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    Barbarian in the Playground
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    Jul 2004
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    Default Age of Avarice: A Homebrew SF Setting (PEACH)

    The year is 2146, and the universe is at peace, united under the flag of the International Economic Union. Time and instability have turned the IEU from little more than the printer of a unified currency to the controller of the largest armed forces, the overarching decider of economic policy and the administrator of human colonization.

    Thanks to the development of effective, fairly cheap interstellar travel, first contact has been made with two less-sophisticated sapient societies, the Irai and Libids. Upon first contact, these species were technologically equivalent to the bronze and hunter gatherer ages of human civilization, respectively. As of yet, no other technological civilization has been detected, much to the relief of the upper echelons of the IEU military and the disappointment of 20th century dreamers.

    Alongside all these interstellar developments are developments in genetics, chemistry, physiology, neurology, prosthetics and cybernetics which allow for the change of human beings on countless levels. Ultimately, however, they are all still human, and sentient artificial intelligence has remained the constant domain of futurists for the past century.

    Ten Things to Know (Intro)
    1. It is a space-based science fiction setting.
    There are aliens, space travel, cybernetics, and cool guns. Aliens make up about 6% of the population, excluding the native populations of the various homeworlds including Earth (of the population including homeworlds, aliens make up about 8%). Space travel is affordable enough for a startup company to afford to own a ship and use it for transport. Cybernetics are both highly advanced and affordable enough to have filtered into the upper-middle class. Players are intended to play off of Earth.

    2. The World is at Peace.
    While there are some fringe groups, the vast majority of the populace accepts the current order and don't rise in outright rebellion. New planets supply plenty enough freedom from old world politics to let people tolerate what authority there is out there. Few entertain the idea that the present order could come apart, and even fewer entertain hopes for its catastrophic collapse. There are no enemies to subjugate, no mass uprisings, and no ongoing interstellar wars.

    3. Aliens aren't advanced.
    The most advanced alien species known or suspected to exist was at a stage of development equivalent to approximately classical antiquity prior to first contact. There are no ancient artifacts from old civilizations, no rival powers flying around, or anything of that kind.

    4. The mind has not been duplicated.
    While some significant forays into AI have been made, that is not equivalent to saying that an AI is a person in any meaningful sense. Sure, an AI can pretend to be a person (much better than a current one, anyway), but it isn't. Current AI is not even capable of independent problem solving: while it can solve problems that humans can't, it can't solve problems that it was not specifically programmed to. Even genetic engineering of biological minds (often derided as "the lazy way out") is exceedingly difficult. The human brain was built for the human skull, and it simply can't be expanded arbitrarily. The cutting edge of such "organic computers" is the Corvus-class gengineered humans, but even they have something close to a normal human intelligence.

    5. Human modification is widespread.
    In addition to baseline humans (those most familiar to the reader), there are gengineered humans and cyborgs. A gengineered human was genetically engineered as an embryo, born out of a tube, and raised in a highly controlled environment over the course of two years. A cyborg was born baseline, but at some point underwent cybernetic modification. Some cyborgs are military (i.e. government produced) and some are civilian.

    6. Earth is (mostly) the same.
    The general political makeup of Earth is largely similar to what it was at the turn of the third millenium, though with rather different views on economics. Some states suffered revolutions and counter-revolutions, but the most economically important nations (China, India, Japan, France, the UK, the US, Russia, etc) can trace their regimes back quite a while by now, and the various shifts were made with minimal bloodshed.

    7. The International Economic Union (IEU) reigns supreme.
    The IEU is a federal body governing economic relations between its constituent members (every single recognized state), for the joint development of industry and technology. Additionally, the IEU central government is the undeniable ruler of interstellar travel. The foremost goal of the IEU is the maintenance of economic (and thus political) stability on Earth, all other concerns coming second. It has subjugated alien species, invaded nations, and gained sweeping powers all for this purpose.

    8. The Irai
    The Irai are the intelligent natives of Ozto: the Etachi and the Mazkai. The Etachi and Mazkai are closely related, but due to various evolutionary pressures, the Mazkai are much more intelligent, larger, and stronger, but live in small family unit sized "packs." The Etachi are dumber, live in large tribes and have been effectively domesticated as a species. The Mazkai needed to eat an Etachi to obtain valuable proteins that couldn't be found anywhere else or they would die. Modern chemistry and pharmaceuticals has rendered this unnecessary, but it has deep religious importance in Irai society and the IEU's disapproving stance towards the ritualized sacrifices makes many Irai (Mazkai and Etachi alike) angry at them.

    9. The Libids
    The Libids are the intelligent natives of Armab. Biologically, they are wildly divergent from humans; they are nocturnal, use photosynthesis to assist in chemical processing, are monoceious, spend two-thirds of the day asleep, and lay eggs. One of their defining characteristics, at least in the eyes of humans, is their genetic versatility. Unlike humans, who have only a small genetic stock and thus largely similar "races," the Libids have many distinct subtypes which can be easily distinguished.

    10. Transhumanism
    Transhumanism is a radical left-wing political ideology that sprung up in the 2070s. It is a political reaction to the mostly amoral nature of the IEU and represents an attempt to harness the radical innovations in technology for the betterment of mankind. At their most basic, transhumanists believe in improving human society by improving people. Most civilian cyborgs are affiliated with the transhumanist movement.

    Humans are a quite technologically advanced species.
    - Martians are a unique human phenotype.
    - Transhumans are people who have had their brains fiddled with to be nicer.
    - Conjuxes are genetically engineered mates for the rich.
    - Ravens are genetically engineered genius-level humans.
    - Wolves are genetically engineered special forces soldiers.
    - Parduses are genetically engineered assassins.
    Irai are two species of closely related matriarchal aliens.
    - Mazkai are a species of socially domineering pack predators.
    - Etachi are a species of dimwitted servants, long since domesticated by the Mazkai.
    Libids are a very recently contacted species of tribal precocial monoecious aliens.
    Humans are the founders of the International Economic Union, leaders in science and industry, and the species most familiar to the reader. Most humans are unaugmented and unaltered, despite the technology being fairly cheap, due to it being largely taboo throughout the IEU. Most of the highest echelons of society pay for longevity treatments that can extend their lifespans indefinitely; some are older than a hundred years without looking a day over forty.

    Martian is the generic term for those native to Mars, and is used to describe their unique, "ethnic" (but largely non-genetic) phenotype. Modern Mars has an atmospheric pressure of about .4 bars and a gravity of .38 G, making it relatively inhospitable to human life compared to most worlds now colonized, but still livable for genetically baseline humans. As a consequence, Mars was the only planet that had been colonized prior to the discovery of Warke Drive, with civilian colonies starting in 2077 and self-government beginning in 2093.

    Initially, Mars provided large quantities of real estate and plentiful paychecks to technical professionals willing to go, and served as a destination for penal labor and excess population. The population exploded with subsidization of moving expenses, but growth quickly dwindled with the realization that, despite the large investment, the planet simply wasn't that hospitable to humans.

    Physiology: Martians are human, with little variation in terms of genetics; the most notable one is a slight shift towards darker skin due to Mars's lackluster UV shielding, but not outside human norms. Martians are normally identified by their height: they stand in an average of .3 meters taller than their Earthbound equivalents, and some clock in at over 2.6 meters, due to the developmental effects of Mars's low gravity. Martians also have a tendency to be barrel-chested, a consequence of the low oxygen environment of Mars.

    Psychology: Martians are mentally human, with little-to-no variation. Many Martians are fierce nationalists, in response to their unique history among human society. Average IQ for Martians is slightly higher than it is on Earth, by about 4 or 5 points, probably due to the engineering and technical background of many of the first colonists of Mars. It has also been proposed that Mars's low gravity may also be a contributing factor, since height correlates to intelligence and the low gravity makes circulation (necessary for higher functioning) easier.

    Social Position: Martians are often viewed as a unique ethnic group, with all the problems that come with that. The negative stereotype of the Martian is arrogant, unemotional, and overtly nationalistic; the positive stereotype is meticulous, intelligent, and proud. The negative stereotype is far more prolific, due in large part to Chinese and IEU propaganda during the First and Second Mars Wars.

    Religion: While generalizations of such a large multinational group are difficult, Martians tend to be areligious more than their Earthbound counterparts. Scientific naturalism is the majority "religion," followed by Catholicism and Hinduism, with significant minorities of Muslims, Protestants and various tribal religions.

    Transhumanism is based on the idea of transcending human immorality, primarily through the use of mind-altering cybernetics. Modern transhumanism emerged as a cohesive political philosophy in the late twenty-first century. Its beginning is generally dated to 2074, with the publishing of The Selfless Human, but the antecedents stretch back over a century, and fiction and nonfiction works with transhumanist elements can be found in especially dense formation for about a decade prior. The core principle dates back to Nieztche: man is something that shall be overcome.

    Transhumanism grew in power in significant part due to reaction by the general public to the oncoming economic unification of mankind into the IEU. Although a worldwide structure with real power was approaching, the IEU's predecessor organizations were bureaucratic quangocracies, and worries about an amoral future came to the fore, motivating students and young professionals in particular to become transhumanists. As transhumanism became a large movement, various cybernetics were fabricated for the purpose of making their users more and more empathetic.

    Physiology: The majority of transhumans are physically unaugmented, but a significant portion have been cybernetically altered, from small additions, such as cybernetic eyes or internal stimulant reserves, to complete bodily replacement. They come from all ethnic groups and walks of life.

    Psychology: The exact specifics of psychological rewiring vary, but the defining characteristic of the transhumanist movement is its approach to neuropsychology. Numerous different "chips" have been produced, which are inserted in surgical procedures and cause a hyperempathetic reaction to others' pain. The reaction is not as great as physical pain, but it does create significant discomfort and makes it difficult for transhumans to avoid reacting to others' pain.

    Social Position: Transhumanism is generally perceived as a naive, infantile political ideology which ignores conventional morality. For most of the public, its members are perceived as political children or irritating missionaries at best, and dangerous subversives and zealots at worst. The widespread distaste for transhumans has translated into various laws preventing and impeding progress in cybernetics and related technologies.

    Religion: Transhumans tend to be scientific naturalists with various moral philosophies ranging from the Confucian to the Kantian to the utilitarian. There is a significant minority of religious individuals, primarily liberal Christians and neo-pagans, with a small number of almost every human religion (and a few converts to alien religions).

    Conjux-class Gengineered Human (AKA "Conjuxes")
    Conjux-class gengineered humans are specially crafted for the purpose of relationships. In a way, Conjuxes are the apex of the commoditization of human interaction, the literal exchange of money for someone who will like you. The earliest models were produced by Japan in the early 2100s, using rather more primitive methods of imprinting. Because of sexual politics, most Conjuxes are female.

    Physiology: Conjuxes tend to be very physically attractive, to a degree far outside of the norms. They are also infertile. Otherwise, they're fairly normal, except for being a bit healthier than normal and having the common sleep-reducing and life-expanding genetic modifications.

    Psychology: Humans and Conjuxes are quite similar psychologically in most regards, except for sexuality. Traditional human notions of sexuality, such as the Kinsey scale, do not properly express Conjux sexuality. Their identity, including their sexuality, is completely wrapped up in their mate. The loss of their mate is psychologically devastating, and in 83% of cases, results in suicide or suicidal behavior leading to death. There is an extremely high correlation between survivors and Conjuxes who hold religious views that take a negative view of suicide. Conjuxes whose mates die are immediately moved into intensive counselling and suicide prevention centers.

    Social Position: Conjuxes are generally the mates of the rich, and gain some small portion of their mate's social advantages from this. They are also extremely stigmatized, however, and generally treated as subhuman by their would-be peers. Their mates are also stigmatized by this.

    Religion: Conjuxes have identical religious views to their mate.

    Corvus-class Gengineered Human (AKA "Ravens")
    Corvus-class gengineered humans are specially crafted for the purpose of scientific, engineering and technical jobs. Their origins were in corporate thinktanks and military strategic initiatives, but as their genetic typology became more prolific they have become employed in virtually any area where there is a very high profit to having intelligent, creative individuals. Due to problems with duplicating the full range of effects in males, they are all female.

    Physiology: Ravens are physically difficult to distinguish from humans. There are some minor variations, such as a slightly higher cranial capacity, but these are difficult to detect with the naked eye and do not lie outside of the baseline range. Their most important physical deviaton from the norm is that their body naturally produces a powerful mental stimulant. They are also infertile.

    Psychology: Ravens are much smarter than baseline humans on the whole, scraping up to the upper limits of human intelligence. There are a few baseline humans who rival or even outthink Ravens, but they are extremely rare. They are somewhat less capable of interacting with people normally; some of the genetic and developmental effects they use have traded a decent amount of social intelligence for other kinds. Ravens are almost universally aromantic and asexual.

    Social Position: Most Ravens are employed as highly skilled labor working for corporations or governments. The handful of former employees and retirees are in high demand in the labor market, but many employers do have worries that a formerly-employed Raven will not be as loyal towards their company as another employee might, since they've already demonstrated an exceptional ability to switch careers midstream. Among the general public, Ravens are perceived as antisocial and subconsciously avoided by peers.

    Religion: Ravens are almost invariantly scientific naturalists, and have minimal exposure to ethical systems. They are taught to solve problems, not decide what problems to solve. Most Ravens who become interested in such things eventually come to humanist and utilitarian moralities.

    Lupus-class Gengineered Humans (AKA "Wolves")
    Lupus-class gengineered humans followed hot on the heels of the development of Parduses. While Parduses were developed for the purpose of assassination, Wolves were more focused on group operations, such as sabotage, rapid insertion, prisoner rescue, and other black ops that required an extremely well-coordinated group of professionals. Their genome is a long-divorced derivative of the Pardus genome, but the decades have left the two as distant from each other as they are from any other human variant.

