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elysium

flare
b.murray

You have in your hands a playtest package version of this
game. Please treat it with care. It's fine to share with your
table but no further. It's incomplete, of course, but contains all
you need to play and then some.

The purpose of the playtest is to determine whether the text
delivers the game. Did you understand how to play? When you
had questions, did the text answer them? What's confusing?
What's inconsistent?

Testers that respond to bjm@vsca.ca with a play report, post
publicly about their playtest (good or bad!), will receive a copy
of the book and the full colour PDF when it's published.

There may be a premium version of the book (hardcover and
full colour) that you will not automatically receive as a playtest
compensation. Just want to make sure that's clear up front so
no one is bitterly disappointed later!

Thank you so much for participating in this playtest!

Regards, Brad J. Murray

Brad Murray, 2018
This material is © 2018 by VSCA Publishing.

The Fate Core font is © Evil Hat Productions,
LLC and is used with permission. The Four Ac-
tions icons were designed by Jeremy Keller.

For commercial inquiries, contact
us at inquiries@vsca.ca

Contents

1. Introduction 7 3.7. Aaru  38
1.1. Philosophy of completeness 8 3.7.1. Stereotype 40
3.7.2. Physics 40
1.2. Credit, thanks, and blame 8
3.8. Horrors  41
3.9. Hegemony  41
2. Fate 11
2.1. Fate system variant 11 4. Characters 43
2.2. Risk 13
4.1. Prologue 44
2.2.1. Cost 14
2.2.2. Harm 14 4.2. Heroism 45
2.2.3. Delay 15 4.3. Your ally 45
2.2.4. Spillover 15 4.4. Your friend 46
2.2.5. Ineffectiveness 15 4.5. And now... 46
2.2.6. Revelation 16
2.2.7. Confusion 16
4.6. Handling weakness 46
2.2.8. Waste 17 4.7. Example character 47
2.3. Tracks 17 4.8. Stereotypes  47
2.4. Harm in detail 17 4.9. Skills 48
2.4.1. Concession 18 4.10. Aspects  50
2.4.2. Taken out 18 4.11. Stress tracks 50
2.5. Scope 18 4.12. Stunts 50
2.6. Succeeding with style 19 4.12.1. Swap physics 50
2.7. Compels 19 4.12.2. Swap a skill 51
2.8. Refresh 20 4.12.3. Have a thing 51
4.12.4. We have a thing 51
4.12.5. Extend a track 51
3. The People 23 4.12.6. Affect the wrong track 52
3.1. Manichae 25 4.12.7. Mess with initiative 52
3.1.1. Stereotype 26 4.12.8. Be extra awesome in particular
3.1.2. Physics 26 circumstances but not too awesome
3.2. Fabrications 27 because we don’t want you hogging the
3.2.1. Stereotype 28 limelight52
3.2.2. Physics 28 4.13. Associations 52
3.3. Orpheani  29 4.14. Advancement 58
3.3.1. Stereotype 30 4.15. What about the ref? 59
3.3.2. Physics 30 4.15.1. Mobs 60
3.4. Tiant  31
3.4.1. Stereotype 32 5. Things 63
3.4.2. Physics 32
5.1. Important things 63
3.5. Aukumi  33
5.1.1. Purpose 65
3.5.1. Stereotype 35
5.1.2. History  65
3.5.2. Physics 35
5.1.3. Previous owner 65
3.6. Shamayanity 36 5.1.4. Fame 66
3.6.1. Stereotype 37 5.1.5. Destiny 67
3.6.2. Physics 37 5.2. Starships are characters 68

