Stars of Steel

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  • 4807-4882 - The Arrival
They came out of the stormy skies, aliens from beyond the stars. The term they called themselves translated to Chandlers, the "merchants of light", and they had a simple offer; they were here to trade. They offered physical goods, knowledge and travel, all for often unusual prices such as (most notoriously) a small number of humans "Of an unusual sort and psyche." All these were prices that the kings and leaders of the 49th century were quite ready to pay. Many of the goods the Chandlers sold were ultimately believed to have originated elsewhere, built by unknown other alien races; the Chandlers themselves being characteristically mute on this subject. Overall in retrospect the Chandlers demonstrated a notable, almost reckless lack of concern for the end-use of their goods, though they did completely reject the prospect of selling arms or anything that could be easily weaponized. Other technologies theat they sold proved relatively easy to understand and replicate; by the middle of the 49th century humanity had a crude grasp of electricity and levitation engines trailed by its collective theoretical understanding.
As a general rule the goods sold by the Chandlers came 'as-is' with no documentation beyond that required to operate them. They were mostly used intensively and to the point of disrepair long before their operating principles were understood - in many cases, even before relevant analytical technologies and techniques were invented. Consequently while the Chandler's goods gave humanity a leg up in many fields, it was only a temporary one with humanity left to puzzle out how to copy or replace them with its own collective ingenuity. Many of the most sophisticated and powerful items were ultimately found on the colonies and it seems likely that the Chandlers were even less concerned than usual about long-term effects on worlds with populations of only a few million. In a number of (in)famous cases, these long-term effects didn't manifest until generations after the departure of the Chandlers.
This is not to say that the Chandlers were amoral and uncaring in all their dealings; they responded to a series of severe famines during the mid-49th century in a typically Chandler way, by transporting those suffering off Gaia to habitable worlds. Many of these settlements both large and small were placed in the outer edges of what was colloquially called 'known space' if not beyond. Some, such as Tempest, were isolated for a century or more; as the Chandler-supplied heighliners only went to predefined locations and human-directed exploration during the 49th and 50th centuries was a slow, fumbling affair it was easy for these 'unknown' colonies to be completely missed. It was not until the Reconnection-era survey of accessible star systems that humanity had a thorough catalogue of human-settled systems and worlds, including a few settlements on otherwise inhabited worlds that had simply never been identified (typically due to being on different continents) until the widespread arrival of orbital remote imaging in the exocolonies. The legacy of these population movements was that by the sudden departure of the Chandlers in 4882, roughly one in ten humans lived outside of Gaea's atmosphere; fifty million on the sky islands, Nergal or Inanna and at least a hundred million spread over dozens of exocolonies in other solar systems.
  • 4885-5030 - The Long Absence and the end of the Heroic Age of Space Exploration
The departure of the Chandlers had a very rapid effect on human space travel as it was soon discovered that without the Chandlers providing regular navigational updates, the automated heighliners could no longer find a way to their destinations. By 4885, only two years since the Chandlers' departure, half of all destinations were inaccessible and by the end of the decade the number of extrasolar worlds that the heighliners could still path to had fallen to roughly a half-dozen with several more that could only be visited intermittently, a number that stayed essentially static for the next century. As most of the collective Gaean merchant skyfleet consisted of heighliners, this meant that most of the human-settled worlds were economically isolated; these navigational limits also concentrated heighliner activity in both the solar system proper and what would late become known as the 'core worlds'.
By 4890 the Long Absence was in full swing; outside of the half-dozen systems still regularly accessible by heighliners the excolonies were effectively on their own. The occasional storm-blown levidrive tramp or mail ship that made it to the outer systems brought news from Gaea - and most critically, books and technical volumes - but plantations rotted and mines went unworked as exocommerce withered. In most colonies life slowed and lacking many of the industrial advancements of the homeworld they settled into a rustic existence with a low level of urbanization. Ironically at this same time Gaea was going through a period of rapid development, urbanization and widespread industrialization.
Human-built leviships were woefully incapable of making up for the collapsed heighliner trade; with the exception of a few behemoths like the Great Northern none were remotely comparable in size or cargo capacity to the heighliners and even those that were suffered due to simply being slower and less efficient in various respects. Most were much smaller, meant for moving relatively small cargos or non-mercantile activities such as exploration. While they could continue to deliver mail, some passengers and high-value items this was a highly limited substitute, particularly given the limits of Gaean navigational abilities in the 50th century. Furthermore over the decades the black-box levidrives and related machinery slowly began to fail, further reducing humanity's ability to travel outside the Solar system. By the Great War a quarter of all long-range levidrive ships (including heighliners in this total) were inoperable or unsafe for planetary landings. By the World War two decades later this number had risen to half and finally by 4982, the centennial of the Chandler's departure, exactly one dozen individual levidrive ships still operated, all of them too much valuable to be used for mundane cargo travel. Intermediate-range leviships built during the latter half of the 50th century could replace - and even improve upon - the aging heighliners, but only in the core systems. More problematic from a social perspective, the pressure valve of departure for the exocolonies was greatly reduced and the 50th century seemed to make up for all the intercine violence and political upheavals that the 49th had avoided.
The century and a half of the Long Absence also saw the propagation of various ethos, ideologies and even in several colonies, genetic changes. One of the most well known of the last was Cliona, where a "eugenics" modification purchased off the Chandlers spread through the population via what was later recognized as (and formed much of the late 50th century understanding of) a gene drive. By the time this gene drive burnt itself out a century and a half later less than one in five Clionans was still a 'classic' human. Even more unusual changes happened on the isolated colony of Tempest where no men had existed for almost two centuries. Unusual technology was all but left behind by the Chandlers on more than a dozen colony worlds.
It is notable that until the latter half of the 50th century even the idea of battles between spacecraft was seen as fantastical. It was only the development of electronic detection system and guided missiles that made it worthy of consideration; until then ships were effectively unfindable with just the simple telescopes that existed and weapon ranges were all but nonexistent. The security situation of the tripartite cold war pushed theory into praxis and by the turn of the millenia there were a half-dozen embryonic space fleets patrolling the Solar System. These early fleets were made up small and not particularly numerous deep-sky ships; by the Peneleos Incident some four decades after the first armed deep-sky ship was launched a single wet-navy supercarrier still outmassed every deep-sky warship from Gaea combined. That would soon change.
  • 5030-5080 - Second Contact
The great advances in electronics that ushered in the information age during the latter half of the 50th century revolutionized deep sky navigation during the early 51st century; navigational capabilities doubled (in terms of reliably accessible systems) between 5000 and 5010 and doubled again during the following decade. Various other technologies likewise matured and the great renaissance of space travel and a return to the halcyon days of the late 49th century seemed to be dawning. Then the Nureeg attacked.
The Nureeg were an offshoot of another alien race, the Hinsivaal. Several centuries in advance of humanity, across distant stars their star-spanning mutual civilization had fallen upon hard times with the accidental ecocide of their homeworld. One group, the Ylgaric Conclave, had made its way to human space in a hunt for, to put it simply, loot. While their interest was in technic artifacts from the Chandlers, being able to get resources from now entirely isolated human exocolonies was a boon as well. Having arrived in human space in the last decade or so of the 50th century they slowly expanded their raids and pseudo-imperial domain. The intersection of their expanding territories and the expanding frontiers of Gaean re-exploration was inevitable and it happened in 5027. It was a scuffle that would only end one way, the Ylgaric raiders pouncing on the Jaian Imperial scout ship Peneleos which barely managed to squawk a distress call about 'alien attackers' before being seized - it was the third scout ship to be lost in as many months but the first to do so within receiving range of a nearby station.
