Infrastructure.


  • Any Non-Moon: Max Fortification Level 1


  • Orbital Platform: Max Fortification Level 3
  • Orbital Array: Max Fortification Level 2
  • Habitats: Habitat Fortification level limit and efficiency scales with technology. The starting limit is 10 and each rank is 25% cheaper than base.
  • Space Hulks: Treat as Megacity Ruins with the Habitat caps and cost breaks.



  • None: Gravity here is minimal or nonexistent. Planets almost never lack gravity to such an extent, barring exotic tech shenanigans.
  • Light: Encompasses sub-1G gravitation, which is comfortable for habitation and easy to build in but comes with some complicating factors in industrial development. Standard human clades tend to grow tall and thin in these conditions.
  • Normal: 1G standard, give or take one tenth of a G.
  • Heavy: Over 2Gs. Everyday life is often significantly more dangerous by default, to say nothing of warfare. Heavy worlders without geneline edits are often squat, solid and muscular.
  • Hellish: 10G+. At this stage regular life without significant biological or cybernetic modifications is next to impossible, engineering even basic civic infrastructure is a challenge and minor accidents can be life-threatening.


  • Breathable: Roughly 4-1 Nitrogen/Oxygen mix with various trace gasses, at a similar density to Earth’s.
  • Hyperoxygenated [Rare]: A dense, Oxygen-rich atmosphere improves the mood and physical performance of higher life. In turn, Hyperoxygenated ecosystems also produce megafauna including insects and crustaceans of terrible size.
  • Primordial: Though the pressure is tolerable to human beings this kind of atmosphere is anoxic, preceding the introduction of complex carbon-based life (especially plants). Far from hostile, such planets are the gold standard for atmospheric terraforming.
  • Thin: A thin, oxygen-poor atmosphere typical of early-stage terraforming on mining worlds. Human life is uncomfortable and often requires a breathing apparatus.
  • Crushing: Extreme pressure, often caused by an atmosphere primarily composed of gasses other than nitrogen and oxygen. Unmodified human beings can adapt to these conditions with specialized equipment but are at constant risk of toxic or narcotic effects from the gasses they breathe, to say nothing about the actual composition of the atmosphere.
  • Barren: A planet that would be a gasping death to all but the most extremophile life, only marginally better than hard vacuum if at all.

Atmospheric Hazards

  • Corrosive: Saturated with extremely basic, acidic or abrasive compounds, highly destructive to non-specialized equipment and deadly to most higher life.
  • Poisonous: A major component gas or particulate matter in the atmosphere is lethal to terrestrial life.
  • Inhospitable: The atmosphere essentially lacks the elements needed for the survival of terrestrial life, requiring breathing apparatus.
  • Irradiated: The planet’s atmosphere contains significant amounts of radioactive fallout, or its magnetosphere has somehow failed to disperse ionizing radiation impacting it, making long-term habitation here significantly more challenging.


  • Extremophile (Cold or Hot): Hell basically, pick your flavour.
  • Arctic: Thick ice shelfs and permafrost, blizzards on warmer days. Melt in the warmer seasons can be just as dangerous as the cold. Heavy weather gear is essential at all times of the year and maintaining body heat and calories is a constant challenge.
  • Cold: Colder seasons require shelter or weather-specific gear but basically livable.
  • Temperate: Temperatures range between pleasantly bellow freezing to pleasantly above it, with only occasional dangerous weather.
  • Warm: Plant life flourishes with a long growing season, as does animal life. The seasons shift to dry/rainy if hydrography permits. Heat can interrupt daytime work but is manageable.
  • Tropical: Managing heat is a serious concern in daytime, and weather patterns in the rainy and dry seasons are more intense, going from hurricanes to droughts and forest fires.
  • Supertropical: The unaugmented can only work tortuously or with the assistance of air-conditionned environment suits. Coasts are battered by seasonal hypercanes that erase smaller islands off the map, and the continental interior is baked dry and unlivable.