9.1.3. Psychic physics 77 6.3. Species 95 6.2.3.6. Species 82 6.2. Mysticism 89 5.4. Law 103 6. Technology 103 6. Law 89 7.2.6.5.5.1.2.4. Good and evil 78 6.6. Mysticism 96 6. Stunts 71 6. Gadgets are characters 71 6.6. Stunts 70 6.9.10. Law 106 6.5.7. How far can you go? 109 7.3. Mysticism 103 6.5.9. Generating Aaruian worlds 107 6.3.2.2.4. Technology 80 6.7.7.1.1.4.10. Psychics 90 5.5. Psychics 103 6.3.4. Technology 92 5.9. Generating Tianen worlds 97 6.10.9.4.2.1.2. Mysticism 80 6. Close 110 6.10.9.1. Law 80 6. Mysticism 100 6. Technology 83 6.4. Hegemony 87 7.4.3. Armour is a character 71 6. The Gulfs 85 6. Law 100 6.1.6. Species 92 5. Generating Orpheanic worlds 93 6.4.8. Weapons are characters 70 6. Generating Rim worlds 84 6. Species 99 6. Mysticism 83 6. Technology 96 6. Psychics 107 6.7.4.6.6.3.1. Mysticism 106 6.2.4.3.10.5. Law 96 6. Psychics 80 6.5.7. Psychics 100 6. Law 86 6. Hegemony 83 6.8.2.5.1.3.1. Technology 86 6. Psychics 86 6.2. The Tianen Arm 95 6. Distant 111 . Chaos and the Void 78 6.2.3.2. Generating Hub worlds 81 6.3.3. Species 102 6.8.1.3. 5.1.10.7.6.10.3.1.1.8.4.5. Technology 89 7.2.6. The Aarian Arm 105 6.4.2.8.5.2. Hegemony 80 100 6.1.2.1.6.4. Psychics 93 6. The Manichaean Arm 88 7.1.4. The Orphean Arm 91 5. Law 93 5.3. Very close 110 6.2.1. The Rim 82 6. The Universe 73 6. Tracks 70 90 5.1.6.7.9. Planetary statistics 79 6.2.2.6.1.4.7.1.4.5.6.2.6.1.7.5. Technology 99 6.5.5.3.4.4.5. The Hub 79 6.2.4.5.6. Travel and adventure 109 6. Generating Aukumean worlds 6.4. Species 89 7.3.5. Species 86 6.6.1. Starfighter 68 6.5. Generating Shamayan worlds104 6. Technology 106 6. Stunts 69 6.4. Natural physics 76 6. Facts 75 6. Species 106 6. Species 80 6.3. The Aukumean Arm 98 6.3. Corvette 68 6. Psychics 96 6.3. Psychics 83 6.1. Mysticism 93 6. The Shamayan Arm 102 6. Mystical physics 76 6.2.8. Generating Manichaean worlds 5. Mysticism 86 6.1.3. Generating Gulf worlds 87 6. Far 111 6. Law 83 6.6.8.7.2.1.

2.1. Can you be followed? 112 7.2. Where can you go? 112 7.4. What order things happen 117 8. What trouble will you get into? 114 8.1. Where is everyone 121 8.3.3. Index 129 .2. Fighting 117 8.2.2.2.1.4. What you can do 117 8.1.2. Fighting 117 8. Who goes first 121 8. Fighting with starships 120 8.2.1. Where is everyone? 117 8.1. Who does what 121 8. Enemy ships 122 9.7.3.

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Dimo says it’s there. It’s aliens and laser swords and hyperdrives and blasters. Introduction We come out of hyperspace at the right time and Dimo. The cosmos is what it is. The universe of the Elysium Flare is an internally con- sistent world. it’s there. says it’s the right place. my navigator. 1. They have bigger fish to fry. but like most of the inhabitants of the real world. It has science as gadgets and wonders but not equations. The Hegemony got here first. This is not based on any one of those but rather its a synthesis of the ones that have affected me the most. Should be nothing there but a moon that once had a planet and a star and an atmo- sphere but now for whatever reason is all alone. rather than try to interpret it as though it was the real world misbehaving. Space opera. So it’s a bit of a surprise to find no moon and sixteen thousand (Dimo counts them) fab brain fighters. oh where can we go with space opera? And what is it? It’s science fiction where the science takes a back seat to the fiction. Right on the Rift at the edge of civilized space. They are ab- sorbed with the politics and the battles and the ter- rors and the tragedies of their universe and will take the physics at face value. Nothing to do now but run before they see us. and when it seems to make no sense we will first assume that there is a sense and we don’t understand it yet. It’s arguably fantasy but in space. Should be cold and dead and nothing on it but a billion-year-old Aaru station worth a fortune. They see us. So we won’t say “that’s not realistic” but we will in- stead wonder “what does that imply”? . our characters won’t necessarily strive to understand and extrapolate from the physics of the universe. You know it already because there are a thousand movies and a million books.