At first this was seen as a trick and rhetoric began to escalate sharply, but several months later, an entirely unrelated Ylgaric convoy arrived in the Maeve system and forced the surrender of a set of colonies that had little more than gendarmeries and whom the vague rumors of space pirates were treated as entertaining falsehoods. The Lemurian ship Monitor was destroyed on the ground by some form of energy weapon, recorded by dozens of viewpoints. Weeks later, the core world of Antillia was raided; with a population of over a hundred million it was a brazen attack and one that brushed aside all resistance. The nation-states of Gaea and the core worlds were stunned. Public panic set in and was then brought under control while a tectonic realignment took place in the halls of power; the cold war powers warily stared at each other but this was a threat bigger than any of them. By the start of the 4th decade of the 51st century, Gaea and the core worlds were reorganizing themselves under the aegis of the Human Alliance.
During its first fifty years the Alliance achieved precious few victories, all of them on the ground. Hampered by generational gaps in technology the only answer was sustained militarization and a dedication to defensive wars on the ground and to that end much of the energies of the cold war were redirected to defensive preparation and planning. A seemingly endless series of regular and irregular weapons were designed, built and shipped to the core worlds and the colonies not currently under 'xenothreat'. Parallel efforts were made to capture alien technology to be investigated and reverse-engineered. The massive industrial world took its toll on the human core worlds as well; by the midcentury the socialist Bafsk Pact, already facing various internal stresses, had been all but relegated to an industrial-military annex of the other major Alliance blocs and was derelict by the final decades of the century.
The militarism of this period overshadowed the expansion of civilian interests out of the Gaean core. The Nureeg were never the 'space raiders' that Gaean propaganda rapidly portrayed them as; boarding and ransacking random civilian ships was vanishingly rare. Much more commonly they would impose a toll, often in valuable metals or other refined substances and otherwise let traffic proceed. Individual human-inhabited worlds would have a larger-scale but similar extractive relationship. So long as the Conclave was paid, they mostly ignored the human goings-on. This led to extensive private-sector development outside of patrolled Gaean space along with a steady exodus of individuals from 'safe' space into 'alien' space. While still a small fraction of the population movements that naturally happened in core worlds, between 5030 and 5080 more than ten million people left Alliance-controlled space.
For their part much of the Ylgaric Conclave were slow to recognize just what the human homeworld sector had mutated into; actual conflict was intermittent (in truth, enough to feed Gaean paranoia but nowhere near a meaningfully threat to the core worlds) and captured human weapons were taken as trophies, not for analysis. Too, the Ylgarics were not much of a state; they had few of what were considered 'conventional' apparati of state and were more concerned by their own internal politicking between their cliques to pay attention to the distant military antics of the humans they still held in mild disregard. The Gaean preparation for an offensive to push back the front lines thus came as a surprise, one the Nureeg of the Ylgaric Conclave took poorly.
  • 5080-5100 - The Long War
The end of the 51st century saw the Alliance finally move onto the offense. While still far behind the Nureeg, a half-century of militarism and reverse-engineering had given the Gaeans a large and well-organized military. The Alliance's strategy was simple; recognizing that they continued to be comprehensively outclassed in space they would advance progressively and install a significant garrison on each 'liberated' world which would then act as a logistics base and launching-off point for the next advance. Even with the major blocs each spearheading individual offenses it was a fundamentally slow, measured process.
Early Nureeg responses were mostly to just scatter a few munitions packs as they departed but a kinetic reaction was inevitable. The Ylgarics had a handful of true warships but most had been maintained in mothballs for many decades. The more common 'raider' was essentially an armed transport, carrying troops and 'payments' with a light arsenal to protect itself or enforce the will of its captain on recalcitrant locals. While Nureeg technical superiority was such that even a militarized transport could fight and win against a cutting-edge Gaean warship, each advance fleet could number up to a hundred and landing zones rapidly became thickets of defensive systems.
The two decades of war saw a stiffening of Ylgaric defenses and the introduction of new weapon on both sides, but despite the various advantages the Ylgaric Conclave had begun with they could never get into a position of being able to put a halt to the Alliance's plodding advances. The industrial might of eight billion humans was simply not something less than one-hundredth that in Nureeg could match and Alliance technology was catching up far faster than the scattershot, amateurish Ylgaric R&D could invent new counters.
While Alliance propaganda painted a picture of a liberation struggle, many of the human-settled worlds that underwent the so-called liberation saw it as nothing of the sort. The Alliance could often be zealous and overbearing and a common sentiment was that the 'liberation' had simply traded one overlord for another. This friction continued to poison relations between the Gaeans and the exocolonies.
  • 5100-5148 - The Long Peace
With the Ylgaric Conclave broken and surrendered, humanity could finally call itself preeminent in its space. Within a decade the Alliance had achieved de facto control over all known remaining human exocolonies and settlements; under this aegis the various major Alliance member-states established their own informal empires and webs of influence while core world based megacorps flourished.
The postwar peace was hardly peaceful though. While there was a great deal of inertia in a seventy year alliance, the major blocs in the Alliance were already jockeying for strategic and political positions before the war was even concluded - as they had before, but at a much accelerated pace. The lack of external threat allowed for all manner of quiet disputes to go loud and fundamental differences in ideologies to start coming between different human polities and corruption to take root. Various local insurgencies also smouldered in the periphery as distant settlements - most of which had long deviated from their Gaean origins over two or three centuries of isolation - chafed under distant Gaean rule. Some of these were spurred on by core world rivals or by megacorps angling for favorable contracts.
These political upheavals even extended to some of the major Alliance blocs and states; with the conclusion of the war against the Ylgaric Conclave several major Cadmean states, exhausted by a generation of warfare, immediately withdrew from all Alliance military operations. A chain of events saw their highly corpocratic colonies in the core break with the Gaean states to form the Organization for Mutual Assistance and, not coincidentally, regain a measure of voice in the Alliance. Other socio-economic pressures saw a wave of agitators and
The discovery and activation of the Fargate leading to the Vaal sector and subsequent contact with the Nureeg and Hinsivaal therein spurred a new generation of weapons but did little to revitalize the Alliance. Thousands of warships large and small, tens of thousands of fighters and hundreds of thousands of armored vehicles were built in preparation for a war that never came. Human and Vaali diplomats struck deals, found peace and forged relations. And in doing so, put the final poison into the Alliance's body politic.
The war and the peace had been long and exhausting for the core worlds and with a massive multilateral treaty signed with the Vaali, the perceived threat dwindled and the massive military budgets were seen as a wasteful drain. The long habits of alliance were difficult to shake however, and it took two decades for reforms to percolate though - and then only two years for the Alliance to unravel. Millions of soldiers returned home as innumerable pieces of weaponry were left in local hands.
  • 5148-5165 - Chaos in the Periphery
The dissolution of the Alliance had two noteworthy political effects. The first was that the major blocs were now free to scheme openly against one another as core world politics went through a tectonic evolution. While already reluctant allies for one, perhaps two generations by this point, the end of the Alliance meant that they were allies no more. The second was that dozens of exocolonies and settlements (re)gained their autonomy. This unwinding of various historic distortions was fertile ground for both proxy and genuine conflicts and for every brushfire war that the core blocs covertly (or not so covertly) supported, there was another that sucked in peacekeepers.
This period notably saw the coalescence of both the Ironheart Pact and the Zodiac Coalition.
  • 5165-5190 - Rebalance and Realignment
The last twenty-five years have seen a slow but steady rebalance as the periphery settlements develop and their politics mature. Many were benificiaries of Alliance largess decades previously and now they were increasingly able to engage the distant core world blocs if not as equals, at least as counterparts.


