It is the year 3500. Humanity has spread itself across the Solar System, turning formerly uninhabited - and uninhabitable - rocks into the realms of humankind. Worlds that were once simply names and places became countries and then nations. And for every world changed by man, man was changed in turn. The Old Wars and the Scourge annihilated boundaries and nationalities drawn up by the ancient Earthers, defining - and then redefining what was 'human'.
The Exodus off Earth began more than a millenia ago, as more and more humans took to the frontier of space. Great works were done - the terraforming of Mars, the (first) Venusian sunshield, the Ganymede Loop. Spanning many centuries, as an era it has faded into history and legend but has left an indelible mark upon the solar system.
What is 'human' and where is humanity's place in the cosmos has long been the topics of philosophical debate. The Scourge turned this into a physical debate - a vast movement to purge all that was wrong and deviant. It was a time of destruction and chaos - a time of madness. Thankfully for humanity, the fever that gripped it broke before everything they had built was laid to ruin.
Earth (and environs)
The ancient cradle of mankind, still the most populous of worlds was hit hard by the Scourge and even now it is a broken, scarred world. It has vast human potential but is hamstrung by the sheer scale of its problems. Nonetheless it is one of the three leading powers in the solar system.
The red dunes of Mars have been long tamed and the Bringer of War is now a world where humans can walk under the open sky. While ravaged by the Scourge, Mars' delicate and artificial ecosystem balance managed to survive and today Mars is one of the Big Three, with a large and diverse population.
The Jovian system has long been a center of industry, thanks to the easy access of raw materials and energy. While never as heavily populated as Earth or Mars due to the need for closed habitats it was also touched more lightly by the Scourge, leaving it the third of the three leading powers.
The Inner System
The inner system - Mercury and Venus - is the realm of energy superpowers. The primary material export of these worlds is antimatter and other exotic materials, generated in vast solar-powered farms. These go outwards in return for volatiles, rare near the boiling heat of the Sun.
The Middle System
The Belt and the Jovian Trojan asteroids make up the middle belt, a million flying mountains. Much of the raw materials that feed the solar system's industries come from the belt and the Trojans.
The Outer System
The outer worlds - Saturn, Uranus and Neptune - are all important players, though not as politically or economically powerful as the Big Three. Each has their own distinct culture and a millenia of history.
The Kuiper is the catch-all for those worlds and areas past the major planets - Pluto, Haumea and other major Kuiper belt objects, along with the scattered (but extremely numerous) Neptunian trojans. In the frigid outer edge of the solar system civilization is scattered, staying to a few major locales - in the wasteland of the Kuiper belt, help can be very far indeed.
At the edge of the solar system and far beyond the Kuiper Cliff lies Tyche, mankind's furthest outpost. An ice giant several times the mass of Earth, Tyche is months distant even by the fastest couriers. The dome cities spread across its icy satellites are testament to mankind's drive to spread out, but its distance leaves it far outside the events of the rest of the system. However, Tyche is both distant enough (but not too distant) and massive enough that jump drives can be used to reach it and a jump to Tyche has become a common test of a newly-commissioned jumpship. This elimination of intervening distance is sure to have an unsettling effect on Tyche's insular residents.
Politics in the solar system is determined by more than just simple distance from the Sun. Differential revolution means that worlds neighbors this year may be on the far side of the sun from each other in a few. It is instead ideology and self-interest that binds the various nations together - or seperates them. Each of the three major worlds has grown distant from the others, leading the solar system into a trio of armed camps and a seemingly ever-changing number of small powers.
- The Belt:
- Jovian Trojans (Leading):
- Jovian Trojans (Trailing):
- Neptunian Trojans (Leading):
- Neptunian Trojans (Trailing):
Making a Solar Destiny nation
Assign your points to each of the categories until you run out. That'll give you the basis around which to write up the details of your nation.