    Physiology: Wolves reach towards the top of human physical limits, operating at a level well above human norms. Their body is, however, contained almost completely within the set of baseline possibilities. There is a much larger number of male Wolves to female ones; the small number is to limit Wolf breeding.

    Psychology: At their core, Wolves are pack animals. understand, intellectually, the scale of the world around them, but they react to it at a level markably lower than humans. To a Wolf, the world is comprised of only a few important things: the Wolf, their pack, their handler, and whatever their current task is. Other things are relevant only insofar as they affect one of these things. They are capable of expert simulation of normal human empathy, though in unrestricted environments their more sociopathic side is allowed free reign.

    Social Position: Wolves are respected to some degree, with several prominent declassified operations to their names. They are often viewed as war heroes by the general public, given the tight, low-casualty methodology pursued by most operations they are involved in. They are not beyond suspicion, however, and do suffer from some amount of discrimination by police forces.

    Religion: Many Wolves have raised their packs to a level of supernatural importance - beyond that, they are almost all areligious.

    Pardus-class Gengineered Humans (AKA "Parduses")
    Pardus-class gengineered humans have antecedents stretching all the way back to the 2070s. These early proto-Parduses were assassins, much like their current parts, but although they were much less efficient than their modern counterparts, they worked with an incredible degree of skill. Due to the development of the Yensin cocktail, the modern Pardus is now a well-honed killing machine, created by various governments to perform a wide variety of wetwork.

    Physiology: Parduses have exceptionally slow metabolisms, except for brief periods of heightened activity. Their heartbeat and breathing are normally at levels that would be dangerously low for normal humans, but spike higher than normal when they are in periods of high activity. Their senses are also exceptionally refined, and their eyes are altered to enable night vision. They are also infertile.

    Psychology: Parduses have a unique, specially constructed variant of antisocial personality disorder. They have minimal empathetic skills, and though they are taught how to interact with people on a cursory level, their social skills lag distantly behind as a consequence. Parduses are also heavily biased towards following orders from their superiors; this serves as their primary motivational tool, since they also have subdued emotional responses to stimulus. Parduses have no sex drive and do not obtain pleasure from sex if they do engage in it.

    Social Position: Parduses are one of the most disliked gengineered humans. Their freedom of movement is highly restricted, and they are generally the first suspects in any murder-for-hire. Although Parduses who have retired from service are now legally "free," this freedom is surprisingly less than that enjoyed by their baseline peers. Parduses don't seem to mind much, however.

    Religion: Parduses do not generally believe in any god, because they tend to focus much more on temporal matters. Some take up philosophy, but most just do whatever they feel like (which is occasionally quite bad).

    The Irai are the sapient natives of the planet Ozto. First contact with the Irai occurred on October 26th, 2123 and was conducted by a group of colonists who quickly brought in weapons several millenia in advance of the local technology. The existing social order was completely shattered as a consequence, and a series of wars known as the First Contact Wars were fought between various Irai states. On April 12th, 2125, the IEU sent an expeditionary force under the auspices of the Initiative for Continued Peace to examine the vastly increased demand for weaponry on Ozto, and quickly realized the extent of the damage. A large-scale military campaign of unification and pacification (known as the Ozto Conflict) began on May 3rd, 2125, and the campaign was finally completed with the Kingdom of Niri's entrance into the IEU on March 1st, 2134.

    Although first-contact with the Irai suggested a much younger civilization than humanity, since their technological development was on par with that humanity during the bronze age, this initial belief has since been proven incorrect by physical evidence. The first signs of agriculture and civilization date back to over 25,000 years ago, making Irai agriculture more than twice as old as humanity's. The reasons for their slow technological development in comparison to humanity is currently hotly debated; various theories include their unique biology, their environment, and simple luck. It is worth noting that the Irai originate from a mineral-poor island named Takota approximately the size of Madagascar and that they reached a level of astronavigation necessary to reach the Kozto supercontinent only 294 years ago (1852 CE).

    Physiology: The Irai are a taxonomic family of sapient bipedal omnivores, descended from plains-dwelling bipedal omnivores, with two extant species, the Etachi and Mazkai. The two sexes are distinguished primarily by the shape of their frill: males have a longer, angular frill, while females have a shorter, curved frill. They are otherwise similar in size and shape, though there are minor variations. Females give birth to live young after a period of gestation of approximately 7 months, and the young are almost completely helpless for over a year, and reach physical maturity after 9-14 years. Pregnancy in females can be induced by lack of heterosexual sex, resulting in a male "clone" child, in a process similar to parthenogenesis (in such a case, the child is genetically identical to the mother: Irai sex is determined solely by hormone exposure in utero). Brothers of this type have the closest form of social bond that Etachi experience, and their births are generally considered holy events and good omens. The females do not breastfeed, but both sexes can and do regurgitate partially-digested food for those Irai that are too small to properly digest food on their own.

    Irai biochemistry is startlingly similar to humans, and many foods can be safely digested by both species. Its most distinguishing feature is the unique brain chemistry of the Irai, which relies on a steady influx of Irin B, a chemical that is naturally produced by the Etachi, but not by the Mazkai. Because all other sources of Irin B were hunted to extinction tens of thousands of years ago by the Mazkai, the Mazkai would need to regularly eat the body of an Etachi, or their brain and body would shut down. Six months after the discovery of Ozto and the Irai by the IEU at large, an artificial source of Irin B was produced by genetic engineering.

    Because of their shorter lifespans and distinct plumbing, Irai remain almost exactly as fertile over their entire lifespans, and females do not have a menstrual cycle. A 30-year-old Etachi is about 95% as fertile as a 10-year-old Etachi, and this is true of both males and females; a similar principle holds for Mazkai.

    The Irai have an elongated, horselike skull with one eye on each side, providing a larger field of vision than humans but reduced depth perception. A large protective frill, similar to that of a triceratops, defends their unusually long necks. Their three-jointed legs end with a small foot with four relatively long, but largely vestigial toes. Their hands have three fingers and a thumb. Their skin is chalk white and has a rough, thick texture.

    Psychology: Irai psychology is difficult to characterize, as the Etachi and Mazkai have a truly vast gulf in terms of mental acuity and social behavior. Although the original shape of Irai society was almost certainly quite different, over a million years it has shifted and today the natural social structure of the species is about three hundred Etachi lead by a family unit of Mazkai. Regardless of whether it is a cultural or psychological trait, almost all Irai expect a social structure roughly corresponding to this shape, albeit possibly adjusted for the particulars of modern society. Both species are matriarchal, though with large differences in expression.

    Social Position: Irai face harsh discrimination within modern society. Discrimination is informal, rather than formal, and seen through numerous statistics, such as rate of promotions, conviction rate, income (for virtually all occupations), access to health care, and so forth. While many argue that these high rates are a consequence of the difference between Irai and humans, the trend of discrimination continues even when adjustments are made for poverty, murder rates in Irai communities, and other relevant data. Discrimination reduces in volume when Irai society is viewed through the lens of Ozto, but "positive discrimination" towards humans as part of modernization offensives still has visible effects.

    Religion: There are numerous religions among the Irai, but describing them as a group is nearly impossible due to their high diversity (7 boast more than 1 million practitioners). Almost all major Irai religions have a dualistic aspect, but with strength contrasting weakness and following contrasting leading; it is generally agreed that this is a consequence of the unique social relations of the Irai. The vast majority also venerate Etachi sacrifice as an exceptional moral calling, the highest and greatest gift an Etachi can give to his community.

    Names: Irai written language is all based on the same script, which has restricted and controlled linguistic changes over the past few centuries. In this script, each character represents a simple syllable, such as Ka or Lo, and there is a special linguistic construction to add the letter "z" before a consonant (e.g. Ozto, Mazkai). The "ah" (or "au") sound is masculine and the "oe" sound is feminine. Etachi names are two-character, such as Kala or Roko. If the Etachi is domesticated and part of a Mazkai's household, the name is followed by "ka" (which means, roughly, "owned by" or "part of the household of") and the Mazkai's master's name. Mazkai names are generally three or four syllables long, and often longer.

    The Etachi are the smaller, less aggressive variant of the Irai. They are the only living natural producers of Irin B, and have been effectively domesticated by the Mazkai as a consequence. The Etachi species dates back several hundred thousand years, although they have genetically changed significantly over that period.

    Physiology: Etachi are the smaller Irai; when standing with their backs straight, their height averages 1.9 meters. They have a similar posture to humans, and their short frills provide very limited protection as a consequence. Their fingers are exceptionally long, about 25% longer than a human's in comparison to their palms. Etachi take approximately 9 years to grow to complete physical and mental maturity, which are achieved roughly simultaneously. Etachi also reach old age at a much more rapid rate, with a life expectancy after age five of 40 years.

    Psychology: In terms of mental development, Etachi lag significantly behind humans. Though they have effective language and tool using skills, their capacity for critical thinking and independent thought have been gradually ground down by millenia of domestication by the Mazkai. As a corollary, almost all Etachi feel much more comfortable following orders than giving them. According to many xenopsychologists, most Etachi view themselves as participants or parts of society, rather than as genuine individuals in the traditional human sense. Like humans, they prefer to live in fairly large groups.

    Like their Mazkai cousins, Etachi are matriarchal. Labor - including childrearing - is divided quite fairly between females and males, though females are heavily prioritized in achieving high rankings, and there is little-to-no preference for males over females in hunting and other violent activities. Etachi rear the children collectively: motherhood has little effect on how close a child is to a female engaged in childrearing, and fatherhood is completely unrelated. Complex social systems of sanctions prevent individuals from showing too much favoritism to their own young, or from failing to provide to the children as a whole. Those Etachi who do not engage in childrearing are expected to make up for it by providing more to their social group as a whole.

    The psychological effect of Etachi's mating is an interest in the continued well-being of their mate for a significant amount of time. As a whole, this is not applied in a way that is heterosexual or monogamous. Etachi take numerous partners, and homosexual sex is more common that heterosexual sex, especially between females. The most attractive characteristic of an Etachi female is social power, while in males, an athletic physique is preferred. For Etachi, sex is part of the social structure, like favors or reciprocation in humans.

    Exceptions to the general domestication of Etachi do exist, but are treated very poorly by Irai society as a whole. These "undomesticated" Etachi are the opposite of the stereotype, and are loathe to obey orders and sit at the bottom of a power structure. At present, the exact cause is not known, but it is believed to be related to genetics or in-utero development.

    Social Position: While the institute of Etachi servitude is nowhere near as harsh as it was a few decades ago, most Etachi are, either formally or informally, part of a Mazkai household. Outside of their own kind and Mazkai (who have a much more nuanced understanding of Etachi), Etachi are often perceived as dimwitted, naive, gullible, obedient and possessing a slave mentality. Humans tend to be paternalistic towards Etachi, generally thinking they're either too childish to be useful sources of information or input, or that they're too childish to be left on their own.

    The Mazkai are the larger, more intelligent variant of the Irai. In their modern form, the Mazkai date back about two hundred thousand years.

    Physiology: Mazkai are the larger Irai; when standing with their backs straight, their height averages 3 meters. Their typical posture, however, is low to the ground, with their torso hunched over the ground and their palms being occasionally used to support their bulky weight; like this, they average 1.6 meters in height. Their frill is especially long, protecting their neck much better than it does for the Etachi, and a larger frill is considered a sign of virility. Mazkai take approximately 14 years to grow to complete physical maturity, and 16 to grow to complete mental maturity. Mazkai have a life expectancy after age five of 60 years.

    Mazkai brain chemistry requires a regular supplementation of Irin B. Although in the modern era, genetic engineering has provided genetically engineered plants capable of producing Irin B, in the past this was not possible. As a consequence, the Mazkai would eat the bodies of Etachi in order to survive. They needed to eat an adult Etachi every eight months or a newborn Etachi every two months.

    Psychology: Mazkai are roughly equivalent in intelligence to humans, though they might be a bit more clever. Socially, they tend to be heavily domineering over almost all sapient non-Mazkai, as a consequence of their unique evolutionary history. They also have a much smaller natural social grouping, living in small family units lead by the female parent (or, in case of the mother's death, an adult female child) and preferring to minimize interaction with outside Mazkai. In their interactions with those they perceive as peers, they exhibit remarkably high tendencies towards "pack" behavior, attempting to establish dominance over the other, generally through social maneuvering and cleverness, but more rarely through physical force.

    Social Position: Of all the species encountered by humanity, Mazkai probably have it the best. They tend to be fairly well propertied, with even the lowest ranks of their society owning some land. Stereotypes regarding Mazkai tend to have a kind of grudging respect behind them. They're generally thought of as intelligent and capable, if antisocial and overtly domineering. Authorities tend to perceive Mazkai as reticent to provide information, and generally "self segregating," and often distribute resources away from Mazkai-dominated Irai communities as a consequence.

    Libids are the sapient natives of the planet Armab. The Colonization and Reclamation Initiative (CRI) encountered the Libids on June 2nd, 2139, when a scouting probe detected complex multicellular organic life on Armab and an expeditionary force was sent in response. Until first contact with the CRI, the Libids had never previously encountered humanity, and their society was organized along purely tribal grounds. Because of this, traits typically associated with tribal societies - lack of understanding of, or respect for, a law and order society, extreme variation of religion and language, distrust and misunderstanding of modern technology - are prevalent among modern Libids.

    Despite being the oldest known sapient species, dating back over two million years, the Libids have existed as tribal hunter-gatherer nomads for their entire known history. Interestingly, the birth and spread of Libids did not coincide with any mass extinction events, unlike the rise of humans and Irai on Earth and Ozto. Libids have also never suffered a near extinction event, unlike humans (e.g. the Toba event) or Irai (e.g. the Schmidt-Najjar Bottleneck).