  • The Lumina: All that is familiar and everyday is the Lumina, the place of planets, stars and people; it is 'reality' in the colloquial sense. There is little to say about the Lumina that is not known intuitively simply by living in it.
  • The Umbra: As the name implies, the Umbra is the dark mirror of the Lumina. The Umbra is a hyper-entropic realm, though one with a close connection to the Lumina. Away from the distorting effect of large masses it is quite easy to cross the so-called Umbral Boundary, going from the realm of energy to the realm of darkness. There are even living things that can cross over, strange cosmic fauna.
  • The Astra: The third plane, the Astra is the 'otherside' to the 'light' side of the Lumina and the 'dark' side of the Umbra and of the three, it is by far the least understood. Generations of science and philosophy have barely managed to agree that it even has properties, most notably it is through which the starways pass, but can it truly said to exist or is it merely a philoso-mathematical construct to explain the behavior of various phenomenon? Its mysteries are unlikely to be deciphered anytime soon and there are some that wonder if doing so would reveal some unsettling truths about reality.
  • Starways: Interstellar travel is done via starways, hyperdimensional 'tunnels' that allow to shortcut the tyranny of the lightspeed limit. The internal length of a starway has no particular relation to that outside, though is always greatly compressed; a trip that would take light itself years or decades can be undertaken by a spacecraft in a matter of days instead. This makes them only way to traverse the stars in a reasonable timeframe. As such they define the shape of human space. Many starways are standalone, connecting two distant points, but the most important are those that form networks, connecting potentially dozens of different star systems into one extended web. Current theories posit that these networks will amalgamate other starways until their total internal stress peaks. Were these stresses to increase or the network's carrying capacity be reduced it would break one or more individual linkages, or perhaps even split into multiple smaller networks which would then begin the process of expansion once again. This theory attempts to explain why there are both sprawling starway networks and standalone point to point starways. It is unknown how rapidly this process occurs, but as it takes tens if not hundreds of thousands of years for stars to appreciably move relative to one another it is expected to be quite some time before it is recorded. What is understood however is that individual networks will persist over astronomically significant time periods even if the specific stars that a given network connects to will cycle in and out.
Starways are also thick with Blavatsky particles but they also exhibit a clear structure. Blavatsky density will typically be low in the middle region resulting in fairly clear and calm interiors with Blavatsky particle count and irregularity starting to rapidly increase as one gets closer to the outer walls. These walls have proven unreachable by any human probe and they are broadly albeit imprecisely considered as something akin to an inside-out singularity. Some starways have significantly weaker gradation with resulting problems for navigation but most of the time the prime points of turbulence that must be passed through will be at termini. Termini are where the starways 'surface' towards the Lumina. The only way in or out of a starway is by rifts, rifts that manifest at the ends of termini. Termini thus tend to be full of errant matter ranging from gases of the solar wind to comets and asteroids and thick Blavatsky clouds, all of which have fallen through rifts over millions and billions of years.
  • Dirac-Crowley Rifts: Naturally occuring openings that manifest in areas of high Blavatsky count, rifts are the discontinuities where the Astra-penetrating starways impinge on the secular world of the Lumina. No rift is truly stable, but there are two modes to their instability. The first are periodic rifts; these are rifts that return on regular schedules and to the same destination - most, in fact, are essentially always open with only minor disruptions as they go through a portal replacement cycle or manifest again nearby. Thus periodic rifts are the basis of reliable space travel. The other type of rift are eccentric rifts. These, by contrast, are much more irregular in their activity and destination. As rifts manifest between favorable locations it is rare for them to never re-manifest, but eccentric rifts can sometimes take years or even decades to return - some 'eccentric' rifts actually return over long but regular periods, while others are truly eccentric. The only way to know the exit point of such a rift is to pass through it into the starway beyond; even today several navigator's guilds maintain up-to-date logs of active rifts and a favorable rift can greatly reduce transit times.

Star System Mapping

Star systems are divided into four concentric rings outwards from the primary star. They are as follows:

  • Thermal Zone - The region closest to the fiery furnace of a star, where solar energy and cosmic winds are fierce. Outside of permanently shadowed craters, volatiles will not survive long here and any objects in the thermal zone will be cinderous. Conversely, planetary bodies close to a star will often be wreathed in continually flowing, continually replenished shrouds of blavatsky particles and rifts can often be found in their darkside shadow amidst the clouds. Small bodies - vulcanoid asteroids - are almost invariably absent from the thermal zone, as over millions and billions of years they will either fall into the local star or get pushed further out.
  • Water Zone - The main habitable sector of a star system, the water zone is so called because it where the temperatures are neither too hot nor too cold for liquid water. While this hardly guarantees that there will be a world capable of hosting life, this is where they will be found. The blanketing effect of blavatsky particles helps extend the limits of the water zone, with some worlds on the edges of the water zone saved from runaway greenhouse effects or deep freezes. Being further from the sun blavatsky density is rarely high enough to reach rift density, though other lesser astronomical bodies such as comets and asteroids can be found in the water zone.
  • Ice Zone - Too far from a warmth-giving star to have liquid water even under a thick blanket of blavatsky clouds, the ice zone is often where a system's largest planets reside, enormous gas giants with their own moon systems. The massive gravities of these planets collect blavatsky winds from far and wide; their trojan points are especially rich in trapped bodies surrounded by swirling clouds of dust and gas. It is these trojan points where rifts are most traditionally found. In addition, while the ice zone is cold, bodies within it that are sufficiently protected with insulating blavatsky clouds can be marginally habitable. Early human explorers characterized them as comparable to the antarctic continent, albeit with the critical difference that on Gaea you didn't need a breathing gas supply.
  • Primordial Zone - The primordial zone - also commonly known simply as 'the Deeps' - is the outer reaches of a star system where temperatures plunge into the cryogenic. The sheer scale of the outer system is daunting, the local star(s) shrink into mirthless cold lights and blavatsky particles from the solar winds are thin. Unsurprisingly the deeps are lightly travelled as a whole, but some bodies sport interesting and economically valuable exotic cryochemistry and others with favorable composition are prime sources of etheric clathrates.