Modifiers listed apply bonus points towards a particular rank, rather than directly modifying the Rank itself. For example, (Infrastructure +3) means that three bonus points are automatically added to the Infrastructure category, and (Growth -2) means that two points are subtracted from Growth. The player must make up the remainder to gain a new rank; if only part of the point cost is fulfilled; excess points are wasted.
Negative modifiers do not need to be bought up to zero, though values below 0 can be assumed to be particularly exaggerated.
- Minor Habitat (20 points to spend): A backwater nowhere habitat.
- Major Habitat (30 points to spend): A small alliance of habitats, a single minor world. Adds +1 Growth Potential.
- Minor State (32 points to spend): A lesser state, though one that cannot be ignored. An exceptionally populous minor world. Adds +1 to National Advantages.
- Midsized State (30 points to spend): A fairly typical midsized nation; a typical rocky world. Adds an additional 125 Military Points and 150 Military Support.
- Major State (28 points to spend): A large nation with a substantial, diverse population spread across many habitats or provinces. Probably one of the gas giants. Adds an additional 250 Military Points, 300 Military Support and 25 Construction Ratebut suffers -1 to Growth Potential.
- Big Three (28 points to spend): A top-tier state with a massive population. Adds an additional 500 Military Points, 600 Military Support and 50 Construction Rate, but suffers -2 to Growth Potential.
- Rank 0 (0 points): Your nation has no advantages. Everyone should have something to feel special about :(
- Rank 1 (1 point): Your nation has a single National Advantage.
- Rank 2 (2 points): Your nation has two National Advantages.
- Rank 3 (4 points): Your nation has three National Advantages.
- Rank 4 (6 points): Your nation has four National Advantages.
- Rank 5 (9 points): Your nation has five National Advantages.
This field returns points, instead of costing points.
- Rank 0 (0 points): Your nation has no unusual flaws, just the usual minor problems.
- Rank 1 (+1 point): Your nation has a single National Disadvantage.
- Rank 2 (+2 points): Your nation has two National Disadvantages.
- Rank 3 (+3 points): Your nation has three National Disadvantages, plus one chosen by the GM (!)
- Rank 4 (+4 points): Your nation is a hellhole; expect to get hammered by whatever the GM feels to throw at you. It is entirely out of your control at this point.
- Rank 0 (0 points): Well, you could probably rearm a warship . . . Construction Rating 20
- Rank 1 (1 point): Construction Rating 45
- Rank 2 (2 points): Construction Rating 70
- Rank 3 (3 points): Construction Rating 90
- Rank 4 (4 points): Construction Rating 110
- Rank 5 (5 points): Massive, well developed planetary and spaceborn industry. Construction Rating 125
- Every additional Rank of Infrastructure adds 15 to the Construction Rating.
- Rank 0 (0 points): Overcrowding and resource shortages are chronic; you need relief and now! x6 Infrastructure cost.
- Rank 1 (1 point): Either planning or natural growth has put you at a comfortable maximum, but you have nowhere to grow. x5 Infrastructure cost.
- Rank 2 (2 points): You have room to grow, but not much. x4 Infrastructure cost.
- Rank 3 (3 points): Most of your resources have been set up to be exploited but you haven't even begun to do so yet. x3 Infrastructure cost.
- Rank 4 (4 points): So many natural resources you're probably selling them to people. x2 Infrastructure cost.
- Rank 5 (5 points): The Frontier. Resources are plentiful, with plenty you probably haven’t even begun to tap yet. x1 Infrastructure cost.
- Rank 0 (0 points): 50 military points
- Rank 1 (1 point): 200 military points
- Rank 2 (2 points): 350 military points
- Rank 3 (3 points): 490 military points
- Rank 4 (4 points): 620 military points
- Rank 5 (5 points): 740 military points
- Every Rank past 5 adds +100 military points.
- Rank 0 (0 points): Your nation simply sees little need for a large military; 100 military support
- Rank 1 (1 point): 300 military support
- Rank 2 (2 points): 500 military support
- Rank 3 (3 points): 675 military support
- Rank 4 (4 points): 825 military support
- Rank 5 (5 points): 950 military support
- Every Rank past 5 adds +100 additional military support.