  • Mountains: Elevated segments of planetary crust with low to minimal topsoil cover, with high availability of mineral resources but engineering difficulties imposed by the environment’s sheer verticality. May possess glaciers depending on climate.
  • Hills: Terrain with significant topological variation but also consistent topsoil and vegetation cover.
  • Valleys: Extended lowlands located in hilly or mountainous regions, often fertile thanks to meltwater from glaciers.
  • Plains: Flatlands regions with consistent elevation.
  • Caves: Underground passages, sometimes flooded or partially flooded depending on local rock composition and the presence of aquifers. These winding passages are difficult to traverse for non-infantry units.
  • Deep Caves: Deep passages more than 1km underground. At this depth factors like geothermal springs and magma chambers are in ready supply.
  • Massive Caves [Rare]: Enormous cave systems, large enough to host cities. Large enough for direct engagements with air support (typically via tiltrotor gunships and drones) and armour-centric combined arms doctrine.
  • Badlands: Rough terrain caused by erosion, typically arid but sometimes host to a diverse ecosystem.
  • Megacity [Rare]: Intact hyperdense urban structure, extending kilometers above and below ground. At this scale, the original geography is fundamentally unimportant.
  • Megacity Ruins [Rare]: The remains of a fallen megacity. Mistaken at a glance for matchstick mountains and flooded valleys, their true nature is easily revealed with cursory excavation. These can be an easy source of exceptional industrial materials or restored to some level of their ancient grandeur.


  • Coastline (Sea): Represents coastline opening inland or gulf sea zones like the Caspian, Mediterranean or Caribbean, navigable but generally calmer and shallower than the open sea. Coastlines in the same named Sea Zone are assumed to be functionally adjacent for various purposes.
  • Coastline (Ocean): Coastal access to ocean, immediately exposed to rugged sea conditions and tidal forces. Could stand in for the likes of various Pacific Islands or the chill coasts of the North Atlantic. Coastlines in the same named Oceanic Zone are not assumed to be functionally adjacent for various purposes.
  • Land Connection: A physical connection overland, can be as small as a narrow land bridge or as broad a territorial border on a wholly-owned continent.
  • Structural Connection: The land connection of a megastructure, such as the anchor of an orbital elevator, the factory wing of an asteroid colony or something as simple as a particularly large bridge or tunnel.


  • Lakes: Inland freshwater sources where glacial meltwater or river sources accumulate. Important sources for habitation, agriculture and other industries. On worlds in the process of being terraformed, artificial lakes are often the first form of surface water. Larger lakes can be represented by having multiple territories share the same named lake, which also functions as an internal connection.
  • Rivers Fed by glacial melt, precipitation at higher altitudes or created by the outflows of human manipulation of the hydrosphere. Rivers are useful for navigation and the kinetic energy created by their movements can be harnessed for civilian electricity needs. River crossings however are notoriously difficult to attack, and river patrols through hostile territory are often inherently risky propositions. Rivers can function as inland connections, typically end-to-end with the occasional fork.
  • Wetlands: Seasonally, semi-permanently or permanently flooded landmass. It is at once extraordinarily biodiverse but difficult to settle in, requiring specialized craft and construction methods to exploit.
  • Floodplain: A particular type of wetlands fed by the seasonal flooding of nearby lakes or rivers, foundational to pre-industrial (and much modern) human agriculture. Silt and clay carried down by their water sources often make them extraordinarily fertile and easy to cultivate, though erosion and sedimentation act in tandem to continuously reshape coastlines absent human management.
  • Ocean: Deep waters away from the continental shelf, specialized floating or submerged settlements sometimes make these viable places for long-term settlement. More often however, the open sea is ignored in favor of easier-to-settle planetary landmass.