Integrated Habitability Rating

A holistic measure of a planet's ability to sustain human life, the IHR is a unitless scale from 0.0 to 1.0, with a fundamentally uninhabitable world at one end and a full Gaea-equivalent at the other. It is 'integrated' in that it factors in various climatic, environmental, productive and biological factors to get a comparison to Gaea, which is defined at 1.0. The IHR is a logarithmic scale, with every 2/10th reduction equating to one order of magnitude less effective carrying capacity; every 0.1 reduction has a carrying capacity roughly 1/3rd that of the previous level. A planet's IHR is fundamentally top level; it says nothing about the specifics of why a planet's habitability is high or low. The IRH does not give a specific carrying capacity estimate however, and a Gaean-sized planet with an IHR of 1.0 will naturally be able to support a significantly larger population than that of an Inanna-sized planet with the same 1.0 rating. Physically small worlds (e.g. habitable moons) normally have a penalty to their IHR because scaling factors will amplify influences; simply put their environments have less buffer and are consequently more fragile.
An IHR of 0.5 is generally seen as the floor for what is naturally habitable; at 0.5 a world the size of Gaea would be able to carry 15-30 million humans before environmental degradation begins (at least of the parts that are relevant to human habitation). Worlds with a rating below that are often uninhabitable (or nearly so) in practice because the local environment is fragile or has some specific factor that precludes habitation outside of closed environments.


The Core

The core is the most populous sector of human space and for almost a century and a half the only starway network that was regularly and reliably travelled. Including the Solar system proper it connects eleven star systems containing a total of seven habitable worlds which has led to the poetic term of the 'Seven Sisters' for the core systems - though even by the end of the 49th century the core worlds numbered eight and has long been argued if the "missing sister" is Inanna, Vespucci or something else.
  • Sol
Stellar Type: G
IHR: 0.6
IHR: 1.0
IHR: 0.7
  • Rama
Stellar Type: K
IHR: 0.9
IHR: 0.6
  • Nair Al Saif
Stellar Type: G
IHR: 0.8
  • Helvetios
Stellar Type: K
IHR: 0.7
  • Ascella
Stellar Type: A + K
  • Zuben
Stellar Type: F
  • Proxima
Stellar Type: G + K
  • Van Teegson's Star
Stellar Type: M
Neue Orthant
  • Lowel's Star
Stellar Type: M
  • Cor Alexander
Stellar Type: M
  • Bechdel's Star
Stellar Type: M

The Verge

  • Veracrux
Stellar Type: G
Mezzoramia (Star Kingdom of Mezzoramia)
IHR: 1.0
The pleasant and Gaean-like world that received the name Mezzoramia was one of the earliest extrasolar planets settled by humans, with the first visitors arriving in the second decade of the 49th century. It had been sold to the Jaian Empire for an undislosed sum and while the original handful of settlers were ethnic Jaians, much of the population base was to eventually come from the Apeninne Peninsula. This constituent of the First Jaian Empire was a combination of directly administered provinces and client states and was notorious for its grinding poverty, a far cry from its ancient history as the center of the world. This poverty and overpopulation proved to be a rich source of colonial labour and by 4882, it was estimated that Mezzoramia was home to almost twenty million Apeninnes or direct descendants and no less than five million of various other ethnicities and languages.
Mezzoramia was constituted as a kingdom in 4874 when 30 year old Umberto I took the throne, the conservative son of a Jaian client state's king installed as Mezzoramia's importance grew. He proved to be a conservative but unexpectedly steady ruler when Mezzoramia (along with most other human colonies) was isolated after 4882. He ruled until he abdicated the throne in favor of his son for health reasons in 4921; his son ruled for another 26 years and his grandson 31 years past that. Dutiful as opposed to brilliant, Mezzoramia's first three kings were formative for a state that two centuries later has become one of the major states of human space.
The planet of Mezzoramia proper was surprisingly close to Gaea and while a different arrangement of continents gave it somewhat less arable land despite a higher percentage of land mass it was all but unlimited land for settlement. Few noxious lifeforms and an agreeable climate let the Mezzoramians rapidly expand away from the port-cities and the rural population of ranchers and farmers grew quickly with large families being the norm. By the turn of the millenia Mezzoramia's population had approached 200 million and by 5100 it exceeded 300 million.
Even before the late 49th century collapse of long-distance star travel Mezzoramia was an important way station, lying as it did on the near side of an extended starway network. While hardly having the massive industries of Gaea, by 4882 there was significant support industries on Mezzoramia and many ships stopped at the kingdom to replenish supplies and consumables. It was inevitable that when cross-network travel suddenly became much more difficult with the departure of the Chandlers that the Kingdom became the natural hub for the network. In recognition of this in 5024, on the 150th anniversary of the Kingdom's founding that it officially appended its name to be the Star Kingdom of Mezzoramia.
Already a robust trading power when they were encountered by the Nureeg, the Star Kingdom proved to be an adept learner of the maxim that 'a state has no eternal friends no eternal enemies, only eternal interests'. Finding it expedient to simply pay off the Nureeg, as the Gaean Alliance began the long war of 'unification' Mezzoramia simply flipped at an opportune time and joined the Alliance. Already host to various obfuscated branches of core world corporations and preexisting trade routes, the Star Kingdom was one of the 'miracle economies' in the Verge and by the early decades of the 52nd century was spoken of in the same way as the core worlds. By the middle of the 52nd century it had established the Napolitano Doctrine and in accordance, hegemony over fully half of the Verge.
  • Asterion
Stellar Type: G
IHR: 0.9
IHR: 0.6
IHR: 0.5
  • Bufo
Stellar Type: K
Bufo Secundus
IHR: 0.7
  • Hippocampus
Stellar Type: K (Giant)
IHR: 0.6
  • Cerberus
Stellar Type: K + K + M
Hades III
IHR: 0.5
Hades IV
IHR: 0.5
  • Noctua
Stellar Type: M
IHR: 0.7
  • Abruzzia's Star
Stellar Type: M
IHR: 0.6
  • Rosa's Star
Stellar Type: M
Nouveaux Miquelon
IHR: 0.5
  • Princess Eugenie
Stellar Type: A + K
  • Testudo
Stellar Type: G + M
  • Robur
Stellar Type: G
  • Tarandus
Stellar Type: K + M + M
  • Lilium
Stellar Type: K
  • Apium
Stellar Type: K
  • Manis
Stellar Type: M
  • Felis
Stellar Type: M
  • Gallus
Stellar Type: M
  • Limax
Stellar Type: M
  • Pinna
Stellar Type: M