    Physiology: Libids are a single species of bipedal omnivores, but have a far greater level of genetic versatility than humans and Irai alike. Pigmentation, shape, body mass and even certain biological functions vary wildly across Libid subspecies (informally, they are often referred to as races or breeds). Because of this, it is difficult to generalize Libid biology.

    Libids are a monoecious species that reproduces sexually with both partners involved. Less than a month after mating, one or both partners will lay a small clutch of five to eight eggs, which are then lightly buried and left behind by the tribe. After a period of approximately four months, the eggs hatch, and the children claw their way out of the ground. These young Libids, around the size of a small dog, are self-sufficient and capable of hunting like a pack until their tribe returns or another tribe stumbles upon them. These "packs" typically form a bare-bones language until they can make contact with adult Libids and acquire a more complex one. Unlike humans, Libids retain the ability to learn languages rapidly and without any frame of reference for life, so Libids do not require early parenting. After approximately seven years, a Libid reaches full mental and physical maturity. Average age of death after age five varies wildly (on Armab, it is 63 years) but there are living specimens who are estimated to be more than one thousand years old. To the extent that Libids do age, they do it very slowly - even the oldest specimens (with ages in the thousands of years) show only minor cellular degradation, akin to a human in his mid-to-late thirties.

    Libid biology combines traits of both plants and animals. They use photosynthesis to help process their food, and as such spend the daylight hours inactive, simply basking in the sun. They also cannot maintain consciousness for long spans of time: medical testing suggests that after an average of eight hours of consciousness, they begin to hallucinate and lose their grasp on reality. Their natural sleep cycle consists of approximately two and a half hours consciousness followed by forty-five minutes of sleep during the night, and sleeping straight through the day. Libids can maintain consciousness during the day in a pattern similar to their night sleep cycle, but cannot remain active for very long.

    The Libid form is basically similar to the human form. They have two arms, two legs, and a protrusion from the torso containing the sensory organs, brain and mouth. They have two hands which are similar to those of a humans, but their fingers end in hardened bone. They have two "fingers" and a thumb, their hand shape is reminiscent of the feet of Earthly birds. Their "feet" have a similar structure, due to their history as a brachiating species.

    Unlike humans, Libids have no neck; they are capable of rotating their head thirty degrees to the left or right without causing any pain or damage. Their ears are simply slits in the side of their head, and instead of eyes they have a large sensory patch. Although it covers much of their face and is much larger than a human eye, it is also far less vulnerable to damage, with recorded cases of Libids who have suffered significant permanent damage to the area still being able to clearly distinguish between objects at long distances. Their sensory patch can detect light from the ultraviolet into the infrared with depth perception, and is significantly more precise than the human eye. Libids lack a sense of smell.

    Psychology: Libids naturally live in nomadic hunter-gatherer tribes of about two hundred individuals which function on a fission-fusion basis. No recorded Libid society has any real concept of parents, spouses or children in the same way that human societies do. Historically, Libid children are left to fend for themselves until adulthood, though they may "orbit" the main tribe until they reach adulthood, remaining physically close but not being proper members. Libid children operate as a pack with their siblings in orbit. Libids do not really think about their young as people until they reach mental and physical adulthood.

    Because Libids are native to a planet with no tilt, no seasons and no moons, and they live exceptionally long lives, they do not have a long-term sense of time in the way that humans do, nor did any Libid society develop a calendar. The idea of measuring minutes, hours or days makes intuitive sense to them, but measuring months and years does not. They do have exceptionally good long-term memories, however.

    Social Position: Although technically the right of the Libids on Armab to responsible government is respected, the establishment of these responsible governments is still a work in progress and heavily reliant on human intervention, prompting widespread dissatisfaction with the status quo. For the limited Libid migrant community (est. 27,250,000), racism from within and without is the norm. Outsiders tend to perceive them as lazy, oversexed, uneducated and (less commonly) sociopathic in their disregard for children. Libids themselves closely identify various breeds with different behaviors: Mountain Libids are slow and methodical, Desert Libids are flighty and conservative, and so forth. "Mixed race" Libids are remarkably rare, probably due to interethnic racism. Among humans, almost all Libids "present" as male, since human society is (mildly) patriarchal, and among Irai, almost all Libids "present" as female, since Irai society is matriarchal. This is despite the fact that Libids are monogendered and have both masculine and feminine characteristics.

    Religion: Libid religions tend to focus on folklore and explaining the mechanics of the universe rather than providing a moral standard as most modern Earth religions do. They are generally heavily animistic and inclusivist, to the point that cleanly distinguishing between Libid "religions" is virtually impossible. Ideas on the afterlife include all typical human ideas, including nonexistence, reincarnation, and a distinct afterlife which discriminates on the basis of moral behavior. However, there is also a very common idea of a transcendent afterlife, wherein Libids become part of a greater spiritual being alongside the other dead members of their tribe (or, more recently, their subspecies). Religion in Libid society is personal rather than dogmatic; there are no holy texts, just religious songs and stories which are passed on through an oral tradition.

    Names: Libid names (like their language) vary wildly, but they tend to be rapid and "bubbly," with many "p," "b," "m" and "d" sounds.
    Last edited by Cyclone231; 2011-09-10 at 06:50 AM.
    Age of Avarice - A homebrew SF setting featuring neo-colonialist humans and primitive aliens (offsite hosting)

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    Default Re: Age of Avarice: A Homebrew SF Setting (PEACH)

    Planets and Other Habitated Rocks
    (A Warke Point is a measure of distance regarding interstellar travel. higher = further away)
    Ozto (6 Warke Points from Earth)
    Total Population: 705.9 million
    Day Length: 34 hours, 2 minutes
    Year Length: 226.92 Earth days or 160.02 local days (0.62 Earth years)
    Solar System: Orbits Makara along with six other terrestrial planets and two gas giants. Ozto is the fourth planet from Makara.
    Surface Gravity: 1.08 G
    Atmospheric Pressure: 0.94 bars
    Climate: Earthlike, low humidity
    Surface Covered By Water: 48%
    Natural Satellites: Two moons in stable orbit on opposite sides of the planet (Tazka, Naro)
    Biosphere: Diverse; spiny, tall trees and pervasive insect life, otherwise earthlike; native life moderately compatible with Earth life. Home planet to the Irai.

    Environment: Ozto is located within the habitable zone of Makara (formerly Yama) and has a total gravity, average temperature and an atmosphere extremely close to that of Earth. The surface of Ozto is divided almost entirely into two largely separate landmasses: a massive supercontinent called Kozto and an island about the size of Madagascar called Takota. The number of small islands is limited and their placement is often heavily isolated.

    History: The Irai originally evolved on the island of Takota around 90,000 BCE, eventually obtaining agriculture around 23,000 BCE. They only discovered Kozto in 1852 CE, but they quickly began to settle it once they had. Settling Kozto was used as a way of relieving population pressures in Takota, similar to the Polynesian spread throughout Polynesia. As a consequence, the Irai settled Kozto very slowly and gradually over time, with a slowly growing population on Kozto itself that began to spread further and further out as time went on. Because Takota was relatively ethnically unified, and linguistic shift began relatively recently, all Irai languages are closely interlinked, similar to the Romance languages.

    Ozto was discovered by a group of colonists on October 26th, 2123. At the time, Irai technology was roughly on the scale of bronze age humans. The colonists quickly sold massive quantities of weapons to the natives in exchange for equally massive quantity of lithium, and the spread of modern firearms quickly threw Ozto into turmoil. These wars, known as the First Contact Wars, caused massive death tolls and severely disrupted the national and ethnic character of local countries. The colonists sold in sufficient quantities to all native countries to prevent the creation a single planetary government, but large exchanges of territory, culture and language took place, as well as significant depopulation.

    In response to the huge amount of weapon importation and lithium exportation which was occurring, the IEU sent an expeditionary force under the auspices of the Initiative for Continued Peace on March 12th, 2125. Quickly identifying what had happened, a major mobilization order went out, and Ozto was invaded in a long, slow process that began on May 3rd, 2125. Most resources were consumed in large counterinsurgency campaigns intended to spread areas of effective IEU control in areas of nominal IEU control. This also allowed many nations to remain independent for a significant period of time, since the IEU lacked the resources necessary for a planetwide invasion and had to work piecemeal.

    After nine years of counterinsurgency and conquest, the Kingdom of Niri surrendered to IEU forces on March 1st, 2134, hailing the end of the Ozto Conflict. Ozto remained a primary target for IEU industrial investment until the discovery of Armab, and has significant local industries as a consequence.

    States and Interstate Politics: Ozto is comprised of 43 independent countries. The oldest civilizations are several millenia old, and located on Takota. Kozto itself is comprised primarily of various relatively recent coastal civilizations, but many inland areas are administered by IEU-created ethnic states, since the Irai native to these areas were organized in a tribal manner. Ozto is a major secondary target for IEU industrial investment, due to its large population and unique political importance.

    Interstate politics on Ozto are generally polite; the First Contact Wars and the Ozto Conflict may have produced irritable governments but it also produced pacifistic populations loathe to restart the bloodshed of a decade ago. Ozto is a planet in an uneasy state of peace, and limited counterinsurgency campaigns (sometimes called "the Second Ozto Conflict") continue to this day in countries that were invaded relatively late.

    Economy and Society: Ozto's economy is relatively modern, with only around thirty percent of the population committed to agriculture, and large native industry and mechanization. It has a significant number of secondary good exports. Although Ozto is quite industrialized, it also has the signature marks of haphazardly applied IEU aid: disused railways, empty factories and underpriced, unoccupied housing dot the landscape of the planet.

    Ozto has a very limited number of professional laborers, because of the Irai's unique biology. Etachi are generally too dumb and Mazkai are generally bureaucrats and managers rather than professionals. This has heavily restricted technological developments on Ozto, and most corporations on Ozto rely on foreign designs.

    A recent, very important legal development in Ozto's history is the banning of ritual sacrifice. Historically, Irai engaged in a form of ritual sacrifice whereby an Etachi would be killed and eaten by a Mazkai in order to fulfill the latter's biological need for Irin B. First contact changed all this, because the IEU was unwilling to tolerate such a repulsive behavior. Almost immediately after first contact, the IEU officially banned this ritual sacrifice, and proceeded to legally enforce it in all territory under its control. Much of the population of Ozto dislikes this development, including the large majority of the Etachi population.

    National Republic of Heriko
    Demonym: Herikono (incorrectly, Herikoan)
    Population: 43.4 million
    Demographics: Irai 98.8% (Etachi 99.8%, Mazkai 0.2%), baseline human 1.1%, other 0.1%
    Date Settled: 1865 CE (self-government established 2128 CE)
    Languages: Herikono (dominant, official), Lotano, English
    Life Expectancy (Etachi): 37 years
    Life Expectancy (Mazkai): 54 years
    Life Expectancy (Human): 76 years
    Adult Literacy: 64%
    College Education: 12%
    Capital and Largest Permanent Settlement: Mazkari (1.6 million)
    Government Type: Parliamentary republic
    Legal System: Civil law; extant death penalty, Etachi servitude illegal
    Exports: Precious metals (interstellar), electronics (interstellar), agricultural goods
    Local Military: Limited IEU garrison
    Head of State: Prime Minister Feng Naishuang, 2132-Present (Labor Party)

    History: Thirteen years after the first sailors from Takota discovered the Kozto supercontinent, what is now Heriko was first settled. Like the rest of the first few generations of Kozto settlers, the settlers were pushed out by simple population statistics, with the population of Takota having reached its peak under that century's agricultural conditions. These early Mazkai families, mostly of Kakorino stock, took with them a sustainable population of Etachi, and established fishing settlements along the coastline.

    Over the next century, Heriko slowly mutated from a simple fishing society with some farms further inland to a sedentary, agricultural civilization. The first formation of a national government is not clear, but it is believed to have occurred around 1920 CE, and was organized by rich landowning Mazkai. A rudimentary code of conduct for the national Senate ensued, and the de facto aristocracy became relatively entrenched, with families occasionally entering and leaving this inner circle as fortune favored or failed them. Based upon written records, Herikono turned from a dialect of Kakorino to a distinct language around 2020 CE, but a widespread, distinct national identity had emerged by 1940 CE.

    Heriko was shocked out of a cultural wave of apathy and stagnation in 2123 CE, when human colonists landed on the planet on the coast of Heriko, eager to start new lives. When they discovered the locals, they quickly established trade relations of the most brutal kind, with sales of weapons to all the natives of Ozto in exchange for natural resources. When the Herikono couldn't buy, the colonists would sell to others, sparking dozens of wars. Heriko expanded the most in this period, absorbing border regions and a significant part of the Lotano Confederation.

    By the time the IEU discovered this problem in 2125 CE, the damage was enormous, and Heriko was targeted first, as it was the center of the damage and the largest strategic threat. The first strike in the decade-long campaign was a decapitation strike on the capital Mazkari, leaving Heriko's central government disrupted and vulnerable. By the time a month had passed, the old government of Heriko was no more and the entire country was under IEU occupation.

    The problem became that the standard practice of ritual sacrifice was absolutely loathed by the occupation forces, and was summarily banned. However, the Mazkai had a biological need to eat Etachi. During the first six months of the occuptaion, Irin B could not be artificially produced, leaving three-fourths of the Mazkai population without their expected meal. Illegal killings occurred in huge numbers, and a mass exodus occurred, often with the Mazkai being forced to leave behind their former servants.

    As a consequence, the Mazkai population was reduced from its prewar level of about 2% of the Irai population to 0.2%, leaving huge masses of Etachi without leadership. With Heriko's insurgency quickly reducing in scale as a consequence, this was believed to be a useful way to take control of Ozto. Other problems quickly arose, such as the increased morale of neighboring countries, the growth of their officer corps, the violence of the remaining insurgents, and the unwillingness of the enemy to surrender, and the idea was discarded.