  • Aquatic: An ecosystem defined by water-breathing organisms. Surface-based photosynthetic waterborne plants like seaweeds and algae typically act as a locus for filter-feeder organisms which then feed up the ecosystem through predation, while the churn of organic debris creates a variety of additional niches such as scavengers, bottomfeeders, etc. Terrestrial organisms (birds, mammals, etc) in aquatic environments tend to be predators.
  • Reef: Primarily coastal ecosystems defined by an assortment of large higher life forms providing shelter to smaller species for commensal benefits. The larger organisms (corals, anemone, seaweeds) have robust defenses that prevent even large predators from encroaching in the reef ecosystem, allowing for a large and varied ecosystem. Amphibious and even land-based organisms often find niches in reef environments.
  • Abyssal: Lightless and fed by the descent of organic debris towards their depths, these environs are defined by sharply limited sources of energy. Without photosynthesis, most higher life is predatory or scavenging. Extremophile plants thrive around geothermal vents. Bioluminescence is common both as a lure and for aposematic defense.
  • Forest: An area primarily covered in a vast number of large plants. Forests are controlled and regulated by their host species, with herbivores devouring saplings but spreading seeds, and predators curbing herbivore populations to allow new plants to grow at-replacement rates. Local plant species like trees are often a valuable source of renewable construction materials.
  • Fungal: Neither plant nor animal, fungi are mostly known on Earth for their sometimes edible, sometimes toxic fruiting bodies. Fungal ecosystems on exoplanets are mostly tangles of ever-expanding mycelial networks, slime molds and motile jellies, not so much mushroom forests as tropical rainforests without the trees, a sprawl of reactive vines.
  • Grassland: An area dominated by relatively short plant life such as grass. May include meadow, savana, moorland or steppe. These ecosystems are diverse but generally favor social herbivores.
  • Tundra: An area of extreme conditions that includes large pockets of life, including megafauna, hardy lichens etc.
  • Desert: An ecosystem defined by low rainfalls, sandy, rocky or hard shrubland shrubland terrain. Local fauna and flora are adapted to low moisture and extremes of temperature across the day/night cycle.
  • Superorganism: Supermassive lifeforms blanketing the underlying geography. It may have the traits of plants, animals, fungi or other orders of life but ultimately forms a ‘crust’ or ‘network’ of tremendous scale.
  • Primeval: Simple life in the early stages of eukaryotic evolution, such as plankton, amoeba, early arthropods, etc.

Biome Density

  • Barren: A place where extant life is sparse and sharply limited, often dying worlds that have begun to lose the qualities that initially allowed life to flourish on them or the sites of WMD strikes on otherwise-habitable worlds.
  • Sparse: A place where life is still in the process of conquering the planetary regolith. Earth in the Triassic period or modern-day Iceland are examples.
  • Standard: Similar carrying capacity to Earth.
  • Lush: The local ecosystem is abundant, to excess. Stagnant water fills with disease-bearing pests, trees grow tens of meters thick and hundreds tall in a matter of years and teem fist-sized clumps of pollen, hosts of birds and insects. While this is useful for agricultural and biotech purposes, aggressive landscaping is necessary to keep buildings from being overgrown.
  • Overflowing: Life here is voracious and constantly quick-growing, overtaking structures in weeks and days. Landscaping often requires chemical defoliants, fire or other exceptional means to control the encroaching of nature into the built environment.

Biome Variations

  • Biocompatible: Either as a consequence of terraforming, selective alteration of local species or pure chance, the local ecosystem is completely compatible with human life.
  • Predatory: Human beings are not always at the top of the food chain here, but subject to a number of threats from native wildlife.
  • Inimical: Biochemistries based on methane, sulfur, silicon or other substances. Such ecosystems have fascinating industrial and biochemical applications but are basically useless (if not outright hostile) to ordinary human habitation.
  • Mutagenic [Rare]: A dangerous ecosystem with elements that can alter the physical or mental characteristics of a human being. Mutagenic biomes sometimes arise as a consequence of ‘forbidden’ weapons used in the chaos of the Disconnect.
  • Gaia [Rare]: Paradise, if such a place were real. Local animals are not simply friendly but actively helpful to human beings, nearly all plants are edible and produce in abundance, with a variety of beneficial biomedical benefits from prokaryotic life in the water, airborne pollen, etc.
  • Quantum Brainwaves [Rare]: One or more local species are capable of assessing, predicting or influencing the mental state of other living creatures through poorly understood means. This typically refers to tool-using sophonts, but absent those other forms of life including plantids, social insects or domesticable felinids have been observed with these capabilities. Mostly a curiosity opening the door to related research, certain Traits may make such organisms into an export commodity.

Ruins [Rare]

  • Human Ruins, Golden Age: Although post-Disconnect humanity has mostly surpassed their forebears, earlier humanity had a greater courage towards attempting massive high-energy particle field experiments and certain other technologies now deemed taboo.
  • Human Ruins, Disconnect Era: The reasons for these ruins are myriad. Specialized colonies that failed to become self-sufficient when their shipments from Earth often simply withered on the vine, and failed power grabs by colonial militaries sometimes caused civil wars that were ultimately destructive.
  • Human Ruins, Failed Wildcat Colony: Although the average wildcat colony might be a little more than a few prefabs, a grounded freighter and a mess of warrens, truly successful boomtowns (often built over older Golden Age or Alien ruins) can become truly impressive displays of unplanned urban sprawl. When resources dry up, the residents move on leaving these impressively haunting displays of human avarice.
  • Alien Ruins, Primitive: The remains of stone, timber and early glass and steel structures built by tool-using aliens, though their original inhabitants have long gone. Mostly a cultural curiosity to human colonists, they mostly provide shelter from the weather and visual cover from overhead surveillance.
  • Alien Ruins, Advanced: The leftovers of a technic, spacefaring race roughly comparable to humanity’s capabilities. A place of significant scientific and cultural interest.
  • Alien Ruins, Precursor: The remnants of an ancient, technologically advanced species whose achievements might be seen to have surpassed humanity’s before their departure from local space or decline into galactic night. These ruins are truly challenging puzzles for enterprising minds, with secrets of untold power ripe for the taking.