- Rank 0 (0 points): No real military, more like a glorified police force if not an armed rabble.
- Rank 1 (1 point): Below average, your soldiers are probably decent enough on the personal level but your high-level doctrines and organization is undoutedly weak.
- Rank 2 (3 points): Average armed forces, nothing special but no glaring weaknesses.
- Rank 3 (5 points): A respectable military force, definately something to be reckoned with.
- Rank 4 (8 points): Best of the best, your military is well trained.
Superweapons For full Superweapon rules, see the relevant section below.
- Rank 0 (0 points): Your nation sees no real value in superweapons and may never have more than a single superweapon, period.
- Rank 1 (1 point): While your nation sees superweapons as something to acquire, your engineers are just insufficiently crazy to build them well (or the projects are plagued by mismanagement). Superweapons cost 200% of normal cost.
- Rank 2 (2 points): While a bit laggard, your nation has a decent stock of superweaponry. You have a second Tactical Superweapon slot but superweapons still cost 150% of base cost.
- Rank 3 (3 points): Your superweaponry is an important part of your military arsenal. You have three Tactical Superweapon slots and no cost modifiers to superweapons.
- Rank 4 (5 points): You have as many superweapons as a typical evil overlord. In addition to three Tactical Superweapon slots, you have two Strategic Superweapon slots and a cost multiplier of 75%.
- Rank 5 (8 points): Really? Fine. You have unlimited superweapon slots - Tactical, Strategic and National and a cost multiplier of 50%. Go crazy.
- Rank 0 (0 points): Sensitive information regularly gets lost on laptops.
- Rank 1 (1 point): Typical hypercorp security measures.
- Rank 2 (2 points): Run of the mill intelligence apparatus.
- Rank 3 (4 points): Many Bothans died to bring us this information.
- Rank 4 (6 points): Sure, I can get the information you want chummer. Got the nuyen?
- Rank 0 (0 points): Your nation’s overall advancement level in fundamental fields such as energy generation, metallurgy, etc is below the solar system norm. Major powers that have low technology like this almost certainly compensate with an assload of industry.
- Rank 1 (4 points): Average advancement, no glaring weaknesses or strong points.
- Rank 2 (8 points): An impressive display of technological aptitude that puts you above most of your peers. Basically, you’re The Star Kingdom of Manticore.
FTL Drives 0: Has no ability to design or construct FTL ships. 1: Has the basic theory for FTL jumpships, but definately behind the curve. All your ships operate at one class lower (ie, jumpships operate as if they are Class-II, not Class-III) 3: The principles of FTL travel are well-understood. 6: You invented the damn things and know a few tricks others don’t. All your ships operate at one class higher (ie, jumpships as if they are Class-IV, not Class-III).
Outsystem Territory 0: No outsystem territories, strictly a Sol system power. The norm at this stage of the game, really. 1: Little more than fueling stops and barren rocks. 3: You have an actual outsystem presence of a few (armed?) stations and as a result can conduct meaningful fleet operations in the Great Beyond. 6: You’ve actually dropped a self-sustaining colony on a habitable world. Mucho bragging rights.
Your diplomats are tireless and your leaders routinely expect to get Nobel Peace Prizes every year they're in power.
For whatever reason your state is particularly important to the solar system economy and political structure, moreso than strict national statistics would suggest. As a consequence you can use your economic might to deflect diplomatic opprobium, safe in your economic importance.
While various body-modification technologies have been used since the Exodus - to the point that cyberware, cloning, biomods and the like is as taken for as granted as ubiquitous computation, communications and space travel - the Scourge drove many of the more extreme modifications underground. Heavy deviation from the human norm, intelligent robots, heavy mental augmentation and similar are rare outside of certain enclaves. Your nation is one such.