The Veil

  • Danu
Stellar Type: G
IHR: 0.9
IHR: 0.6
  • Rodina
Stellar Type: K
IHR: 0.8
  • Mensab
Stellar Type: A
IHR: 0.4
  • Lohen
Stellar Type: G

The Passage

The Passage's name comes from its structure as a simple and almost unbranched corridor. The smallest network colonized the humanity, the Passage only has two worlds with significant population and several other extremely marginal ones undergoing economic exploitation.
  • '
Stellar Type: G
IHR: 0.7
  • '
Stellar Type: K
IHR: 0.7

The Reaches

  • Van Teegson's Star
Stellar Type: M
Neue Orthant
IHR: 0.7
  • Cameron's Star
Stellar Type: M
IHR: 0.6


Empires have been a fact of life for all of recorded history, though various intercine conflicts in the 49th and 50th centuries saw most of the historic empires gravely weakened if not outright broken. For a time states small and not-so-small could coexist as equals, but the progressive unification of the Association of Cadmean States into a joint economic and later political framework was a promise of things to come. Its superconstitution in the early 20s of the 51st century and its conversion to the Cadmean Economic Political Policing and Exploration Community - the CEPPEC - was the proverbial final straw. Such a superstate would be able to marshal the dynamic energies of all its member states and be a true global leader. Within three more decades seven rich monarchies would join together to form the Majestic Seven and the new world Organization of Lemurian States would rapidly reform into the United Lemurian States. All of these, alongside the longstanding commonist bloc, would control most of the world's economy with "major external allies" having much of the rest.
This tendency carried into the 52nd century, even with the collapse of CEPPEC. Some of the former CEPPEC states merged into the G.T.A., the expanded and now transoceanic successor to the Organization of Lemurian States, while others drifted for a time to finally coalesce into the Ironheart Pact. Even the colonies finding their independence in the wake of the Solar War almost immediately formed a mutual-assistance bloc out of self-interest in not becoming de facto colonies after winning de jure independence.
All this said, there are still many states that continue to exercise full sovereignty, almost a hundred on Gaea alone. Others have cropped up across human space in in undistinguished corners of various planetary systems. But unfortunately for them they are all indisputably the little states, the also-rans . . . the pawns in the great games between the superstates.

Gaean Transnational Accord - the capitalists

A league of capitalist republics (and a few constitutional monarchies), the G.T.A. (the acronym conventionally including periods) is collectively the single most powerful economic bloc on and off Gaea. While having ample resources, a sophisticated research sector and robust domestic politics, the G.T.A. often suffers from collective action problems and duplication of efforts. The Gateway mutiny remains a mutual nation trauma however, a 35 year-old wound that is only partially healed.
While the G.T.A. (and proto-G.T.A.) states were and still are often leaders in both science and exploration, they were not as fast as the Majestic Twelve at shifting from exploration to colonization and it wasn't until the dawn of the 52nd century that they were ahead of the monarchists in this regard - and between the G.T.A. and Majestic Twelve they all but locked other states out of the main, rich colony worlds.

Relationship Status:
  • G.T.A. - The G.T.A. considers itself the best and brightest, but corporate capture of so much of the economy and government followed by the corruption exposed by the Gateway affair has led to a creeping dissatisfaction among much of the populace.
  • Majestic Twelve - Both blocs can and do cooperate, particularly in the outer reaches where there is an informal but longstanding 'watch each others backs' policy. In the solar system however view of the Majestic Twelve are ambivalent at best with deep cultural differences resulting in a relationship that tends to be highly transactional.
  • VSP - The G.T.A. and VSP are in a state of low-intensity cold war, this conflict fueled by incompatible economic systems and more recently the continued support by the VSP for various seperatists. Both sides have carefully delineated their respective territories however and have found a stable position-in-opposition and relations remain frosty but (mostly) peaceful; the 'era of good feelings' during the 50s has faded.
  • Ironheart Pact - The Ironheart Pact's support for the ULORD in the wake of the Gateway Mutiny has earned them a place as State Sponsors of Terror. Kinetic actions between the Ironheart and the G.T.A. tends to be less regular than the VSP but higher profile.
  • ULORD - Traitors hiding in the deep rim.
  • Free Zodiac Coalition - Relations are complicated, ranging from paternalistic to regretful to considering them as being little better than betrayers. The triangular relationship between the Zodiacs, the G.T.A. and the VSP only makes things even more complicated and concerns are rapidly rising that the Zodiacs have become a conduit to transfer technology to the VSP.
Notable members:
  • United Lemurian States
  • Dassia Freisband
  • Federated Territories
  • Reino de Hy-Bracile
  • Estados Unidos del Oro
  • Mizuho
Economic Overview: The G.T.A. consists entirely of advanced capitalist economies and is well-known for its knowledge and financial sectors. There has been a great deal of tension between the power of megacorporations, the state and citizenry, with the overreach culminating in the Gateway affair being the pinnacle of corporate power. Various reforms have broken up or at least weakened the worst offenders, though the G.T.A.'s economy remains highly corporate while reformers attempt to get sufficient political power to go beyond the panicked half-measures of the Gateway Affair.
Military Overview: For much of the Expansion Age the G.T.A. through the ULORD was the most prominent military in the extrasolar regions, but the mutiny and consequent dismissals sapped the G.T.A.'s collective military strength and military experience. Today the G.T.A. operates slimmer, lighter forces and has put a particular emphasis on both loyalty and morale while also putting stringent controls in place to protect against the institutional corruption that led to conditions to allow for the Gateway mutiny.

The Majestic Twelve - the monarchists

This group of monarchist-noblesse states originally numbered seven, born out of an agreement in the middle of the 51st century for mutual support as the interstellar colonization period dawned. By the end of that century it had added five additional members to become the now-familiar Majestic Twelve. Various lax and supportive laws have allowed the Majestic Twelve states have become biotechnology leaders, particularly in the realm of human enhancement; a 'noble' class of enhanced humans has emerged over the past two generations as advanced human-augmentation technology has been applied to the elites of the states.
While not the first spacefarers, the Empire of Jaia was the first to establish an self-sustaining civilian settlement outside of the Solar System. With the rest of the Majestic Twelve riding Jaia's coat-tails the entire group was the leader in colonization until the end of the 51st century and even today the Majestic Twelve have some of the richest and most hospitable colonies. The Majestic Twelve's economies are just as if not even more heavily dominated by megacorps than those of the G.T.A., many of those originating from the Majestic Twelve having originally been (and often still nominally are) state-owned enterprises.
Some observers consider the Majestic Twelve to actually be mostly post-monarchist, having become bureaucracy-corporate states. While this is probably not entirely correct, the Majestic Twelve are certainly known for their extensive bureaucracies in the 52nd century. It can sometimes be difficult to see exactly where the bureaucracy ends and the various megacorporations that dominate the Majestic Twelve's economies start. Unsurprisingly, a similar dynamic can be seen between the various ruling families and the upper echelons of the megacorporations.