    Heriko's "population imbalance" has never been corrected. It has spent over two Etachi generations with an almost completely Etachi population. This has left the society with a "spiritual hole" that has been filled up to some extent with humans taking the reins left behind by the Mazkai emigrants.

    Government and Politics: The government of Heriko is a parliamentary republic in a standard European party-list proportional representation system. It has five major political parties: Labor, Democratic, Traditional, Conservative and Green. The current government is a Democratic/Labor/Green coalition with a handful of minor parties thrown in. The Traditional Party seeks a return to pre-invasion Heriko, and is the largest single party in parliament.

    Of the current members of Parliament, over 75% are human, about 20% are Mazkai and the remainder are Etachi. The exceedingly small Etachi minority is comprised mostly of those rare Etachi who are "undomesticated," with only a handful of psychologically normal Etachi. In the past and present, the Lotano Confederation has argued heavily for a reintegration of the lands that were taken during the First Contact Wars, and this has become a serious point of contention. Some elements of the Lotano Confederation have even rallied for the integration of the entirety of Heriko into Lota, in an attempt to return Heriko to some degree of "normalcy."

    Economy and Society: Heriko is historically a country of agriculture and fishing, and this remains true. Some species of plant and fish native to Ozto are mutually compatible with human biologies, and sold to humans as a delicacy; most, however, are toxic and are sold to neighboring countries and on the interstellar market for offworld Irai communities (offworld Irai agriculture being very limited). Heriko's economy is fairly diversified, with a significant mining industry and a limited electronics industry.

    Power Groups:
    Black Hands: Although they have limited power in the National Republic of Heriko, the Black Hands are based in it. The Black Hands were founded in 2126, initially a clique of radical soldiers in the IEU military, and quickly became a small but dangerous terrorist organization with an anarchist bent. The Black Hands have as their explicit goal the complete eradication of Mazkai-dominated life on Ozto, and have engaged in numerous targeted assassinations and covert operations in pursuit of this goal. Their operations in Heriko are limited, as are attempts by the local government to crush them.

    Herikono Adventure Seeds:
    Running: A Black Hand assassin kills a prominent Mazkai politician, but things don't go quite as planned for him and he's forced to go on the run. He contacts the PCs requesting that they help him get off planet, offering significant money and favors if they do so. If they don't... well, he has some friends, and he can't say for certain what they would do to the PCs if he were captured.

    Diplomatic Finesse: Lota and Heriko enter negotiations over disputed territories, and things seem to be going fairly well for once, at least until a Lotano diplomat is shot and killed outside his home. The Herikono government believes the assassination was committed by a Black Hand. But the Lotano government sees things a bit differently and suspects foul play from Herikono nationalists, and hire the PCs to conduct an independent investigation.

    Old Fashioned: It has been over twenty years since the invasion of Heriko, but some things never change. A serial killer has begun murdering Etachi, but the bodies are left looking like those that the impromptu murder and cannibalism of the initial occupation left behind. The authorities have yet to capture the murderer, or even put together a serious psychological profile, and the family of one of the victims offer the PCs a significant sum to find out what happened.

    Kalai-Pahoa (7 Warke Points from Earth)
    Total Population: Unsettled (unknown venenifer venator population)
    Day Length: 18 days, 21 hours (one rotation around Kane-ia-kama)
    Year Length: 4962.93 Earth days, 262.94 local days (13.60 Earth years)
    Solar System: Orbits gas giant Kane-ia-kama. Kane-ia-kama orbits Pele.
    Surface Gravity: 0.16 G
    Atmospheric Pressure: 1.6 bars
    Climate: Alien; extremely cold, nitrogen-rich atmosphere, sub-surface ammonia oceans, surface ethane lakes.
    Surface Covered By Water: 0% (12% by ice)
    Natural Satellites: Kalai-Pahoa is a natural satellite of gas giant Kane-ia-kama.
    Biosphere: Animal life native to the subsurface ammonia oceans. Simple cells native to surface ethane lakes.

    Environment: Kalai-Pahoa is a "Titan-like" moon. It orbits a gas giant, has ammonia-water subsurface oceans (beneath approximately 30 km of ice) and liquid ethane lakes, and is very cold, with surface temperatures of around -170 degrees Celsius. This makes it nearly identical to Titan, a moon of Saturn. Kalai-Pahoa's surface is dotted with ice and liquid ethane lakes. While the ethane lakes contain simple cells, the far more interesting specimens are found in the planet's ammonia-water oceans, trapped beneath the surface ice: large-scale animal life. Kalai-Pahoa is quite unique in that there is native animal life on it, yet there is no liquid water on the planet's surface, previously thought to be a requirement for animal life.

    Animal life native to Kalai-Pahoa is mostly bilaterally symnetric, but there are very large trilaterally symnetric specimens. The most notable native is the species venenifer venator, a six-tentacled cephalopod-like creature with manipulating limbs and poisonous spurs. No live specimen has yet been obtained or observed, since it is native to the lower depths (50km or lower) of the ammonia ocean, but its brain - and studies of its cousins living closer to the surface - suggest high intelligence and social behavior, possibly consistent with sapient life. The primary source of energy for life on Kalai-Pahoa is hydrothermal vents scattered across the ocean's base, since the planet is surprisingly geologically active.

    History: Kalai-Pahoa was initially noted by an automated probe in 2132, and subsequently investigated by the scientific community. Human scientific probes to the planet's surface discovered the frozen remains of a cephalopod-like animal captured in the upper layer of ice in 2136. This was an important discovery, since it was previously believed that animal life could only thrive in an environment with liquid surface water. Subsequent expeditions have obtained other specimens and observed the behavior of ones living near the surface. Scientific expeditions are extremely interested in the native life, especially venenifer venator, but as of yet submarines capable of reaching the necessary depths and coping with the temperature and pressures have not been brought into the Pele system.

    Kalai-Pahoan Adventure Seeds:
    First Contact: After years of studying the planet, the IEU has finally given the go-ahead to make first contact with the venenifer venator. The PCs are leading members of the team sent down to study the methods of communications used by venenifer venator, and eventually open a line of communications, assuming the natives are actually sapient.

    Exploitation Alley: New information shows that Kalai-Pahoa has much larger lithium deposits than previously believed. This opens up a whole new realm of opportunities for mining, but IEU law says sapient natives get first claim... fortunately, no one has proven just yet that the venenifer venators are actually spaient. It's a race between pro-alien and pro-money factions!

    Armab (8 Warke Points from Earth)
    Total Population: 499.2 million
    Day Length: 26 hours, 17 minutes
    Year Length: 126.30 Earth days or 115.70 local days (0.35 Earth years)
    Solar System: Orbits Rama, along with one gas giant. Armab is the first planet from Rama.
    Surface Gravity: 0.98 G
    Atmospheric Pressure: 1.4 bars
    Climate: Earthlike, no seasons
    Surface Covered By Water: 22%
    Natural Satellites: None.
    Biosphere: Diverse; large amounts of autotrophic behavior in mobile life and numerous notable species of megafauna; native life toxic to Earth life and vice versa. Home planet to the Libids.

    Environment: Armab is located within the habitable zone of Rama and has a gravity, average temperature and an atmosphere extremely close to that of Earth. Its orbit is almost completely circular, with only an average seasonal variation of about two degrees centigrade from the hot season to the cold season. As a consequence, local life never developed seasonal behavior like life on Earth. This may also be related to the development of life with many autotrophic or plantlike characteristics. The native sapient life form of Armab, the Libids, are over two million years old as a species, but were hunter-gatherer nomads upon first contact.

    History: Armab was discovered by an automated scouting probe on April 2nd, 2139. The probe noted complex multicellular life, and an expeditionary force was sent to investigate. The expeditionary force arrived on Armab on June 19th, 2139, and first contact between Libid and humans was made. Various treaties were signed between local tribes and the IEU. Although small-scale conflicts broke out occasionally, local technology was extremely inferior to that of the expeditionary forces sent, and pacification was accomplished easily. The last major holdouts of Libids were contacted and integrated into the IEU on December 22nd, 2140.

    Integrated territories were quickly reorganized and rationalized, and much of the IEU's discretionary aid budget went towards the development of local industries, which continues to this day. The IEU sponsors immigration to and from Armab in order to aid local development, as the long-term well being of the Libid species is considered a major goal.

    States and Interstate Politics: Armab is comprised of seventeen geographically-defined ethnic states. A rare few have legitimate self-government, but most are "nascent states," nations located in the nether region between IEU occupation and full independence. Most governments on Armab are fledgling democracies, though Libids' natural tendency towards gerontocracy results in parliaments comprised of people with ages of up to a thousand years or so.

    Libid states are highly tenuous, with ethnic difficulties provoking frequent border conflicts and violent clashes between different tribes. Because each state's territory is defined on a rough estimation of the layout of different Libid breeds, neighboring countries often clash violently over who owns what land, and the IEU has redefined borders in the recent past and continues to do so.

    Economy and Society: Armab is a developing planet, with limited local industry. Much of the population has yet to move into permanent settlements, whether farming, mining or industry. Industry in particular is anemic, since Libids sleep for most of the night and all through the day. It is difficult to get investors to go out on a limb to employ unskilled workers who are biologically incapable of working even ten hours a day. As a consequence, the economy of Armab is run in an even more haphazard fashion than that of Ozto, with the IEU investing huge amounts of foreign aid into often irrational makework projects.

    A major problem that has come from modernization is the rise of diseases, particularly sexually transmitted diseases. Lackluster medical understanding of Libid biology is a primary factor, preventing widespread effective treatments to many diseases, and even the mild concentration of Libid populations in their small cities has lead to an explosion in the number and spread of Libid-born diseases. Another major factor is that Libids have historically engaged in fairly casual sex without significant worries. If one or both partners were impregnated, they would simply bury their eggs and hope for the best. Modern Libid society builds off of this biological and historical tendency, with Libids having sex with far more partners on average than humans. Although birth control and antibiotics are becoming more and more common, sexually transmitted diseases are growing at a far faster rate, and quickly becoming some of the most deadly diseases on Armab.

    One of the most important social developments of modernization is the fact that a Libid's biological "mother" holds legal parenthood over the child until it reaches legal adulthood (defined as four to seven years of age, depending on the nation). The IEU states that this is because Libid children should be parented, but many believe it is in order to provide a motive for Libids to begin using birth control to prevent an uncontrolled population explosion. The law is often completely ignored, and the nations of Armab have massive state-run orphanages as a consequence.

    Bapakaba (formerly, Federation of Lower Barbapa)
    Demonym: Bapakabak (incorrectly, Bapakabian)
    Population: 43.4 million
    Demographics: Libid 99.1% (Jungle 89.6%, Desert 5.7%, Mountain 4.7%), baseline human 0.8%, other 0.1%
    Date Settled: est. 2,000,000 BCE (self-government 2140)
    Languages: English (trade), various Libid languages (est. 225)
    Life Expectancy (Libid): 89 years
    Life Expectancy (Human): 72 years
    Adult Literacy: 63%
    College Education: 4%
    Capital and Largest Permanent Settlement: Nabama (650,000)
    Government Type: Presidential dictatorship
    Legal System: Civil law; extant death penalty
    Exports: Lithium (Interstellar), base metals, automobiles, computers.
    Local Military: Small professional army
    Head of State: President Homabakara, 2140-Present (no party; self-identified socialist)

    History: Bapakaba is one of the most forward-looking nations of Armab. Shortly after the IEU integrated Armab, the Federation of Lower Barbapa was established in the southern area of the Armab tropics. It was just another poorly organized ethnic state, with an extraordinarily shaky, barely-established democracy suffering from interethnic strife, until Homabakara (then 33) seized power in a coup d'etat in 2140.

    Homabakara put his first priority in improving the position of Bapakaba's poor majority. Most of the aid from the IEU has gone into public works projects, mostly hospitals and schools for the rural underclass. In official channels with the IEU, Homabakara has argued that this is an investment that will pay off in industrialization and the transition to a consumer economy, but within the country it is viewed as primarily focused on improving the lot of the people, and has won Homabakara much popular support.

    Homabakara's government's other policies include severely reducing corruption in the army and civil service, cracking down on the excesses of the Libid tendency towards gerontocracy, sex education to cut down on the spread of sexually transmitted diseases, increases in the minimum wage and the institution of a progressive income tax. He also renamed the country Bapakaba in 2145, a name which means "Land of the Sky" in the most prolific Jungle Libid language in the area.

    When Lower Barbapa's borders were first drawn, the vast majority (98.9%) of the population was comprised of Jungle Libids, but recent immigration has resulted in a large influx of Libids from the neighboring Desert and Mountain breeds.

    Government and Politics: Bapakaba is a military junta under President Homabakara, with a large, fledgling civil service and a small professional army. Homobakara is trying to modernize and duplicate the Enlightenment that put humanity in the stars in Bapakaba, but he has had only a few years to do so. Industry is piecemeal and agricultural development is only beginning. Bapakaba's civil service is plagued by corruption, the natural trait of a newborn society. Unlike many other Libid leaders, however, Homabakara has focused much of his resources on fighting the corruption.

    Beneath the autocratic rule of Homabakara lies a sprawling civil service, run by bureaucrats and technocrats of the well-worn IEU mold. Virtually anyone with a tertiary education can expect a generous salary working in the civil service, and many human technicians, accountants and bureaucrat have come to Bapakaba as a consequence. The civil service is not entrenched, but highly mutable, with a rapid turnover rate and demotions and promotions happening at extremely high rates.

    In opposition to Homabakara's rule are the tribal elders and warriors, who have been systematically targeted and suppressed, their traditional rights slowly decimated piece by piece. Within the public, a general feeling of apathy or mild discontent with these changes exists, but it is tolerated in the name of peace, stability and modernity. The traditional power structures still have significant entrenched power and are loathe to lose it to elements perceived as "foreign."