Your nation's research and development complex may not be efficient but it is sure creative. Prototypes and weird one-offs for all manner of situations abound in your military. Some of them may even work properly. Note that this does not mean your overall technology level is superior, just that you combine what you have in more weird ways. It also gives you an additional Tactical Superweapon slot, or you may instead 'upgrade' one of your existing slots one level (Tactical to Strategic or Strategic to National)
The rediscovery of ancient treasures is a national pastime - sometimes these are culturally significant, sometimes valuable.
The people of your nation are particularly patriotic - or brainwashed - and support the actions taken by your leaders almost unconditionally and will resist foreign culture, memes and associated blandishment.
While the practice of personal firearm possession did not normally take hold in early off-Earth colonies - nobody wants holes punched in the life support - many later colonies became increasingly robust and more than capable of withstanding any plausible damage from small arms. In some of these, an armed populace reestablished itself, making them much harder to occupy by invaders.
A Game of Enders
Ethics has never stopped your nation when it comes to making the better warfighter. Your battle schools churn out universal soldiers to lead your fleets and strike your enemies.
Your country has a particular strength in one general field, improving their effective advancement level by one in it. Broad fields such as 'weapons', 'armor', etc are acceptable. This trait is incompatible with Rank 2 General Advancement - you're superior everywhere.
No Mass Shadow
Without any large, local masses to distort local space, deep-space habitats can be easily reached by QTE-driven ships. This can be an economic advantage as it makes travel much more convenient, but it is also a military disadvantage as it makes travel much more convenient. Any polity without a major anchoring body (eg asteroid or Trojan states) should have this disadvantage.
Thanks to some past (or current) actions, your state is quite unpopular among the greater community of nations. Most others will treat you with suspicion and bad assumptions are paramount.
Social Contract Dispute
Your state doesn't work as it should. Cultural and social norms are often violated, radical voices drown out those of moderates and there is a lack of trust across all levels of society. While the government has managed to keep a lid on this - so far - the situation is volatile and gives foreign actors plenty of room to make problems.
All Children Left Behind
Unfortunately, your nation's educational and R&D infrastructure is not what it should be. Acquiring or development new technologies is slow and difficult. This Disadvantage is incompatible with any top-rank technology-related category.
Very Super Weapons
Your military (or civilian) leaders are enamoured with the idea of achieving military dominance via superweaponry. While this means you have one additional of each Superweapon slot, the cost to build all conventional military weapons is doubled.
The Scourge of Space
The Inhuman, the Unnatural, the Perverse - all of these were the casualties of the Scourge. But even as that era has faded, your nation has kept that mindset alive, internalizing it. Your citizens have little time for those that deviant substantially from the basic human body- and mindplan.
Your country has a particular weakness in a broad field, such as weapons, electronics, etc, making them operate at one rank lower in that field. This trait is incompatible with Rank o General Advancement - you're inferior everywhere.
- Corvette/Frigate squadron: 1
- Destroyer squadron: 3
- Light Cruiser: 2
- Heavy Cruiser: 5
- Battlecruiser: 12
- Battleship: 15
- Superbattleship: 25
- Light Carrier: 5
- Fleet Carrier: 15
- Supercarrier: 25
- Class-IV Jump Drives
- Scout: 1
- Class-III Jump Drives
- Light Jumpship: 3
- Heavy Jumpship: 8
- Class-II Jump Drives
- System Control Ship: 35
- Tactical Superweapon: 12
- Strategic Superweapon: 50
- National Superweapon: 200
- Fueling Post: 5
All nations have a certain ability to support fleets of warships and armies of ground troops. This is their Military Support, and military units fill it at a 1:1 ratio. Due to the cost of large militaries, when a nation's military exceeds its support, all prices are increased by 100%. If a nation's military exceeds more than twice its support, all prices by increased by 200%. For every additional multiple of a nation's base support, cost increases by another 100%.
If the nation is at war and has suffered sufficient losses that its military is less than half of its support level, all military items cost half as much.
While all spaceships are designed for extended operations, those operating around other stars have various limits that they would not normally have. In general these are related to a lack of consumables - fuel, mostly - though crew endurance is also an issue. In practice this means that for every star system past the first that a ship goes through without stopping at a Fueling Post its combat value is halved.