Locals [Rare]

  • Wildcat Colonists: Unaffiliated colonists who’ve struck out beyond colonized space and made lives for themselves on the frontier. A lucky few might incorporate or found nations of their own, but most suffer the jackboot of would-be explorers keen to be the truly first to discover a valuable planet.
  • UN Outpost: A self-sufficient observation post or bolthole, these were typically staffed by a few hundred brave souls from the Disconnect era who maintained their numbers through a mix of cryosleep, cloning and the occasional child. These facilities were typically meant to observe places of interest, service fuel scoops for passing exploration fleets and carry a cache of technical data that might some day reestablish interstellar society should the damage caused by van Graff’s conquest of Sol be truly irreparable. On habitable worlds they often overgrew their bases and built their own societies.
  • Independant Enclave: A minor state with modern technology, which has evaded contact interstellar society by their own ignorance or deliberate guile. Client State-sized and initially friendly.
  • Human Technobarbarians: A minor state with modern technology, which has seen the total breakdown of any pre-Disconnect social mores. Their cultures are anachronistic melanges of advanced technology and warrior mythology, with hierarchies based on the militaries they once were or might-makes-right. Popular sources for mercenaries.
  • Primitive Aliens, Paleolithic: Tool-using sapients who have not yet mastered the use of metals.
  • Primitive Aliens, Preindustrial: Tool-using sapients who have not yet mastered the use of the internal combustion engine.
  • Primitive Aliens, Industrial: Tool-using sapients who have not yet mastered spaceflight.
  • Primitive Aliens, Technobarbarians: As with human technobarbarians. More rarely, these are actually naturally physically superior specimens on planets with exotic biochemistries that make their apparently inferior weapons deadly to conventional forces such as recurve bows with multi-ton draw weights, or spears tipped with crystals that somehow hold a monomolecular edge. If the language barrier can be overcome, such individuals make superb mercenaries.
  • Primitive Aliens, Nightmares: Chittering masses of elastic, regenerating flesh, razor sharp talons, bulletproof chitin, acidic blood, etc. Rarely sapient, such creatures are sometimes used as terror weapons by those who view the regular deaths of their handlers as an acceptable cost.
  • Peer Aliens, Outpost: An outpost belonging to a peer alien race, existing for the purposes of trade, observing stellar phenomenon or any number of other reasons. The locals may be friendly but unlikely to diverge from their duties.
  • Peer Aliens, Settlement: Alien settlements are not dissimilar from the average human colony or wildcat settlement, with prefabricated units and shipborne infrastructure gradually replaced by permanent structures as the locals acclimate and develop the land. As the aliens are there to live in the long term, they’re likely to be amenable to trade and hope to develop good relations with any powers they understand to be nearby.
  • Peer Aliens, Visitation: A site of regular alien passage, using the planet to resupply or for more unusual purposes like hunting rituals, acquiring slaves or marooning political exiles.
  • Technolife, Human-derived: Technic structures or motiles of human origin but governed by artificial intelligences. Ranging from feral terraforming robots to “last laugh” hunter-killer machines set loose at the end of a war, or even families of rogue androids on the run.
  • Technolife, Alien-derived: Similar to human-derived, though their perspectives are often even less comprehensible to human beings.


The generation of star systems is covered under its own section. Space-based territories and megastructures are listed here for reference purposes, as they function identically to their planetary equivalents in many ways.