    Economy and Society: Bapakaba is the cutting edge of Libid civilization, but that doesn't mean it is anywhere even close to the cutting edge of the IEU at large. In a country of 43.4 million, the vast majority live outside the cities, in nomadic bands or (more commonly) as rural farmers. Fewer than three million people live in metropolitan areas.

    Rural farming communities are organized under the auspices of the state, which provides the necessary resources to the farmers and in return extracts a standardized tax. These farming communities are legally a single large-scale farm administered democratically by the constituent farmers; in practice, the individual members tend to parcel up the land and work independently of each other, sharing vital resources such as tractors.

    Raw resource extraction (i.e. mining) is the largest non-agricultural sector of the national economy, and is primarily focused on base metals, lithium and uranium, rather than traditional power sources such as natural gas and coal. Natural resources are nationalized and under government administration; precious metals and traditional power sources are ignored as "pointless" or "backwards" natural resources.

    Within the cities, weak industries fledge, providing much of Armab's mass-produced technology, such as automobiles and computers, though at such exceedingly low quality that interstellar export is impossible.

    Power Groups:
    Bapakabak Army of Liberation: The BAL is a small, professional army with extremely strict discipline. It is also quite thoroughly political, with a radical leftist and nationalistic bent, with only a few moderates and right-wingers still in its ranks from the pre-coup days. Abuses of power are not tolerated or covered up, and there have been twenty seven executions of soldiers who abused their position.

    Bapakabak Adventure Seeds:
    The Bapakabak Inquisition: The governor of a particular county of Bapakaba has embarked on a particularly vicious rendition of the nation's modernization policy. The local opposition leaders, mostly elders who oppose the Homabakara presidency, are being framed for espionage. The situation threatens to spiral out of control, but the upper echelons have turned a blind eye to it. Some of the elders approach the PCs, seeking their aid in this matter.

    Mutiny: A prominent traditionalist in the Bapakabak Army of Liberation mutinies, leading his underlings into conflict with local police and taking over a significant section of Bapakaba and declaring martial law. Unfortunately, the PCs happen to be there when it happens, and the mutineers have a low opinion of aliens and foreigners.

    Labor Dispute: The operation of Bapakaba's spacecraft-launching railgun is brought to a standstill by conflict between local workers and the state over wage issues, leaving the PCs stranded until the matter is worked out.
    Last edited by Cyclone231; 2011-09-11 at 02:16 PM.
    Age of Avarice - A homebrew SF setting featuring neo-colonialist humans and primitive aliens (offsite hosting)

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    Default Re: Age of Avarice: A Homebrew SF Setting (PEACH)

    Technology (and Economics)
    Modern Economics
    The Terra
    The sole modern form of monetary exchange is the terra, which is primarily electronic. However, problems relating to electronic interstellar transmission mean that it can take several business days for a "change of address" (interstellar relocation) to be completed. This is in order to prevent theft by simultaneous withdrawals from multiple systems. An account has a given identification key, representing the system the account holder currently lives in, and can only be used to withdraw funds within that system. Any withdrawal must be confirmed with that star's central bank as well, so withdrawals performed on locations distant from the local habitated planet can take minutes or hours to complete.

    In order to compensate for this problem, terras also come in polymer and coin form, which can be used at any place of business. Many people prefer to use polymer terras, since they are difficult to trace and provide a physical reminder of the quantity of money spent. Physical terras come in various denominations; the most common are the polymer decaterra (10 terras) and the coin centiterra (.01 terras); centiterras are sometimes just called cents. A decaterra is a small, light blue polymer rectangle, and a centiterra is made of nickel and has a diameter of about one centimeter. Other denominations are the iron deciterra, which is 1.2 cm in diameter, the terra which is a light green polymer rectangle that is slightly smaller than a decaterra, the hectoterra is a light purple polymer rectangle which is slightly larger than a decaterra, and the kiloterra is a bright red polymer rectangle which is slightly larger than a hectoterra. Their value is as one would expect from an SI measurement.

    A kiloterra is also called a "k-note," and "seeing red" is sometimes used as a term for someone who is preoccupied with obtaining wealth. A single 2010 American dollar is worth about 12 terras. A single megajoule of power on Earth costs about .8 centiterras, or .008 terras, making power extraordinarily cheap. On other planets, it costs even less, as lithium fuel and radioactive dumping sites are more readily available. Earth prices are also severely inflated.

    Armor and Protection
    Dilatant Armor
    Dilatant armor is simultaneously highly flexible and highly resistant to impacts. This is because the armor itself is comprised of two thin layers of a tough synthetic fabric, between which is a dilatant material. The dilatant material hardens almost instantly on impact but remains liquid in other conditions. Modern dilatant armor is extremely tough, providing rigidity necessary to resist penetration by most bullets. Although the impact resistance is high, slower impacts deal almost as much damage as they would under normal conditions.

    Because of its comparative flexibility, dilatant armor is capable of covering all parts of the body easily. Although dilatant armor that covers the fingers is significantly less useful than it is in other parts of the body, it still provides protection; the damage from a bullet may break or even sever the finger, but it is unlikely to render it damaged beyond the possibility of reattachment.

    Access to dilatant armor is restricted, but it is not unavailable through legal channels for civilians. The black market on dilatant armor is anemic, due to its high cost and the need for personalization.

    Dilatant Armor: Resistant Protection 9 PD/3 ED, OIAID (-1/4). Total Cost: 14

    A softsuit is called that because it provides virtually no protection against firearm rounds. While it is highly resistant to wear and tear, low pressure, and even low-level cutting damage, the materials are too soft to provide much protection against firearms. It is a spandex suit which emulates a pressure of about 1 bar by tightly clinging to the wearer, preventing damage due to decompression. Unlike older, bulkier suits, a softsuit only slightly increases the amount of energy required to move and act.

    The helmet of a softsuit is made of very tough metal and glass, and links to a rebreather. Softsuits are readily available on the civilian market, though the necessity that they be custom made for an individual wearer means they are quite expensive and have minimal resale value.

    Softsuit: Resistant Protection 2 PD/2 ED, OIAID (-1/4), PLUS LS: Self-Contained Breathing, Safe in Low Pressure, High Pressure, High Radiation, Intense Cold, Intense Heat, OIAID (-1/4). Total Cost: 15

    The preferred defense in low-oxygen, high-toxicity or low-pressure environments, a hardsuit is a softsuit that is covered with dilatant armor and further covered with thick armor plating over that. Hardsuits are used by military personnel for boarding operations in space, and necessitate specific kinds of armed response.

    Hardsuit: Resistant Protection 16 PD/10 ED, OIAID (-1/4), PLUS LS: Self-Contained Breathing, Safe in Low Pressure, High Pressure, High Radiation, Intense Cold, Intense Heat, OIAID (-1/4). Total Cost: 46

    Personal Weapons
    Traditional Slugthrower
    The modern slugthrower is, compared to the firearm favored by soldiers a century or two ago, not amazing. The bullet itself is fired extremely accurately down a short barrel at high velocities and carrying significant force. Although the velocities achieved are high, they are not much more than a high-caliber sidearm from a century ago, since additional acceleration would prevent damage from hydrostatic shock, cause excessive recoil, and risk damage to objects far behind the target.

    The modern slugthrower has no moving parts save for the trigger and the feed. A pull of the trigger activates the highly reliable electronic firing mechanism, causing a near-instant activation of the primer in the ammunition. The cartridge of the ammunition itself is solid propellant, without casing, preventing the need for a slide. Like their 20th century equivalents, the force of the recoil is used to move the next bullet into the chamber.

    Modern slugthrowers are prolific in the civilian market, and also within police forces. Although the purchase of sniper rifles and automatic rifles is restricted, ammunition is standardized and the necessary alterations to convert a semi-automatic weapon to an automatic one are very simple. As a consequence, it is not particularly difficult to illegally acquire a restricted slugthrower, though owning or producing one is an international crime.

    Note that slugthrowers produced for use in space tend to be much higher caliber, since penetration is much more important, there are much fewer unknown objects behind any target, and recoil becomes a relative non-issue, as bracing is necessary to prevent one from drifting in a zero gravity environment.

    Subsonic Sidearm (Restricted): RKA 1d6+1, Invisible Power Effects (inobvious to other characters but not target; +1/4) (Active Cost: 25), Charges (12 shots, 2 clips; -0), OAF (Pistol; -1). Total Cost: 12 Points

    Standard Sidearm: RKA 2d6+1 (Active Cost: 35), Charges (12 shots, 2 clips; -0), OAF (Pistol; -1). Total Cost: 17

    Military Rifle (Restricted): RKA 2d6+1, Charges (32 shots, 2 clips; +1/2), Autofire (3 shot burst; +1/4) (Active Cost: 61), OAF (Rifle; -1). Total Cost: 30

    Sniper Rifle (Restricted): RKA 2d6+1 (Active Cost: 35), Charges (6 shots, 2 clips; -1/2), OAF (Sniper Rifle; -1) PLUS Penalty Skill Level: +16 versus range modifiers with sniper rifle, OAF (Sniper Rifle; -1). Total Cost: 22

    "Plastic" Pistol
    Although the modern firearm is a carefully designed machine, it is made of metal and therefore found fairly easily by metal detectors. As a consequence, various governments have secretly produced "plastic" pistols, made solely of nonmetal parts. The bullet itself is specially designed and made of tough ceramic. However, the heat of the bullet exiting warps the chamber itself and renders the weapon unusable after a single shot. Unlike most modern firearms, which are extremely reliable, plastic pistols must be carefully maintained until use. They can easily become unusable due to wear and tear by being left in improper environments.

    Plastic Pistol (Illicit): RKA 1d6+1, Invisible Power Effects (inobvious to other characters but not target; +1/4) (Active Cost: 25), Charges (1 Charge; -2), OAF (Pistol; -1), Real Weapon (-1/4). Total Cost: 6

    Gauss Rifles
    Gauss rifles, also known as coilguns or needlers, are simple weapons that use magnetic forces to rapidly accelerate a long, thin metal projectile (colloquially, a "needle") to extreme speeds. A Gauss rifle has virtually no recoil, and is more accurate than a traditional slugthrower as a consequence. A projectile from a Gauss rifle is relatively fragile due to the velocities involved and the fact that a man-portable Gauss rifle can (currently) fire only a very small projectile, and shatters quickly after contact. Against a soft surface, such as flesh, this increases damage, as the full force of the projectile is distributed into the body. Against harder surfaces, such as armor, it has no penetrative power and deals minimal damage.

    As a consequence of its low penetrative capacity, a Gauss rifle has limited uses, especially in military campaigns. Even rudimentary armor prevents a Gauss rifle from doing significant damage, and any decent concealment becomes cover.

    Gauss rifles are used for military purposes as sniper rifles, though even this use is limited. One of their most prolific (and infamous) uses is as a weapon for assassination. They are not available on the civilian market.

    Gauss Rifle (Restricted): RKA 4d6 (Active Cost: 60), Charges (1 shots, 4 clips; -1 1/4), OAF (Gauss Rifle; -1), Reduced Penetration (-1/4) PLUS Penalty Skill Level: +20 versus range modifiers with Gauss rifle, OAF (Gauss Rifle; -1) PLUS +3 OCV, Only With Gauss Rifle (-1), OAF (Gauss Rifle; -1). Total Cost: 32

    Pulsed Energy Pistol
    A pulsed energy pistol (PEP) is a less-lethal sidearm which causes excruciating pain in its target by hitting them with an intense, short-burst laser pulse. Upon contact, the laser pulse causes minimal damage due to heating; the pulse generates a burst of electromagnetic energy that stimulates the nerve endings. The pain caused is extreme, as it simultaneously stimulates numerous nerve endings on the skin. PEPs are designed with computerized safeties that prevent rapid firing on a single target, in order to prevent their use for torture. Note that PEPs must be altered for different species, since entirely different evolutionary histories have resulted in different nervous systems. A PEP ray that effects a human will not effect an Irai, and vice versa.

    PEPs are restricted to police forces, and their usage as a method of maintaining control over suspects is highly unpopular. Many governments heavily restrict their use within the police force, or even ban them outright.

    Pulsed Energy Pistol (Restricted): Blast 10d6, Armor Piercing (+1/4) (Active Cost: 62), STUN Only (-0), OAF (Pistol; -1), Human Only (-1/2), Once Per Target Per Minute (-1/2). Total Cost: 21

    Artificial Intelligence
    Artificial intelligence which thinks and feels in a humanlike way may remain firmly in the realm of science fiction, but computers have gotten very smart. They can always beat a human at chess, they can calculate trajectories based on sensory inputs in a fraction of a millisecond, and they can aim a spacecraft's weapon with an unrivaled degree of accuracy.

    Fairly effective simulations of human behavior, including speech, facial recognition, hearing and so forth have been achieved. One particular specimen, the Ataturk-17 supercomputer located in Istanbul, is capable of simulating a conversation with such a degree of accuracy that the people it talks to cannot identify that the Ataturk is a machine for an average of 28.3 hours of interaction. But even the Ataturk is simply a very sophisticated computer program, and is only pretending to be a person; in reality, it is no more cognizant of the world than a calculator.

    Chess may be a solved game, but even the most capable computers cannot solve problems they were not specifically programmed to solve. Problem-solving programs must be painstakingly programmed by a human, and must take into account every relevant variable, a problem that borders on the impossible for many problems. At present, there is no known way to program a computer in such a way as to allow it to solve problems it was not specifically programmed to solve.