All jumpships are defined by their ability to transport ships across interstellar space. The limits for each is as follows:
- Scouts have no ability to transport any other ships beyond a handful of small craft.
- Light Jumpship: Maximum of 4 MP worth of shipping.
- Heavy Jumpship: Maximum of 10 MP worth of shipping.
- System Control Ship: Maximum of 4 MP worth of shipping.
Some jump-capable vessels - particularly SCSes - are sharply limited by the distance they can jump. To get around this, they are sometimes fitted with 'jump boosters' to increase the distance they can travel. Jump boosters are large single-use modules that temporarily increase the jump class of a ship by 1. They cost 20% of the total cost of the jumpship plus whatever is being transported (empty jumpships are easier to boost than loaded ones) and require 1 cargo spot, or 4 on SCSes. After a jump booster is used, it is ruined, discharged or otherwise useless and is discarded.
Superweapons are weapons of uprecedented and often unusual power, beyond the usual guns-and-armor fare that dominates conventional militaries. Rarely are any two identical. Because of this Superweapons have their own specific rules. They are as follows:
- All superweapons are paid for and consume upkeep like conventional military units.
- There are three tiers of superweapons; Tactical, Strategic and National. Each is progressively larger and more powerful, but also more expensive.
- Each tier of superweapon is most effective against superweapons of the next lower tier - A small squad of Valkyrie fighters will exploit the Death Star's two-meter weakness, while the Death Star will vaporise the Argama with its superlaser and the Argama and its mobile suit team will delay, drive off or shoot down the outnumbered Valkyries.
- All superweapons have a number of abilities; each starts with two and every additional increases cost by 50% of base cost. Deficiencies can be taken to gain an additional ability at no cost, though deficiencies should be meaningful and potentially crippling if something can take advantage of them.
- Every nation has three superweapon 'slots' - one each of Tactical, Strategic and National. Lower tier types may fill higher tier slots; ie it is acceptable to have three Tactical superweapons without penalty (see below), but having three Strategic superweapons will always invoke a penalty.
- For every superweapon that a nation possesses in excess of their slots, the cost and upkeep of ALL superweapons they possess is increased by 10%, cumulative. Thus a nation with three Strategic superweapons (two in excess of the slot limit) increases the cost/upkeep of all of its superweapons by 20%. Building a fourth would increase this to 30%. Note that the cost increase comes in to effect as of construction, not after - Death Star #4 would cost +30%, not +20%.
Tactical superweapons are the most diverse and versatile of the lot. They can range from the usual Gundam or experimental Valkyrie fare to supersoldiers (Master Chief or Raptor Team in nanosuits) or even superspies (James Bond or Jason Bourne). The specific abilities they have should reflect what they are - supersoldiers should have Infiltration, etc. Overall Tactical superweapons are not especially powerful but they have strong character shields and should be considered major plot elements. Tactical superweapons are the only superweapons that can be FTL transported.
Strategic superweapons are more powerful and more critical - high mobility battleships with (or without) onboard mecha complement, Bolos, ballistic missile submarines, overpowered mobile armors, etc. At the most archetypical, they are the 'cool hero ship'. While it is entirely acceptable for a strategic superweapon to include a set of high-end aerospace craft or the like as part of its concept, a large force of superior aircraft or tanks with no obvious 'core' goes against the fundamental concept of superweapons and is not acceptable. Strategic superweapons still have a certain degree of character shielding but as powerful military assets they are not as free to shrug off minor irritations - they have firepower and defenses for that. 'Planetbound' is an acceptable deficiency for Strategic superweapons, and any strategic superweapon that is going to travel outside of Sol will need to buy an FTL drive as an ability. If so equipped, they travel as a Class-III vessel.