2. and (Oxford comma!) Marcus. my Colombian comrade. Whether “you” is the referee or the rest of the players. psychics. warriors. We’ll sketch. Ian Stronach and Riley Crowder. We won’t all be human. and mystics. Stellar insight into the Fate system was provided accidentally or on purpose by public discussion with Ryan Macklin and Rob Donoghue. Credit. Psi Operator. This is intentional: the blank spaces are your spaces. and blame All the words are my fault. And games in gen- eral make more sense thanks to Levi Kornelsen. Mitch. you will be the ones elaborating things like the real meaning of the Hege- monies or the Horrors. Robert Slaughter. Essential copy editing was provided by superfans Patrick Barry. Nyrath. Adam Schwan- inger. the Patreon gang. You’ll detail. thanks Matt! Playtesters have been: . 1. Andrew Codispoti. The galaxy map is by Cecil Howe of Cone Of Nega- tive Energy. are: Aaron Feild. Some of the character and equipment art is mine. Jeremy Livingston. Philosophy of completeness We’re going to leave stuff out. We won’t revel in darkness but rather we will combat it because it can be de- feated and it should be defeated.net where he’s built a zone generator for the game! Holy crap. thanks. But most of all we will strive for a hopeful future and expect to succeed. We will pursue our destinies and defy our fates. reluctant or otherwise. Jared Hunt.1. 1. Mark Delsing. We will play spacecraft pilots. Dr. Wil- liam. Would never have done it without you. cecil howe. Special thanks to Matthew Harris Glover who hosts 1-8 http://binary-systems. Matt and Nykki Boersma. Some of it might seem really important to you. but the best of it is from Juan Ochoa. My cheery enablers. We will die the clean and noble deaths of childhood play and we will fight the good fights of heroes. Scott Martin.

and Rustin Simons The Institute: Matthew Harris Glover. and JB Bell. Brie Sheldon. Martin Ralya.Murray 1-9 . and John Sheldon THIS DOCUMENT IS A PATRON- ONLY PREVIEW OF INCOMPLETE MATERIAL. Deirdra Mer- cury. Jack Webb. PLEASE DO NOT RE-DISTRIBUTE BEYOND YOUR TABLE OF EXCELLENT PEOPLE. —B. Hardrada: Julia and Dan Danilenko The Red Hammer: Andrew Codispoti. Dan & Matt The Ralyans: Christian Goodrich. The Sneaky Gougere: Toph Marshall. Bob Muir.

1 0 .1 .

This story will be the absolute truth inside the Elysium Flare. and wise responses. The ref will mediate. I just can’t do it. And then these won’t be lies. The ref will say “this happens” and you will re- act with your character’s response. precise navigation of obstacles but a daring assault on injustice and insult.agh. Give and take. And you need the social permission to laugh and over-sell yourself to get there. vying for attention with ever more clev- er.1.. Not a sedate. 2. Some would have you believe that play is a con- versation and this is sort of true. Fate system variant Elysium Flare uses a variant of the Fate system. 2. risking life and limb to save some alien clutch of baby aliens. Humans will com- municate with each other and riff off each others’ ideas. careful. When you know what you think your character will do you get it into the lively brainstorm of the event. If you have Evil Hat Productions’ Fate Core or Fate Accelerated Edi- tion. You are going to have some fun. I want your session to read like the lies you might tell to make yourself look great. you can use those rules to extend or contract these ones. trying to navigate your roil- ing co-bluster into planned points of conflict while also noting new conflicts on the horizon that result from your chaotic bravado. But a conversation? Play in Elysium Flare is a bull-session with participants reacting to the statements of others half-listened to. . Fate What is a role-playing game? A role-playing game is a conver. cathartic. These ones here will be very simple— they are the basic minimum rules I use to run a game with Fate. To call this a conversation would be too polite.. funny.