    While attempts at computerized military strategists, for example, have been made, the problem of unexpected or unpredictable elements make them less effective than conventional military strategists. Similar problems emerge with robotic infantry, as quickly differentiating friend from foe is something even humans struggle with. In atmosphere, properly programming motion becomes a problem, with autopilots lacking sophistication necessary to respond to unexpected problems which may emerge. The problem redoubles with land-based artillery and mobile armor, where the number of obstacles increases manyfold.

    Combat Drones
    The modern combat drone has a lightweight, extremely simplistic plane design and is equipped with smart missiles. Its friend-or-foe identification system is quite sophisticated, but human confirmation is used for most operations in order to prevent accidental fatalities. A combat drone has a mass of about 500 kg, and costs about 12,000,000 terras. Combat drones are used to assist traditional mechanized infantry from the air and extreme distances, but are vulnerable to jamming and electromagnetic pulses. They are used less commonly for long-distance "assassination" operations.

    Friend-or-Foe Identification
    Conventional wisdom holds that no computer can (at least yet) cleanly and consistently differentiate between a civilian and an enemy soldier on the level of a human being, which is why all friend-or-foe identification systems are human confirmed. In reality, this is a highly questionable assumption (though it's difficult to confirm or deny one way or another), but the IEU military has a vested interest in acting as though it is true.

    In any protracted war, there are inevitably civilian casualties, and modern counterinsurgency doctrine relies heavily on avoiding and preventing civilian casualties. If a computerized targeting system mistakes an adolescent Etachi farmgirl for an Etachi soldier, it's a great tragedy, and there is no one to blame whatsoever. The IEU cannot throw away a given friend-or-foe identification system every time it gives a false positive, since then there would be no friend-or-foe identification system. As such, there emerges a more directionless hatred aimed at the IEU, since no one individual is to blame. On the other hand, if that same computerized targeting system says "Foe," then a human confirms that and the adolescent Etachi farmgirl gets killed, then there is someone to blame: a human being. The human being can be tried, convicted, and punished for their actions, which prevents the locals from becoming enraged at the IEU's apparent casual disregard for local life.

    Targeting Systems
    Unlike many other problems, targeting for artillery and armored fighting vehicles is something which can be accomplished quite easily with computers. The Higuchi-29 system is the current artillery targeting program used by the IEU, and is capable of hitting targets with an expected variation of less than 16 centimeters. Computerized targeting systems are also used in PEPs to prevent repeated use on a single target. Certain cybernetics also include targeting programs, or can have them installed, greatly enhancing the user's accuracy.

    Many modern medical conveniences have not yet made the jump from humans to Irai, and even fewer have made the jump to Libids. Because human-Irai relations are about two decades old, and cells on Ozto are somewhat similar to Earth cells, Irai medicine is currently rather modern with highly effective antibiotics, vaccinations and early stem cells. On Armab, medicine is still mostly chemical and herbal, with limited antibiotics. A handful of genetic conditions have been noted among Irai and Libids, but complete genetic mapping is years away for Irai and much longer for Libids; any kind of effective genetic engineering for either species is decades in the future.

    Anti-agathics are specially designed, extremely expensive serums which can be administered via needle to a single subject. Producing an anti-agathic requires a genetic sample, six days of computer processing, millions of terras of chemicals, two days of controlled chemical reactions and seventeen days of cell processing. A single treatment prevents and undoes a total of approximately eight months of aging, so treatment must be repeated in order to have the full effect. The total cost for a single treatment is about 22,000,000 terras, and subsequent treatments with the same company cost around 16,000,000 terras.

    Artificially Produced Stem Cells
    Any well-equipped hospital can take a blood sample and produce stem cells. Unlike other types of cells, stem cells reproduce rapidly and can differentiate into a diverse range of specialized cell types. Such cloned stem cells enable many medical marvels, including human cloning, repairing nerve or brain damage and growing replacement organs. At present, limbs cannot be regrown, as they are complex systems of many different types of tissue.

    Cybernetics is the commonly used term for mechanical (generally electrical) parts that work together with a human body's natural functions, including the nervous system. Cybernetics are generally distinguished from traditional prosthetics by directly responding to electrical signals sent from the brain to nerves. Most modern cybernetics can also work in reverse, sending tactile sensation back through the nerves, though the fidelity varies by part and producer.

    Artificial parts can replace almost all the entire human body, but working around the existing nervous system is necessary: spinal replacement is still undergoing very early medical testing on laboratory mice, and the brain seems incapable of properly adapting to the replacement of a generally human form with a more efficient one.

    Cybernetics also can interact directly with the brain to a significant degree, suppressing or amplifying natural tendencies, and they are sometimes used in tandem with brain surgery to alter behavior.

    The array of recreational drugs is vaster than it was a century ago. Legal, cheap drugs can be purchased at any local drug store on virtually any planet. Recreational drugs are varied, but the primary variants are hallucinogens, tranquilizers, and stimulants.

    For many in the modern era, Taipon is a vital part of everyday life. Taipon is a mental stimulant with side effects so rare as to be nonexistent, purely psychological addiction risks, and it is virtually impossible to overdose on. It is legal, cheap, and prolific. Its primary use is as a psychopharmaceutical, improving memory, attentiveness and speed of thought, and it is useful for treating depression, ennui, sleep disorders, obesity and certain psychological conditions such as attention deficit disorder.

    Taipon comes in the form of a pill that should be swallowed (not chewed). Taipon should be taken once every two hours while the user wishes to reap its benefits, and should not be taken before sleeping. It may take up to ten minutes to take effect. Overuse of Taipon will interrupt the natural sleep cycle and can result in sleep deprivation and related problems.

    Taipon: 3d6 Aid to INT and SPD, Delayed Return Rate (5 points every Hour; +1 3/4), Expanded Effect (INT and SPD simultaneously; +1/2) (Active Cost: 58), Extra Time (5 minutes; -2), OAF (Pill Bottle; -1), Requires Ingestion (-1/4). Total Cost: 14

    Genetic Engineering
    The genetic mapping of the human species was completed in the 2040s, and experiments into human genetic alteration (as opposed to simple "gene therapy" to screen for genetic conditions) began soon thereafter. After nearly a century, the results of this early work has calcified into a small set of genetic "bases," each biologically distinct from baseline humans, and each other. Because of the expenses involved, research into specialized genetic engineering for various environments (e.g. Mars, Titan) was limited, and discarded after the discovery of Warke Drive.

    Gene Therapy
    Gene therapy is the technical term for the mild alteration of genetic code. It began as a process for preventing and curing genetic diseases and undoing mutations in adults. For the most part, however, gene therapy is used to describe the genetic alteration of embryos before implantation. The process is fairly expensive, and while gene therapy to prevent genetic conditions, such as predisposition to cancer or mental illness, is covered by most insurers and governments, all other kinds must be paid for by the consumer. Gene therapy is used by the richer elements to make their children smarter, healthier, and stronger. Minor tweaks are also used to decrease the rate of aging, alter sleep cycles, and otherwise improve upon nature.

    Yensin Cocktail
    The "Yensin Cocktail" is a nearly-perfect chemical cocktail used in human genetic engineering. When a human child is given a daily dose of the Yensin Cocktail, it causes rapid growth, vastly enhanced learning speed, and extreme "gullibility." Its effects have topped out at a rate which takes an artificially-grown child from embryo to apparent mental and physical adulthood in two years. The production and application of the Yensin cocktail is quite expensive, and it must be combined with sophisticated electronic equipment and capable human teachers in order for the subject to properly develop mentally.

    Resources and Energy
    Tritium Reactors
    Tritium reactors (also D-T or fusion reactors) are sophisticated nuclear reactors that have become prolific in use due to various economic shifts that have occurred over the past century. The combined forces of peak oil and fears of nuclear proliferation made tritium reactors a political necessity. Tritium reactors are very safe, producing only radioactive (but non-fissile) old equipment and Helium-4 as their waste. Old radioactive parts are buried in a handful of sites (or simply ejected from spacecraft towards the local star), cannot be weaponized and are not a serious danger to humans taking reasonable precautions.

    A tritium reactor uses deuterium and lithium as its primary fuel sources. Deuterium is obtained by simply purifying it from heavy water, which is a fairly simple and cheap process almost completely unlimited by supply (as heavy water is spread throughout the entirety of the ocean). Deuterium costs around 12000 terras per kilogram, which is quite constant across solar systems, since its cost is based upon the cost of electrolysis rather than mining.

    Lithium is mined from various sources. Lithium is available in such huge supplies on Earth as to render it nearly unlimited, but over a century of extensive mining and use have made the cost of lithium mining increase significantly. As of 2146 CE, the value of lithium on Earth is approximately 4700 terras per kilogram, enough to make lithium importation a viable industry and lithium fuels a common export good for boom worlds.

    Helium-3 Reactors
    The second cousin of the tritium reactor, helium-3 reactors are much "cleaner" than D-T reactors, but their primary fuel (Helium-3) is extremely rare within terrestrial planets. Even its most plentiful source, gas giants, rarely see its presence climb above 100 parts per million of the gas giant's Helium supply. The cost of harvesting Helium-3 is, as a consequence, vastly more than the cost of mining lithium. A single kilogram of Helium-3 has a value of around 13,000,000 terras.

    Like a tritium reactor, a helium-3 reactor also requires deuterium, but unlike a Deuterium-Tritium reactor, which produces neutron radiation, a helium-3 reactor's waste is a proton rather than a neutron, making it relatively easy to "catch" and safely expel, since a proton is just ionized hydrogen.

    Helium-3 reactors are generally used for long-term or deep space missions, when constantly replacing parts is not viable. For all other purposes, tritium reactors are preferred, since the energy costs are much lower.

    Asteroid Mining
    Mining asteroid belts is the primary way to obtain metals like nickel and iron, since they are plentiful in asteroids, and microgravity environments are extremely easy to mine in. Unfortunately, asteroid belts are also microgravity environments, and humans cannot operate extensively in 0 G; as a consequence, asteroid miners demand extremely high pay. Most asteroid miners use cybernetic modifications to deal with this.

    Space Travel
    Leaving a Gravity Well
    The standard method of escaping a planet's gravity well is three stage: railgun, followed by scramjet, traditional reaction rocket, and finally the release of the spacecraft, whereupon it engages its own reaction drives.

    In the first stage, a large-scale railgun accelerates the whole device (scramjet and spacecraft) to about 1000 m/s, at an average acceleration of approximately 2 Gs, which takes about 50 seconds and requires a railgun about two and a half kilometers long. At the end of the railgun, the scramjet is activated, and is used to rapidly accelerate the object, giving it a very large horizontal velocity and a significant vertical velocity, both of which are measured in the km/s range. After a certain point, however (on Earth, 75 km above the surface), the scramjet's engines will stop working due to reduction in atmospheric pressure, and at this point it releases the spacecraft and activates its own traditional jets to return to base. Its horizontal velocity at this point is generally around Mach 16, sufficient to give the spacecraft a huge boost; its vertical velocity is around Mach 4, enough to allow exiting the Earth's orbit to take a relatively low amount of time. The scramjet is reusable, and returns to the planet. The rocket then activates, giving a huge traditional thrust, pushing the spacecraft into low orbit, where it disengages and drops to the planet below.

    The entire process costs relatively little money, less than one million terras. The railgun can be powered by traditional D-T reactors and consumes less than a hundred thousand megajoules, and the scramjet carries little fuel, which is primarily used to return it back to the railgun. The rocket is expensive, but since it doesn't need a launchpad, it is relatively cheap as a consequence. Earth has six such "spaceports" (one each in the US, China, Russia, French Guyana, India, and Arabia).

    Most spacecraft rely on nuclear fusion reactors, using deuterium and tritium as a fuel source, and are propelled by normal reaction drives using solid propellant (lithium) that is rapidly heated by the fusion reactor and expands out the thruster. A standard drive will move with about 1 m/s^2 of acceleration. The acceleration speed of private vessels is restricted, in order to protect public safety. Reaction drives on certain classes of military craft (most notably the Titania-class warship) use multiple solid core nuclear thermal rockets and have many times the amount of thrust, though outside of test runs this ability has never been called upon.

    A reaction drive means that, in addition to fuel, a spacecraft need a significant quantity of propellant. On any significantly long-ranged trip that desires to reach its destination quickly, the mass ratio (total mass over non-reaction/fuel mass) is generally around 3 or 4, and short ranged trips range up to 2. This makes space travel quite expensive, though civilians on transit vessels can manage to find livable prices for the enitre journey.

    A simple, cheap vessel for transport of people between star systems might weigh upwards of 20,000 kg. More complex cruise liners and commercial transports have even greater masses. The sister ships Ignorant Bliss and Blissful Ignorance are largest civilian craft ever constructed with masses of 124,000,000 kg, but they were manufactured in orbit and remain there. The Alexandr Koldunov is the largest commercial vessel that enters and exits gravity wells, carrying loads of up to 200,000 kg. The Koldunov itself with dry tanks has a mass of 60,000 kg, and can use up to 440,000 kg of propellant, though a fully stocked short-range trip requires somewhere around 70,000 kg of propellant.

    Using spacecraft as suicide bombs is certainly possible. A 20,000 kg spacecraft which has been accelerated at 1 m/s^2 for a week has a velocity of about .002 c and a quantity of kinetic energy equal to 3600 TJ, greater than the yield of the Little Boy atomic bomb (63 TJ), the bomb dropped on Hiroshima. A spacecraft which plans on suicide bombing a planet is normally obvious in the first stages of its flight, however, and no amount of planning and distortion can disguise its trajectory after it reaches the halfway point. The problem with such suicide runs is that an accelerating spacecraft is very, very visible, and a trajectory which will take one into orbit around a planet is not the same as a trajectory which will impact a planet at a significant velocity, since planets move very quickly. If your spacecraft is planning to enter orbit, it is planning to decelerate during the second half of its trip; if it is planning to smash into a planet, it is planning to accelerate during the second half of its trip. Any such spacecraft would be smashed to ribbons before it could properly adjust its trajectory to hit a planet. The change in velocity of its formerly unified parts would mean that only a tiny subsection of the spacecraft would actually collide with the planet, and that subsection would (hopefully) burn up harmlessly in atmosphere.