  • Moon: Objects large enough to become permanent satellites in orbit around a planet, most are rocky dwarf planets or asteroids. Habitable moons are rare and often the result of dedicated terraforming Earth-sized supermoons in the orbits of gas giant. Unlike planets, Moons sometimes have limited territorial capacity, represented as 'Moon [X]'.
  • Rings: Formed from the debris generated by gravitational capture of planetary candidates and other space objects, rings are beautiful and often contain valuable resources like ice or ores. The presence of rings unfortunately preclude orbital elevators, though other forms of orbital infrastructure can be built in the channels created by shepherd moons in the ring system.
  • Dust Cloud: Orbital dust and debris are unfortunately most often the product of Kessler Syndrome, though these can also occur naturally around young planets in the process of ring formation. Ideal hunting grounds for stealth vessels.
  • Gas Cloud: Dense deposits of atmospheric or exotic gasses in the near-orbit can be the result of an early stage of planetary formation, atmospheric stripping caused by disruption to the magnetosphere or gravity or the energetic consequences of comet capture. Occasionally dense enough to harvest at industrially significant levels, they mainly present a navigational hazard, eye candy for colonists and place for pirates to hide orbital caches.
  • Orbital Lifeforms [Rare]: Spaceborne lifeforms, typically docile grazers attracted by mineral or volatile deposits in the orbit or planetary uplands, drifting sargassos of extremophile plantids with ecosystems nested in their tangled branches or clusters of feral biomachinery left behind by past visitors. Gravity can coalesce enough of these organisms to provide anchorage to long-term habitation (treat as a life-bearing Moon).

Deep System

  • Asteroid: Floating rocks, typically ferry-silicate though compositions can vary greatly. Hollowed out, they make a great foundation for spacenoid settlement and orbital fortifications, and can towed into desirable orbits. The artificial environments in them are usually spartan but temperate, though some enterprising colonists use the opportunity afforded by hollowing an asteroid out to create zero-G paradises with tropical microclimates. Asteroid gravity caps out at Low normally and Standard/Heavy via spingrav segments. Unlike planets, Asteroids sometimes have limited territorial capacity between 1 and 3, set on discovery, represented as Asteroid [X].
  • Dwarf Planet: Large rocky bodies in (frequently irregular) Solar orbits. Same rules as a Moon.
  • Comet: An Oort object with a highly irregular orbit, comets are occasionally used for secret facilities or research laboratories, using their ice cladding to bury the thermals and EM from facility power systems. Occasionally they play host to temporary wildcat settlements, with locals cracking the objects for ice and other volatiles. Functionally an Asteroid with a multi-year trajectory through the system and some concealment against long-range observation.
  • Spaceborne Lifeforms [Rare]: Deep space organisms tend to be even less comprehensible than orbital life and are usually the result of deliberate engineering by alien species in the distant past.

Megastructures [Trait Locked]

  • Orbital Platforms: Smaller than habitats, these represent any one-off space labs, maintenance satellites or orbital outposts built to show the flag over a claim. Cheap, but has a 1-territory capacity and cannot hold more than 1 level of Infrastructure.
  • Orbital Array: On advanced planets with dense atmospheres and a lack of cheap hydrocarbons, a relatively common solution to energy shortages was the construction of these enormous low-density orbital structures, featuring solar collection arrays and limited facilities to maintain them. Often connected to the planetary surface via beanstalks, these structures have become less common due to the stigma caused by catastrophic Disconnect-era 'cablefalls' and successful miniaturization of industrial fusion reactors.
  • Space Elevator: Until the advent of cheap civilian fusion drives, space elevators were one of the enduring symbols of the interstellar human Golden Age. Powered by solar arrays at the end of the tether, these long, thin megastructures were cheaper and more efficient than reusable boosters and safer than surface-to-orbit launch railguns. It takes 5 space elevator segments to reach the orbit normally, 3 with None/Low Gravity and 7 with Hellish.
  • Habitats: Until the discovery of FTL travel, futurists increasingly imagined a built environment would function as a stopgap to overpopulation until Mars, Venus and the Jovian moons could be terraformed to livable status. A majority of these structures are still found around Sol and a handful of valuable systems on major tradelanes. Habitats come in a variety of shapes and sizes, with their own particular rules, but are functionally artificial planets with all that entails. As with Asteroids, their Gravity is limited to Standard or Heavy.
  • Space Hulk: FTL anomalies, gravitational attraction and deliberate malice result in these aggregated tangles of asteroids, space stations and lost space ships coming together. Like a habitat, except every single 'territory' can have completely different climate, gravity, occupants, etc.

Nation Traits

Interactions with Other Systems

Ship Combat

Ground Combat