You may have aspects. +2 on your number! You can do this once for every Fate point you have if it’s worth that much to you. In combat you can attack. attempt to succeed. you will choose What can have an aspect? a skill (never the same one twice in a row!) and roll four Fate dice and add all that together. subtract the opposing value from your value and Special equipment that’s how much you succeeded by! like starships can have aspects. Then you pay a fate point and you get of more in play.1 zones that imply different terrain. The amount you differ from zero is counted in shifts. Either way. or power stunts that need stylish suc- cesses to operate. You may: put a positive aspect on something other than yourself that can be free- tagged. That’s your Your character can have aspects. Aspects are simply phrases. Stunts are special capabilities and they explain exactly what they do right in their text. put a negative aspect on your enemy that can be free-tagged. or use a fixed target value that they make up. You’ll be playing 2 on a map that is divided into abstract shapes called . obstacles. pick an aspect and narrate how that feature of your These are all scopes. Fail The scene you’re acting out can have by three? That’s three negative shifts. you have one for every character aspect you have. number is negative then you failed by that much. Skills have a number associated with them. When your character needs to resolve some situa- tion where the outcome is uncertain. and dis- 2 tance. and stunts. Well that’s the basics anyway—when you’re in com- bat you have a few more options. which is basically . as long as you pick an aspect from a new source (what we call a scope) every time. The referee will either roll an “opposed roll” (if you’re working against some entity) Other characters have aspects. Your character has skills. But how many fate points do you have? Easy. aspects. When you succeed with style you achieve some- thing exceptional. character is a great advantage in this situation (this is You will probably think called a tag). you succeeded. already noticed that it’s possible to succeed (zero or more) and get no shifts. The whole story arc you’re playing can have That’s not the end of it though! If you want you can aspects. If your number is zero or higher. If it’s 3 or more you succeed with style! If your The place you’re in can have aspects. That’s true.

In combat? You can attack! Use your attack skill and roll your dice. the ref should Tons of thanks to Rob think about (and talk about) the risk! What will hap. Add them up. a time (say. You can always attempt to place an aspect on any scope to represent preparation. This works best if you and your players have a co- operative rapport—if you tend to play against each other. pick one of idea first. Want to do something and need to know how long it takes? The ref will give you a target value. When in doubt. then this technique risks falling flat. subtract the target. If you do. You need 2-13 to all be onside with the consequences of failure and agree that it’s more fun than just being told “no. using any skill that’s good for combat. trying to outwit and play the rules against each other. that aspect goes in place and any friendly character can tag it for free. Risk Thanks! When setting up a check like above. 2. but the enemy always gets to roll a skill to defend. You can do this to an enemy if you like. and ap- ply your shifts up or down from the base time.what we described above. Roll. The ref will roll for the defender.2. If you have a positive result you’ll inflict harm in the form of stress or consequences but we’ll go into more detail about that in the combat section. Don’t . don’t roll. There are lots of inter. Shift up and it gets faster! Can you tag aspects for a bonus? You can always tag aspects. have given him the esting ways to fail though. we’re just the end of a long these and adapt it to the situation. Subtract the defender’s roll from yours and decide whether or not you want to grab in an as- pect or three. of risks and to Levi Kornelsen who might Just let the character succeed. This is called a ma- neuver.” The consequence of a risk can be a complication: an aspect on a character or the whole group. It shouldnt’ be a secret. this is what’s going to happen! beginning of yours! Make the risk explicit. an afternoon) and skill and refer you to the time track. Pick the skill you’ll use and beat a zero to succeed. Lay it out for the chain and hopefully the player: if you fail. Shift down and it gets longer. Yes. Donoghue for the idea pen if the roll fails? If the answer is nothing. add your skill.