Relationship Status:
  • G.T.A. - The G.T.A. is a valuable ally (albeit of convenience) but their civil society is often far too nosy and disruptive. Their fall from grace in the Gateway affair dramatically demonstrated the perils of allowing corporate interests to wander too far from national ones - the Majestic Twelve being willfully blind that they risk the same arc of history playing out in their cosy relationship with megacorporations.
  • Majestic Twelve - The Majestic Twelve value stability and continuation above all else and are rightfully proud of their military history at defeating any aggressor (at least that's what their histories call them). Their internal narrative is that they have successfully balanced 'sufficient' freedoms with government and economic stability; some may debate this but modern propaganda has ensured that by and large the citizenry as a whole buys into the unwritten concept of 'a place for everyone and everyone in their place', with those that don't generally leaving entirely.
  • VSP - The VSP and the Majestic Twelve are in a state of low-level undeclared war, though both sides generally keep direct military actions to targets too distant or too unmanned to instigate a more general war that neither (currently) desires. Decades of propaganda have painted the VSP as the eternal enemy however and this has narrowed the Majestic Twelve's political maneuvering room to resolve differences.
  • Ironheart Pact - The Majestic Twelve and the Ironheart Pact tend to stay out of each other's way, though in the rim anything goes. At the same time Majestic Twelve-based corporations are a major employer of Ironheart-backed PMCs such as the widely-publicised Strauss Group.
  • ULORD - While privately having a large part of the G.T.A.'s extrasolar force go rogue caused some chortles in the Majestic Twelve's sealed meeting chambers, pragmatism won out and today they're seen as a dangerous and destabilizing force that has refused to just go away.
  • Free Zodiac Coalition - Deeply ambivalent and a taste of what might happen if governmental stability falters, the Majestic Twelve mostly engages with the Zodiac states economically as opposed to politically.
Notable members:
  • The Empire of Jaia (Third Empire)
  • The Kingdom of Faisal Ambaria
  • Principality of Greater Pellegrana
  • United Ambar Emirates
  • Zoetec - The main state on a small tropical continent, foreigners arriving in Zoetec and found that several local insects spread a number of unpleasant diseases; ones that the locals had long since developed resistances to. For this reason it remained independent during the age of colonial conquests, modernizing and industrializing in the 50th and 51st century to be one of the original members of the Majestic Twelve.
Economic Overview: The economy of the Majestic Twelve is even more in thrall to megacorporations than that of the G.T.A. The largest, such as Faisal Alemco, are vertically and horizontally integrated behemoths that individually control appreciable percentages of the entire economy. Many of these grew out of 50th and 51st century state-owned enterprises as opposed to the unfettered capitalism of the pre-G.T.A. countries but the end result proved similar.
Military Overview: Once all member states are summed up the Majestic Twelve have Human space's largest and most powerful space fleet, though much of it is warships built for the Solar War that are now starting to show their age. With most of its territories fairly close to the Solar system, the armed forces of the Majestic Twelve can also often enjoy having many reinforcements ready to arrive.

Vector Socialist Protocol - the communists

A longstanding coalition of stable socialist/communist states led by the Gondoa Peoples Republic and named after Gondoa's capital where the agreement was signed. The VSP's states espouse a strong degree of solidarity and collectively have cultivated a powerful industrial sector. While mostly suffering a period of stagnancy during the latter half of the 51st century, various modern technologies and methodologies have revitalized them and corporate capture has revitalized the socialist movement. Unfortunately this does mean that they have mostly missed out on the early wave of settlement and while VSP-claimed territory has ballooned in size over the course of the 52nd century, this territory is resource-poor, distant, or both.
While generally considered the loser of the Solar War, subsequent events have strengthened the VSP. The Secession Decade saw the birth of many new extrasolar states and many of these found common cause with the VSP, the Ironheart Pact or both and in the decades since the VSP has taken a lower-key but just as steadfast position against the "imperialist" powers. Likewise the Secession Decade was the 'era of good feelings' between the VSP and the G.T.A. as public opinion on both sides was modestly aligned. Unfortunately this was not to last as the VSP was emboldened and the G.T.A. saw themselves as being taken advantage of.

Relationship Status:
  • G.T.A. - The entire ULORD debacle has greatly discredited many G.T.A. institutions and as a military power, they have become much less of a threat despite their overall high technology. The greatest scenario of concern is megacorporations somehow stirring up a conflict in order to 'acquire' new markets and undermine the existing political relation - the fact that this scenario mostly exists solely in the minds of VSP strategists is a blind spot and may result in an undesirable scenario fulfillment in the future.
  • Majestic Twelve - The VSP and Majestic Twelve have been in opposition for a century and the thirty years since the Solar War have just been a continuation of that. A conflict with the G.T.A. is a hypothetical, a conflict with the Majestic Twelve is a fact and the VSP continues to support dissidents and freedom fighters to weaken the Majestic Twelve.
  • VSP - While having walked back some of the vanguardist ideology from the first half of the century in the aftermath of the Solar War, the VSP still sees itself as the bloc most dedicated to the betterment of the common person and actively supports measures such as open-source fabrication. Unfortunately understandable caution fairly regularly shades into paranoia and the VSP often sees plots in unconnected events.
  • Ironheart Pact - The Ironheart Pact is seen as counterprogressive and potentially dangerous but there are common interests; some sharing does happen but the VSP tries to keep them at arm's length.
  • ULORD - Dangerous rogues that have become nothing more than pirates with a manifesto, but they are most definitely someone else's problem.
  • Free Zodiac Coalition - Helping them helps the VSP, particularly if they can become a durable ally.
Notable members:
  • Gondoa Peoples Republic
  • Federal Union of Tenarif and Darquitens
  • Socialist Parsanid Republic
  • Socialist Republic of Van Lang
  • United Sunda Socialist Republics
Economic Overview: The VSP has successfully married 'big data' software to more traditional socialist methologies; the central control of the large industries has given the VSP a unique ability to deploy unprecedented resources onto long-term projects of uncertain return such as terraforming. However this does mean that the economy tends to be two-track between the big state-level apparatuses and the community economy; depending on your perspective this can be a boon or a flaw.
Military Overview: Coming out of the inconclusive solar war the military loser, the VSP has progressively rebuilt its military to effectively defend its borders. Intensive efforts have built up several industry hubs at a significant distance from Sol and the weapons produced at these has been difficult to track. This, along with a strategy of ambiguity and obfuscation, has made the question of if they are second or third behind the Majestic Twelve in standing military strength difficult to answer. The last decade has also seen a resurgence in VSP-supported 'militias', autonomy councils, insurgents and the like.

Ironheart Pact - the fascists

A somewhat disparate group of dictatorships, juntas and ultranationalists, the Ironheart Pact mostly consists of otherwise also-ran states that have embraced 'active expansion' and various militant philosophies to advance their national goals. While not necessarily a bunch of bloody-minded conquerers, the Ironheart states are rarely loathe to use force or the threat of force and probably the most driven to collect xenotechnology.
The Pact is notorious for having collaborated with and supported the Gateway mutineers, having acquired various pieces of cutting edge G.T.A. technology to reverse engineer. They continue to flout many international norms in subtle (or not-so-subtle) ways and furthermore are a major supplier of PMCs for the wider Human space; some of these are hired guns with ask-no-questions weapons while others are outright state forces operating under contract.