    Surviving in Space
    Living in space is a lot more difficult than old science fiction novels made it seem. The primary problem is microgravity. This isn't much of a problem for a short-term mission or a transit mission (where the ship will be accelerating for most of the journey), but it makes a long-term mission hellish. The human body was not intended to work in microgravity, and gradually loses bone mass until it becomes as brittle as paper. About 1.5% of skeletal mass is lost monthly. As of yet, no genetic or chemical solution to this problem has been found, though certain chemical treatments can reduce it slightly or treat it once the person has returned to a gravity well. In order to prevent bone loss due to microgravity, the crews of "stationary" (i.e. nonaccelerating, non-centrifugal) vessels are rotated out at least once annually, and generally more.

    Other problems are comparatively minor; most space travellers subsist on compressed food supplies and limited O2. Acceleration generates artificial gravity during a spacecraft's journey. Longer-term missions rely on a genetically engineered derivative of spirulina (known as Oxia) for their food and O2.

    Warke Drive
    You move your spacecraft to a Warke Point with a conventional drive. You adjust your relative velocity with respect to the star to a very low number. You then turn on your Warke Drive, a piece of machinery with a wholesale value of around 72,000 terras. It then consumes approximately 46,000 megajoules of power. You appear to instantly arrive at your destination. This is all most interstellar travellers know, simply because it is all they need to know: Warke Drive is cheap and it gets you where you need to go.

    Transmission is point-to-point, with an individual point corresponding to precisely one other point, allowing transmission to and from that point. Each point is called a "Warke Point," and has a relative velocity to the star they are based around equal to exactly zero. These points always exist within a relatively small radius of the star, about equivalent to the band between Mercury and Venus. Warke Points are often used as measurements of distance: if two planets are n Warke Points apart, then a Warke Drive must be activated a minimum of n times to transport a spacecraft between the two planets. The furthest explored stars can be as far as twenty Warke Points apart, but almost all are less than seven Warke Points apart; most settled systems are within six Warke Points of eachother and Sol.

    A typical system has three to five Warke Points, an atypical system may have upwards of nine or downwards of one (or zero, which is actually the most common, but you can't get to such systems without traversing vast distances). Sol has four such points.

    Warke Drive only transmits across a certain kind of stars. While the term "G-type main sequence star" (or G V, or yellow dwarf) is a descriptor which roughly corresponds to its actual functionality, this is because there is a superior mathematical description that is a subset of yellow dwarfs, called SGNV, containing about one sixth of all yellow dwarfs. The nearest SGNV to Sol is Tau Ceti. Nearby SGNV interlink to other nearby SGNV, in a complex "spiderweb" pattern. Stars in binary or multiple systems do not have Warke Points.

    For a Warke Drive to work properly, one must be precisely on the Warke Point with a relative velocity to the star of precisely zero. This is impossible for a large object, and about nine tenths of the energy consumed in a Warke Drive's activation is spent on compensating for the problem of relative velocity, and the other one tenth is spent compensating for the problem of location and volume. Small particles which pass through Warke Points consume no energy by doing so.

    Warke Drive: How It's Used
    Warke Drive's use is heavily coordinated. Spacecraft need to supply the government plans on how they will be using their Warke Drive, since while Warke Drive isn't very useful as an offensive weapon, it can do intolerable levels of damage to other users if a near-simultaneous activation of Warke Drive occurs. While the length and rarity of interstellar trips mean that such miscoordination would be rare, they would prove deadly to all involved: such incidents cause the two objects to be superimposed, destroying the consistency of human and spacecraft alike and generating significant radiation. To prevent purposeful attempts to use this, Puck-class patrol craft fly between systems and prevent such assaults.

    In addition to its obvious use for transit and transportation, Warke Drive is used for comm buoys, allowing (slow) transmission of messages between solar systems, using targeted laser-based communications. Such messages are fairly cheap, since the costs are largely infrastructure and the storage space is huge. Individual users have a 12-digit unique identification code, and their locations are tracked.
    Last edited by Cyclone231; 2011-10-04 at 01:56 AM.
    Age of Avarice - A homebrew SF setting featuring neo-colonialist humans and primitive aliens (offsite hosting)

  4. - Top - End - #4
    Barbarian in the Playground
    Cyclone231's Avatar

    Join Date
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    Default Re: Age of Avarice: A Homebrew SF Setting (PEACH)

    International Economic Union (IEU)
    The IEU is a complex supranational bureaucracy organized for the purposes of ensuring economic (and thus political) stability and interconnectedness.

    Central Committee (CC):
    The International Economic Union is, at its highest echelons, run by the IEU Central Committee, a council of thirty civilian officials sent by their governments to do the job. Of these thirty officials, twenty are constantly connected to particular nations - economic powerhouses on Earth - and ten are rotating representatives of other countries with effective self-government, rotated out every six months. The Central Committee does not personally draft economic plans and distribution schemes, but they do give overall guidelines to the Economics Corps, which drafts the plans based on previous production levels.

    Economics Corps (E Corps):
    The Economics Corps is the central bureaucracy of the IEU. It has been a fundamental part of the IEU from its birth to the present, and has a huge effect upon the actions of every other part of the IEU. The E Corps is the mental muscle of the IEU, handling raw data in complex inputs and outputs to put forward plans, describe phenomena, and predict the future. Without it, the information flow on which the IEU is predicated cannot function.

    The E Corps supplies the Central Committee with numerous documents, plans, notes, and so forth in an unending torrent of carefully produced information. No intent to deceive is made, and no alteration of facts is allowed, but the information reinforces the status quo and the plans made by the E Corps upper hierarchy have a very high tendency to become the plans approved by the Central Committee. The plans it produces are enacted (normally) with the enthusiastic consent of governments who have received the plans, and grudging admission on occasion. The E Corps focuses on a largely "hands off" policy, producing recommendations which require a minimal amount of changes on the part of the local government and won't significantly alter present economic state.

    While many other large-scale organizations of the IEU are intrinsically feudal, separated by hours in communication and weeks or months in terms of physical travel, the E Corps is centralized on Earth. It handles incoming data and produces outgoing orders - it does not directly interact with the rest of the IEU to any significant degree, though E Corps technicians are sometimes sent out on "reconnaissance" missions to various locales. Its purposes are myriad: identify speculation bubbles before they burst, control movement of capital, prevent monopolization, ensure the development of endogenous industries on particularly important planets, and so forth.

    From there, the IEU quickly descends from there into a mess of bureaucracy: economists, technicians and all variety of paper-pushers whose sole job is to keep the interstellar economy running smoothly. The distance of interstellar travel mean that significant delegation is necessary. Individual systems have local bureaucratic councils, who make regular reports back to the E Corps and answer immediately to the E Corps itself.

    Local bureaucratic councils sometimes obtain a level of corruption qualitatively similar to fiefdoms. These occurances are rare, but spectacularly corrupt bureaucrats do exist, and every few years a new scandal breaks out regarding this or that bureaucrat taking eight or nine digit bribes from this or that corporation. The IEU has a sprawling internal affairs division, but even it can't watch everything, and money laundering has become a well-established talent of these bureaucratic despots.

    International Armed Forces (IAF):
    The IAF exists largely in parallel to the main bureaucracy, and delegates authority to its Supreme Commander, who in turn ultimately answers to the Central Committee. The Supreme Commander is responsible for large-scale strategic decisions undertaken by the IEU military, such as focuses of development, military theory, and so forth. The Supreme Commander is appointed by the Central Committee, makes monthly reports to it, and they answer directly to it. Other elements of the IAF (especially its intelligence services) also make regular, independent reports to the CC. The nature of the IEU make military affairs somewhat feudal; transmission of information can takes hours either way, so the military is often divorced from orders from above for long periods of time. During important crises (such as the Ozto Conflict), the Supreme Commander tends to remain within the system in question, overseeing information transfers more directly.

    The IAF is, in times of peace, used to protect the status quo, prevent the misuse of spacecraft, and similar such things. It controls extremely powerful anti-spacecraft weapons, more than capable of destroying any suicide bomber, and maintains patrol craft in almost every system that is either colonized or part of the "trade lanes." It is not applied to internal affairs of the various nations, though it does remain a silent threat to any country that treads too far from the IEU's economic line.

    Colonization and Reclamation Initiative (CRI):
    The CRI could be thought of as the bureaucracy of colonization, or as a colonial administration in and of itself. In the modern era, it handles the management of labor outflow, resource inflow, terraforming, and other such concerns. Any early colony is effectively under CRI administration until it is deemed self-sufficient, except in the rare cases of a colony that is simply an extension of an Earth polity (such as Bonaparte). The CRI, like everything else, answers ultimately to the Central Committee, but also to the E Corps to some extent.

    The General Public:
    For most people, the IEU is an important international organization, lying somewhere between the UN or EU. Few people particularly like the IEU, but think that without it, everything would be chaos. The boom-bust cycle would reign supreme once more, and monopolization would lead to the rapid formation of a few oligarchic corporations. In a way, the IEU has systematically discredited free market capitalism: it is perceived as inevitably self-destructive by the public. Any school teaching Whig history (the predominant view of history presented to primary and secondary school students) teaches the formation of the IEU as a crucial formation towards the modern world, on par with the first unions, the eight hour work day or the end of the gold standard.

    Working for the IEU, at least in the upper echelons, requires a degree of ideology above and beyond the simple passivity and acceptance of the general public. To its most important employees, the IEU is a precisely tuned machine, existing for the purpose of furthering the interests of all people. Its mission is inherently humanitarian, because a stable economy is necessary to have a bright future. They would point out how IEU economic doctrine has lead to humanitarian ends: the economic catch-up of the (former) third world, the industrialization of Ozto, the provision of aid to colonists seeking a new life, the end of warfare (within its borders), the prevention of space-based terrorism, and so forth. To them, the IEU is inherently beneficial, because economic rationalism is superior to all other systems of economics. Growth is superior to either equality or "fair play," because it benefits everyone.

    Present-2060s - Nothing important really changes. Russia and Belarus are unified, France changes its constitution once or twice, etc. Minor political changes occur, but the overall structure of politics remains largely intact. A small space race between China and the United States is sparked in the 2050s. Technology continues its inevitable march forward, but game changing technology is few and far between (gene therapy to screen for diseases in children; early, highly ineffective genetic engineering for military purposes; continually more sophisticated computers and faster internet connections). The most notable exception is the development of economic unification, which continues a march forward that becomes gradually exponential. Organizations such as NAFTA, the EU, CARICOM, the AU, the ASEAN, etc, begin to integrate more and more.

    2062 - China establishes the Qian Wei scientific colony on Mars. The colony is self-sufficient but has less than two hundred total personnel. It is succeeded by similar colonies from the United States, France and Russia.

    2065 - "Cybernetics" come into existence, with successful, functional interfacing between the human nervous system and electronic devices on a bodily scale.

    2072 - China, France and the United States begin a joint program to colonize Mars, in an attempt to deal with a perceived problem of worldwide overpopulation and its knock-on effects on the economies of these three countries. The planet's hidden carbon dioxide content is agitated into the atmosphere, and objects from the Kuiper belt are moved into orbit to disintegrate and increase the atmospheric pressure.

    2074 - The Selfless Human is published. The work is a philosophical treatise on human psychology, neurology, cybernetics and their interaction with classical morality. Its prescription for human immorality is to abandon old ideas about the sacredness of the human mind, and instead alter oneself in order to improve oneself. The ideology described therein is quickly termed "transhumanism." In an environment overcome by the gradual unification of humanity into an amoral superstructure, transhumanism strikes a chord with many, especially students and young professionals. Hundreds of thousands begin self-modification in a movement quickly deemed "subversive" and "dangerous" by countless governments.

    2075 - A collection of twenty-six engineers and technicians begin the first successful mining of the asteroid belt, quickly becoming millionaires. Legal technicalities and labor disputes prevent Earth-based corporations from seriously exploiting the asteroid belt. To compensate for the resource-draining problem of bone loss in microgravity, complete bone structure replacement with cybernetics is done by these early entrepeneurs. This is repeated by countless similar groups of asteroid miners; they are soon known collectively as "Ceretians," a reference to Ceres, a large body in the asteroid belt which eventually became a meeting point for the population.

    2077 - Terraforming of Mars has brought the atmosphere to a survivable pressure and the oxygen content to a breathable volume. The first civilian colony, New Taipei, is set up by the PRC as a penal colony for skilled labor. Other colonies are soon established by France and the United States, which are initially part of both nations.

    2079 - After years of negotiations, the supergovernmental economic structures of Europe, North America, Oceania and much of Asia are unified into a single political unit, the International Economic Union, with a single currency, the terra. South America and subsaharan Africa are excluded from the initial union. The International Economic Union uses its collection of economic powers and scientific economics (based upon observation of the real world) to effectively prevent any recessions or depressions.

    2083 - South America is allowed into the IEU, taking only limited losses as a consequence.

    2091 - After over a decade, the African Union is integrated into the IEU at significant cost to the governments thereof. Every state is now under the banner of the IEU.

    2093 - Finally giving up its struggling task of ruling over its Martian colony, China establishes the People's Republic of Mars, a de facto puppet state with limited self-government. Similar moves are made by the United States in 2094, with the establishhment of the Protectorate of South Mars, and by France in 2099, with the establishment of the Extraplanetary Department of French Mars.

    2096 - The People's Republic of Mars, no longer satisfied with its position as puppet of China, wages a war of independence against the Chinese government. Initially known as the Mars War (and later the First Mars War), the conflict rages on, but the long supply lines between Earth and Mars, combined with the lackluster state of the PLA allow the PRM to successfully establish genuine independence in 2098, whereupon it secedes from the IEU.