The largest and most powerful of superweapons, and the one that best deserves the title SUPERweapon, National superweapons can range from mile-long transforming city-ships armed with fleet-busting beam cannons to (semi-)mobile fortresses to vast and ridiculously powerful defensive complexes. National superweapons have no character shields, they are instead obscenely powerful. A national superweapon capable of FTL travel needs to allocate two abilities to this ability and furthermore the initial two abilities may not be used for this. If so equipped, they travel as a Class-II vessel.
Getting There and Back
Quantum Transition Engine
First developed more than a millenia ago, Quantum Transition Engines (colloquially known as QTEs or ‘Cuties’, or Q-Drives for the more straightlaced) revolutionized space travel. A non-newtonian propulsion method, they generate a macroquantum effect that essentially ‘tunnels’ the QTE and surroundings across significant distance. The effect propagates directly forward at the speed of light and as such does not violate relativity – it would take much longer to cheat Einstein. However, as it takes substantial time to recycle a QTE between jumps, the effective pseudovelocity is far below c, rarely exceeding ~1 light second jumps every 10-12 minutes for high-performance units and giving an effective pseudovelocity of 4-500 km/s or about 1 AU every 4 days. Outside of strong mass influences (several tens of light-seconds of distance for the Earth) the quantum effect can travel much further before dissipating, resulting in approximately an order of magnitude increase in pseudovelocity. This is known as ‘high cruise’.
- A typical civilian ship goes at 2.5 light seconds per hour.
- A typical military ship goes at 5 light seconds per hour.
- For high-travel, any ship outside of a defined distance from a significant sub-stellar mass can travel 10 times normal speed.
- Addendum - Any ship in the interstellar void beyond the interference of a stellar curb can travel even faster. This is only particularly relevant in the deep Kuiper, many tens of AUs from the sun.
- Star ‘curb’: 500 light seconds
- Gas Giant ‘curb’: 100 light seconds
- Major Body ‘curb’: 25 light seconds
- Minor Body ‘curb’: 10 light seconds
This would put Earth-Pluto travel times at 16-40 days, one way. A journey from Sol to Alpha Centauri would take approximately a century.
Tachyon Jump Drive
While a handful of interstellar sleeperships were launched in over the centuries, outfitted with special QTEs designed for the exceptionally flat space-time between stars and capable of upwards of 10% lightspeed even without using their immense antimatter drives, it seemed that for all intents and purposes humanity was locked inside its solar system, unless one wanted to be very patient. All that changed with the recent publishing of a physics research paper that laid out the foundation of a new theory of FTL transit. The critical difference between this one and previous such as wormholes and Alcubierre drives was that the ‘fold displacement device’ was actually workable.
Jump drives are radically different beasts from the familiar QTEs of solar system craft large and small. First and most notably, jump drives are capable of bridging the distances between two stars essentially instantly. They are also extremely large, cumbersome devices; whereas a QTE or newtonian drive is a ship component, a jump drive essentially is the ship.
A jumpdrive (and thus by extension a typical jumpship design) is a series of exotic-matter field generators linked to a microsingularity core, making them look like nothing so much as a cylindrical or prismatic piece of industrial machinery, several hundred meters long. The mass and strict design criteria of a jump drive make the best of them clumsy and pathetically ill-suited as anything other than interstellar tugs. Some variation on drive geometry have allowed for the construction of more combat-suitable jumpships - the so-called 'system control ship' - but these pay by having shorter maximum jump distances.
In operation, jumpships are designed to spread a field envelope around one or more in-system ships. While hard docking is not technically required, it is generally much safer to do through a jump. After each jump the drive must be purged, which involves both cooling it down (larger jumpships can go through a hundred tons of water in less than a minute, vented into space as superheated steam) and then the much longer process of stabilizing and damping the post-jump ‘static’ in the drive, which can take a week or more.
Jump drives can only function between stellar-mass objects, and furthermore ones that are generally of less than 8 light years distance. This has created an interesting dynamic with regards to exploration and expansion, as ships must take specific routes outward.
Jump drives are rated in five classes - I through V - which measure how far a ship can make a jump, with higher class drives being able to jump further.