Relationship Status:
  • G.T.A. - The G.T.A. states are completely beholded to corporate profit-seeking and will turn on any friends or allies to make an extra 1% on the bottom line. Their complaints about the Ironheart's relationship with their former janissaries is just a smokescreen for their antipathy towards anything they perceive as a rival.
  • Majestic Twelve - The Pact and Majestic Twelve have few points of friction due to a lack of common borders outside of the solar system, but the Pact will treat them much the same way as the G.T.A. in the outer rim.
  • VSP - There is no particular trust or love between the VSP and the Pact, but unofficial agreements keep their borders quiet. Mutual coexistence is the order of the day.
  • Ironheart Pact - The only constant is strength, and so the Pact must be strong.
  • ULORD - Various logistical support in exchange for some examples of cutting-edge G.T.A. technology has turned into a more enduring relationship. While they may not see eye to eye both is willing to work with the other.
  • Free Zodiac Coalition - Relations between the Zodiac and Pact can be sometimes fraught due to association with ULORD or sometimes constructive. The term that best describes their murtual relations is 'working'.
Notable members:
  • Twin Kingdoms of Alba and Lothia (Alba-Lothia)
  • Megelgica
  • Eleutheria
  • Vorderrepublik Gilder
Economic Overview: There is no one specific economic model that the member-states of the Ironheart Pact adhere to, but in general they tend to be corpocratic with strong government controls; unlike the Majestic Twelve the corporations are expected to be subservient to the state. Government intervention tends to be much lighter in the small and medium-cap sector and this tends to be the most dynamic part of the economies. Overall though, the Ironheart Pact has the smallest population and smallest economy of the major blocs.
Military Overview: The Ironheart Pact is generally considered to have the overall smallest and weakest militaries of the four major power blocs, though they are also recognized as having cultivated high esprit de corps and a number of highly trained elite formations. Having a particular focus on the outer edges of human space they do have a disproportionate presence there and their ships and agents range widely; it is a rare hotspot that doesn't have something from the Ironheart lurking nearby. Ironheart military posture overall can be characterized as aiming for local dominance on the edges of human space while being too problematic to fight near its core.

Free Zodiac Coalition

The Free Zodiac Coalition was born out of the post-Solar War decolonization (a term that has no real relation to the pre-space decolonization of the 50th century) as a number of outsystem provinces successfully petitioned for - or outright demanded on threat of uprising - independence and local sovereignty.

Relationship Status:
  • G.T.A. -
  • Majestic Twelve -
  • VSP -
  • Ironheart Pact -
  • ULORD -
  • Free Zodiac Coalition -
  • Londenium
  • Cliona
  • Zorya
  • Asakura
  • Concord
  • Transbaal
  • Geunyeok Samhan (Triple Alliance of the Hibiscus Land)
Economic Overview:
Military Overview: The rapid independence of many colonies led to the foundation of the Free Zodiac Coalition, but by and large they had little more than random near-orbit guard ships armed with a popgun blaster (if at all) and lightly-trained militias and gendarmeries. That changed rapidly as thousands of ULORD veterans, dismissed from service in the aftermath of the Gateway mutiny, flowed out into the colonies and sold their expertise. The equipment issue took somewhat longer to resolve but various forms of aid (notably from the VSP) and domestic industrial development

Organization for Mutual Assistance

The Organization for Mutual Assistance (The OMA, or colloquially just 'The Org') was born out of the collapse of the CEPPEC following the Upwell War. The core worlds had been inhabited for centuries and, being close to Gaea, had never been entirely independent. They had however become increasingly corporate as CEPPEC created numerous 'special management zones' and the like, and in 5119 the corporations pulled enough strings to break with a moribund and dysfunctional CEPPEC and signed the OMA into existence. In many ways this wasn't so much a revolution as simply removing the mask and replacing de facto corporate republics with ones that were de jure as well.
Staying studiously neutral during the Solar War and other lesser conflicts, the OMA has mostly concerned itself with self-protection and the advancement of profits. There is a great deal of chummy clubishness between its constituent corporations who all adhere to gentlemen's agreements to not rock the boat internally even if they compete fiercely outside the borders of the League. The OMA's greatest collective worry is the VSP taking serious action against them and stirring the working class up; unsurprisingly the OMA's military and espionage assets are focussed on such an eventuality.

Relationship Status:
  • G.T.A. -
  • Majestic Twelve -
  • VSP -
  • Ironheart Pact -
  • ULORD -
  • Free Zodiac Coalition -
  • Avalon (capital)
  • Roberts Industrial Space Conglomerate (RISC)
Economic Overview:
Military Overview:

Mapping and stuff

All rolls are D100 unless stated otherwise

Primary System Trait

This is the most important, most defining trait about the solar system in question, the sort of thing that makes the one-paragraph description (if not the one sentence description). The pervasive influence of ether has resulted in what would seem like a multitude of strange and exotic star systems to visitors from more sheltered locales.
  • 01 - Warp Rifts - There is something profoundly [i]wrong[/i] with this solar system. Transient local rifts irregularly manifest and fade, allowing for rapid travel for the daring and the opportunity to mine for elements not of this reality.
  • 02-03 - Nebula - Instead of the usual void and thin drifts and puffs of Blavatsky particle clouds, this solar system is flooded with nebular gases. These strange and exotic molecules are rich in ether but bring equally bizzare and sometimes dangerous life with them. The nebular gases will extend right down to planetary surfaces and as such the only breathable air to be found - assuming there even is any - might be in the lowest elevations or even underground. (-0.3 planetary IHR)
  • 04-06 - Badlands - Often caused by solar irregularity, Blavatsky particle storms are frequent in this solar system. While this rarely has any meaningful effect on the actual habitability of the local planets, it does have serious impacts on space navigation. You may add the Ion Storm exotic planetary trait to any planet here if desired.
  • 7-16 - Chthonian Planet - A massive planet - a hot Jupiter or similar - is found near the system's primary. As such massive planets coalesce further out and migrate inwards, they tend to disrupt the protoplanetary disk and in their wake, habitable worlds are less common. (-0.2 planetary IHR)
  • 17-19 - Trojan World - The water zone in this system is actually dominated by a massive gas giant or even a brown dwarf, but its gravitational presence is so extensive that it hosts a habitable planet candidate in one of its trojan points.
  • 20-25 - Planetary Twins - This solar system has a pair of habitable planets in a tidal embrace. While not close enough to share atmospheres, they loom large in the other's skies. Often, they will be opposites in some cosmological fashion, as opposed to near-copies and in general one will be more livable than the other. (Twin planet has -0.1 IHR)
  • 26-65 - Perfectly Normal - There is a star, some planets, probably a couple of star ways crossing the system.
  • 66-75 - Binary - There are two stars, some planets, probably a couple of star ways crossing the system. The increased solar radiation tends to result in hot worlds. If the planet roll does not return a Fire-type planet, you must reroll it. The second roll stands.
  • 76-88 - Multiple Planets - This star system has more than one habitable planet, each one in its own orbital path. If the second planet roll returns the same planet type, you must reroll it. The second roll stands, even if it's the same.
  • 89-93 - Debris Disk - Instead of a habitable planet, the water zone of this solar system has a massive scattered disk of rocky and icy debris, far larger and thicker than a garden-variety asteroid belt. It may extend far into the ice zone, a relic of a solar system that somehow failed to coalesce. What planets do exist tend to be ice giants in the cold primordial zone.
  • 94-97 - Darksun - The local star is a dark cinder, emitting more than enough thermal radiation to keep the local planets warm but glowing sullenly in the visual spectrum, dim enough that it can be looked at with the unaided eye. Local life has evolved for the perpetual twilight conditions. (-0.1 planetary IHR)
  • 98-00 - Roll twice - Roll twice, rerolling any 19 or 20 results, or roll once and roll an extra time on Secondary System Trait below.