    2098 - Human manufacturing techniques, used by governments and corporations, make a quantum leap forward with the development of the Yensin cocktail, a collection of retroviral and chemical compounds which reduce the growth cycle of a human to a quarter of its normal length, with little loss in terms of education. It will be improved upon over time; at present, it reduces the growth cycle to two years. This will have knock-on effects of changing the face of governmental and corporate human manufacturing techniques.

    2102 - As a consequence of the secession of the PRM from the IEU, the state of continuous economic growth ends. The import-export business with the PRM alters economic trade on a fundamental level due to the interaction of various laws. Within the PRM, many high-quality military weapons are legal, but most consumer drugs are illegal; in the IEU, the situation is the opposite. Trade between the two becomes erratic, unobserved, and quickly leads to major knock-on economic effects that eventually lead to a major depression and widespread unemployment.

    2106 - Having great difficulty effectively reestablishing stability within the areas of its control, the IEU is granted a series of sweeping military powers to use against external actors. It declares war on the People's Republic of Mars, sparking the Second Mars War.

    2108 - The IEU manages to successfully pacify the PRM, bringing it back into the fold and installing a new government.

    2110 - Isaac Warke, an English physicist, uses experimental evidence to back up his theory regarding the underlying composition of the universe. This new theory, known as "Warke Theory," implies (among other things) that certain types of stars (a subsection of G-type main sequence stars) are interlinked in one or more other dimensions.

    2113 - The IEU's thinktank on interstellar travel, suddenly thrust upwards in funding with Warke Theory, develops what is now known as the Warke Drive. The device stimulates space and a spacecraft on a single point, allowing it to pass between solar systems seemingly instantly.

    2116 - After early experimentation with the Warke Drive does not yield causality-violating effects, and with its absolutely abysmal military applications (it is point-to-point and requires standard STL travel), the IEU decides to move it onto the civilian market, sparking a major colonization effort.

    2120 - A landmark case in international court (Zhukov v. the Union State) determines that genetically engineered and government-produced humans have both full legal personhood and the right to retire from service after an initial six year term. That initial six year term is legally defined as indentured servitude for the costs of creation. In spite of this freedom, more than 99% of all gengineered humans will work the jobs they were built for for life.

    2123 - Ozto, the home planet of the Irai, is discovered. The colonists involved, a ragtag band of entrepeneurs and incompetent engineers, quickly turn the discovery into a profit without informing the IEU or, indeed, anyone. They trade locally mined lithium for imported weaponry.

    2123-25 - On Ozto, the "First Contact Wars" occur, leading to massive loss of life and rapid territorial shifts. These wars are widespread across the planet, and the colonists widespread sales prevent the establishment of any singular government but also broaden the scope of the bloodshed.

    2125 - The IEU discovers what has occurred on Ozto, and sends military forces to pacify the planet. Long counterinsurgencies and modern military doctrines make the conquest a long slog, but the IEU's vastly superior industry make victory inevitable.

    2134 - The Kingdom of Niri surrenders to the IEU, marking the end of the Ozto Conflict.

    2139 - Armab, the native planet of the Libids is discovered. The IEU makes first contact and rapidly integrates the locals into it, largely with their consent but occasionally with the application of implicit or explicit force. Due to the vast superiority of the IEU's technology and the disorganized nature of the locals, Armab is easily absorbed.

    Human: 14.8B (13.9B on Earth)
    - Soldiers, Government & Private: 18.4M (17.1M on Earth)
    - Soldiers, IEU Armed Forces: 42.1M (20.3M Earth)
    - Cyborgs: 15.6M (6.71M on Earth)
    - - Cyborgs, Current or Former Combat Personnel: 1.53M (483K on Earth)
    - Cyborgs, Civilian: 14.1M (6.23M on Earth)
    - Gengineered Humans (All Kinds): 7.38M (6.94M on Earth)
    - - Conjux-class: 3.2M (3.02M on Earth)
    - - Lupus-class: 203K (34.1K on Earth)
    - - Pardus-class: 61.9K (less than 1,000 on Earth)
    - - Corvus-class: 3.91M (3.89M on Earth)
    Elokoi: 738M (706M on Ozto)
    - Etachi: 723M (693M on Ozto)
    - Mazkai: 14.6M (13.1M on Ozto)
    Libid: 527M (499M on Armab)
    - Desert: 127M (125M on Armab)
    - Mountain: 72.2M (71.6M on Armab)
    - Lake: 138M (126M on Armab)
    - Jungle: 167M (154M on Armab)
    - Tundra: 22.6M (22.2M on Armab)

    Extent of Human Exploration
    8,526 explored and logged G-type main sequence stars* and their solar systems.
    - 643 terrestrial planets within the "habitable zone" (i.e. containing liquid water), of which:
    - - 463 have native simple cells.**
    - - 220 have been settled.
    - - 167 are still settled.
    - - 92 have native multicellular life.
    - - 28 have animal life.***
    - - 2 have native sapient life****

    These numbers do not include Earth

    *: G-type main sequence stars (AKA yellow dwarfs) interconnect via Warke Points. Other kinds of stars - and binary systems - do not.
    **: Simple cells have been detected in far more environments, including several objects in the Solar system (Enceladus, Titan, Mars and Europa). This counter only includes planets within the habitable zone.
    ***: Animal life has also been detected on one moon outside the habitable zone of a yellow dwarf star, namely Kalai-Pahoa. This brings the number of known habitats for animal life up to 29.
    ****: Known to contain sapient life. For possible, less humanlike intelligent life, see Arès, with native life form rutilus alga, and Kalai-Pahoa, with native life form venenifer venator.

    It is worth noting that observed planets give an exceptionally high proportion of sapient life, given the finite survival time of any particular intelligent species.

    In order to understand this mathematical improbability, one can simply compare the age of various sapient life form to the age of their individual planets. The human species' entire lifespan is 1/23,000th of the current age of Earth. The Irai have been in a state of anatomical modernity for 1/29,000th of the current age of Ozto. Libids, having been anatomically modern for much longer, but only for 1/2,500th of their planet's lifespan. Even the genus Libi (the Libid's earlier ancestors, the equivalent of Homo on Earth) has only existed for 1/800th of the lifespan of Armab. However, the number of detected planets with native sapient species (excluding Earth) is approximately 1/322th of the total number of detected planets in the habitable zone. A statistical improbability, to say the least.

    It is known that Warke Points link stars with similar properties more than stars with dissimilar properties, so it is proposed that this is somehow responsible. Other proposals include there being a (relatively recent) common starting point, before which life did not exist (or was completely wiped clean), and as such the similar age of life on Earth, Armab and Ozto is responsible for the apparent incongruity. Another idea is that it is simply luck.
    Last edited by Cyclone231; 2011-09-07 at 05:03 AM.
    Age of Avarice - A homebrew SF setting featuring neo-colonialist humans and primitive aliens (offsite hosting)

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    Default Re: Age of Avarice: A Homebrew SF Setting (PEACH)

    I updated all that ****, scrubbed some pointless stuff, etc.

    Here were my design goals, more or less, for the setting:
    • Portray a setting that is, insofar as is possible, both original and scientific (except for the FTL drive, natch). Technology should be reasonably advanced, and represent a gradual movement forward rather than plateauing at some point in the past.
    • Portray a society that is both reasonably futuristic and not transhumanist - it should feel like a place that is strange, but recognizable. The people and societies, for all their alien elements, should feel like people.
    • Portray aliens as entire realized peoples. It should feel as though, while only a small cross-section is directly shown, there are many cultures, languages, religions, etc, for each species.
    • Portray aliens as distinct from humans. They should not be just "humans in funny suits," but feel like something that is legitimately alien. At the same time, they should be anthropomorphic enough to be playable.

    I would especially appreciate comments on how the setting does/does not meet any of these goals. But go ahead and mention things that are unrelated to those! No niggle is too petty for me to pay attention to! Did I misspell monoecious? Is my model of Etachi childrearing evolutionarily impossible?

    Or you can just say, "hey this setting is totally awesome, you're a really cool dude for making it, in fact, the best dude, I hope one day I am as cool as you are (but I know that striving for perfection is striving for the unattainable)."

    Or discuss your day at work (don't actually do this). Anything. Any comment at all.
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    Default Re: Age of Avarice: A Homebrew SF Setting (PEACH)

    Give me a few days to read and digest this, and I'll definitely comment. Just... wow, that's a huge list of things. I'm incredibly interested, but I need some time.
    Domriso's Homebrew Compendium - A collection of all of my homebrew, throwing in my own design philosophy and my conceptions for possible new things.

    Geomancy, Runic Magic, probably more at a later date:
    Come see my Homebrew!

    Ever heard of the Ultimate Classes? They're pretty sweet. Check them out here.

    I've had an interview over at Tellest! You should go see!

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    Default Re: Age of Avarice: A Homebrew SF Setting (PEACH)

    Okay, I've only looked at the human variants thus far, but I have a question. Do all the different human types breed as a subspecies, or just the Wolves? They were the only entry I saw specifically note actual reproduction (other than the Conjuxes, who are infertile). I mean, the Ravens and Parduses are asexual, but can they breed, even if artificially? Or can they only be made?

    From what I've read thus far, this is amazing stuff. Kudos for the vast work you've obviously put into this.
    Domriso's Homebrew Compendium - A collection of all of my homebrew, throwing in my own design philosophy and my conceptions for possible new things.

    Geomancy, Runic Magic, probably more at a later date:
    Come see my Homebrew!

    Ever heard of the Ultimate Classes? They're pretty sweet. Check them out here.

    I've had an interview over at Tellest! You should go see!

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    Default Re: Age of Avarice: A Homebrew SF Setting (PEACH)

    Quote Originally Posted by Domriso View Post
    Okay, I've only looked at the human variants thus far, but I have a question. Do all the different human types breed as a subspecies, or just the Wolves? They were the only entry I saw specifically note actual reproduction (other than the Conjuxes, who are infertile). I mean, the Ravens and Parduses are asexual, but can they breed, even if artificially? Or can they only be made?

    From what I've read thus far, this is amazing stuff. Kudos for the vast work you've obviously put into this.
    Good question, one I had not considered. They cannot, since a) nobody wants a bunch of unregistered Parduses running around and b) nobody wants to lose Ravens in childbirth, maternity leave, etc. Plus it means the producers have exclusive control over numbers.
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    Default Re: Age of Avarice: A Homebrew SF Setting (PEACH)

    Good job, though at times I found myself thinking it was the background for a book rather than a campaign setting.

    a few questions:

    how many planets have human settlement on them? You listed life bearing planets, but some, such as mars, aren't naturally life bearing, yet have human settlement, and I am going to assume some life bearing planets don't have human settlement on them.

    doing some calculations on the Warke network... this kind of stuff is fun for me...

    if you have the warke network as a tree (there is only one way to get from one point to another) then the radius of the tree average distance of far warke points from the center is the Logarithm base average number of warke points per star of 8,526, which comes out to be about 6.5, and means that anything above 13 is really rare. if the average is 3, you instead get 8.25. This method will give you some areas of major traffic, likely earth and the nearest high warke spot count star.

    If you want more than one route to each star, the radius of the area gets a lot bigger. If you use an aproximately grid like structure you get the radius by dividing the square root of 8,526 in half, you get 46 (I assume this is a lot more than you want). at anyrate, if you use that method, you will need to use a number between 6.5 (and probably 8.25) and 46.

    so, what does the warke network look like? more questions coming!

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    Default Re: Age of Avarice: A Homebrew SF Setting (PEACH)

    Quote Originally Posted by erictheredd View Post
    Good job, though at times I found myself thinking it was the background for a book rather than a campaign setting.

    a few questions:

    how many planets have human settlement on them? You listed life bearing planets, but some, such as mars, aren't naturally life bearing, yet have human settlement, and I am going to assume some life bearing planets don't have human settlement on them.
    167. That's a completely separate count from the others. Some planets with large native biospheres have little-to-no human settlements, some planets with no native biospheres have extensive ones.
    Quote Originally Posted by erictheredd View Post
    doing some calculations on the Warke network... this kind of stuff is fun for me...

    if you have the warke network as a tree (there is only one way to get from one point to another) then the radius of the tree average distance of far warke points from the center is the Logarithm base average number of warke points per star of 8,526, which comes out to be about 6.5, and means that anything above 13 is really rare. if the average is 3, you instead get 8.25. This method will give you some areas of major traffic, likely earth and the nearest high warke spot count star.

    If you want more than one route to each star, the radius of the area gets a lot bigger. If you use an aproximately grid like structure you get the radius by dividing the square root of 8,526 in half, you get 46 (I assume this is a lot more than you want). at anyrate, if you use that method, you will need to use a number between 6.5 (and probably 8.25) and 46.

    so, what does the warke network look like? more questions coming!
    I'm looking at my notes on the Warke network and it looks like a mathematical nightmare.

    ----------------------------- MOST COLONIZED SYSTEMS ^
    ----------------------------- EXTREMES OF COLONIZED ^
    ----------------------------- EXTREMES OF EXPLORATION ^
    Total "Dupe" points (colonial range): 1677

    #WP = number of Warke points in this layer.
    Dupe = number of duplicate Warke points in this layer (i.e. points that just redirect to a previously counted system)
    Syst = Number of new Warke points that are connected by this system.
    Sum = Total number of Warke points as of this layer.
    n = distance, in Warke points, that these systems are from Earth.

    (naturally, a lot of the 9s and 10s are still unexplored/logged)

    Ugh, maybe I should redo this (later though, initial maths indicate it's gonna be a laugh and a half). If it looks like anything (and right now, it doesn't), it's a three dimensional pseudo grid (or "sphere" as it were).
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