Secondary System Trait

There is something that is fairly noteworthy about this solar system, but not generally to the level that it defines the star system the way the primary system trait(s) do. As these are relatively mundane and non-exclusionary, most star systems have one (1-3), two (4-5) or even three (6) of them.
  • 01-03 - Dark Jupiter - While few star systems are without at least one gas giant planet, this system has one particularly large example swinging in the distant reaches far outside of the starway termini. Residual heat of formation and parasitic ether flows are often sufficient to support local life, though it is rarely clement. Worse yet still are the intelligences that call such places home, for they are rarely as benign as the world they orbit.
  • 04-08 - Flare Star - The local primary is notorious for large, irregular solar flares. These can disrupt delicate electronics and spawn large storms in the ether ways. An effective solar weather tracking network is all but required for effective navigation. (-0.1 planetary IHR)
  • 10-15 - Companion Star - There is a second, smaller star in the dark outer edges of the system with its own miniature set of planets, possibly even including one that is at least somewhat habitable.
  • 16-45 - Husk World - A tired, dying world is a companion in this solar system. It may be habitable with some work (or was [i]once[/i] habitable) and probably has extremophile life denying the slow malaise and entropy of such a world. Resources on such a world are often limited, but not nonexistent. (Husk world has -0.2 planetary IHR)
  • 46-55 - Cosmozoans - Space-based life tends to stick to star ways and other densities, but this system has an unusual number of these strange creatures. Perhaps its a spawning ground.
  • 56-62 - Minor Bodies - While this star system has the usual collection of planets, it has an unusually large number of minor bodies - oversized asteroids or comets - scattered throughout the system.
  • 62-69 - Dense Belt - Most star systems have one (or sometimes more) asteroid fields. This one has a particularly dense one, or at least a particularly dense clump of significant and noteworthy size.
  • 70-76 - Cometary Bombardment - Something has disrupted the vast cloud of comets lurking in the outer system, sending them careering towards the local sun in a seemingly unending stream. While space is large and planets are small and the chances of anything significant striking a world are low, the broken-off cometary material can pose a hazard to navigation.
  • 77-91 - Gas Clouds - Small (in cosmological terms) clouds of gas and dust orbit the local star. These can be a source of interesting and useful gases, but they can also be the hideout for scurvy space pirates.
  • 93-97 - Close Termini - For whatever reason, at least one of the star way termini here emerge unusually close to either the inhabited world or the star itself.
  • 98-00 - Stormways - At least one star way leading out of this system is either fully or at least irregularly impassible for all but the most stoutly-built bathycruisers. There may be wonders at the far terminus, or there may be horrors.

Important Planet

  • 01-10 - Wood - Colloquially known as a 'deathworld', this planet has a vicious ecosystem. They are often rich and superhabitable, if you can kill enough of the local flora and fauna to get a piece. (+0.1 planetary IHR, albeit with some nasty predators)
  • 11-30 - Fire - This world promises heat and dryness and it delivers. While life - often a tough, tenacious life - maintains a grip, it will typically have limited living space for humans. (-0.1 planetary IHR)
  • 31-55 - Earth - A pleasant garden world. It will have cold poles and hot tropics, sopping tropics and parching deserts - but the locals are certain to be inhabiting the most comfortable parts.
  • 56-75 - Air - The wind never ceases blowing on this planet. For most worlds, this turns it into a frigid icebox, for others a pleasant place - so long as one can deal with living inside a hurricane. (-0.1 planetary IHR)
  • 76-90 - Water - This world has very limited dry land, mostly occuring as sinuous island arcs. Its vast expanses of water hides all manner of topography from crushing deeps to sunken continents just a few dozen meters from the water's surface. (-0.1 planetary IHR)
  • 91-00 - Exotic - This world defies normal classification. You may reroll (treating 12-13 as Earth) and then roll on the [b]Exotic Planet[/b] table below to see what additional exotic property it has. Alternatively, you may simply treat this result as Earth.

Exotic Planet

  • 01 - Demon - Mysterious warp rifts are present, opening and closing without warning. The [i]things[/i] that come out are hostile, mindlessly so. (-0.2 planetary IHR)
  • 02-11 - Deadly Wildlife - The local wildlife is super-evolved or just tenacious and dangerous. While hardly unstoppable, they still pose a meaningful threat to sprawling rural life. (-0.1 planetary IHR)
  • 12-21 - Tunnelled - By some artifice or natural process, the crust of this world is hollowed out into a vast network of tunnels and subterranean caverns, even entire seas. (-0.2 planetary IHR, but ignore up to 0.2 points of IHR reduction)
  • 22-34 - Gas Giant Moon - The habitable world in this system is actually an enormous moon to a gas giant. This parent planet will be a permanent and immense fixture in the sky, and the inevitable other moons will be constant companions. There are few immediate spatial neighborhoods more crowded.
  • 35-49 - Unusually Fertile - The soil and climatic conditions here are unusually favorable, resulting in a world that is notably more habitable than expected. (+0.1 planetary IHR)
  • 50-79 - Tidally Locked - This world is tidally locked to the local star, often because the primary is particularly small and lacking in illumination. This gives it a Hot Pole and a Cold Pole as opposed to the more usual north and south, along with shadows that never move.
  • 80-94 - Ion Storms - Blavatsky storms regularly batter this world and surface structures need to be particularly resilent to deal with the combination of heavy weather and EMP. (-0.1 planetary IHR)
  • 94-99 - Atmospheric Islands - The atmosphere near the local datum is unbreathable, but at higher elevations (often much higher) it becomes clement. Local travel is almost entirely by air. (-0.1 planetary IHR)
  • 00 - Supermundane - Via some unknown mechanism, blavatsky particles and ether just fails to pool as normal here. Magic-users will soon find themselves in a tight spot, while many advanced technologies don't fare much better.

Determining planetary IHR

Roll 1d10 x 1d10, rounding up to the next highest multiple of 10, giving a range from 10 to 100. Divide this by 100 and then apply any modifiers from system or world.