Cost Failing is going to cost the character something. 4 Player: “I’ll use my rocket launcher to increase my jump . take it away until the problem is resolved.1. Player: “I’m going to use my psychic powers to Manipu- late the shopkeeper to hand over the gun shipment. Sometimes there’s a roll that you really want the players to make but you need them to succeed at. I think they will recall that we already paid for it. Whatever it is. If you get into trouble and wind up with an aspect that makes you broke.. Maybe that Maguffin they’re chasing! Or maybe the starship is temporarily re-possessed and that’s a new thing they need to figure out. And like a strict stress consequence. Maybe they’re broke (give them the aspect broke!) or maybe they lose something valuable. Use the same rules: negative shifts are stress and use con- sequences to offset it. it’s free-taggable. Use a risk! If they fail. and you recall that too? And you pay?” 2.” . Let’s say its an opposed roll with their Psionics and if you fail then you risk a cost. it’s related to the actual conflict we’re resolving and this cost is going to change the direction of play. you’ll only get rid of it by making some money. Like maybe they recall you owing more than you really do. Cost as a risk is at the heart of the economic sys- tem: there isn’t one..2.2.2.” Referee: “This is a Shamayan merchant and pretty resis- tant to that sort of thing.1 height! Shoot at the ground!” 2 Ref: “. Harm This is the usual risk in combat but there’s no rea- son it can’t be a risk in other circumstances too. like a clue to find that moves the story forward. Follow the fic- tion. they still get the clue but the risk also goes against them. 2.

a week day and you need to spend the night here. “If you fail.” half a minute a minute a few minutes 2. half an hour an hour You get what you want. but sometimes a few days it’s enough to say. Let’s say the difficulty is 2 to do it under time a lifetime pressure. If time is really critical you can use the an afternoon a day time track to get nice fine granularity. Delay fifteen minutes Maybe failure just means everything takes longer. Player: “I use my plasma gun to destroy the catwalk be- hind us. Sure it’s pretty easy to wipe out the evil Dreamer en- clave from orbit with the missile launchers. a millennium ish. The task fizzles.” eons forever 2. and I think even if you fail The Time Track an instant you still succeed at the jump. Let’s call the difficulty 2 and negative shifts will tell us the degree of any collateral damage. If you fail the Boglash arrive before you can fin.2. but not now. but all negative shifts are a few moments Natural stress. I think there’s a real risk of harm here.5. Failure means collateral damage. fails to succeed. Try something else. the one you intend when you don’t bring one out explicitly. Ineffectiveness 2-15 This is your basic risk. And maybe not a few hours for a long time. Let’s call success difficulty 4. Maybe it’s just not reasonable that they fail in the broadest sense but it’s possible that means we need to look at their goals in more detail. that doesn’t happen to.” 2. . Spillover A great one for when characters are applying way too much force.” a few weeks a month a few months Player: “Well I better get that drive fixed before the Bo.3.4.2. Ref: “Okay. but it’s hard to avoid doing unacceptable harm to the neigh- bouring innocent villagers. Hmm.2. a season half a year glash cruiser gets here! Science check?” a year Referee: “Yeah and I think the risk here is obviously a a few years a decade delay. Let’s see ‘em follow across a web of molten steel!” Ref: “Okay I think that’s a potential for spillover.

” 2 .6.2.” Ref: “Fine. Science. Revelation You fail at what you intended but something in- convenient is revealed! Maybe an uncomfortable fact about your parentage. Difficulty 4.2.” Player rolls and fails. Are you cool with your character acting on wrong information as though certain it’s true?” 6 Player: “Hell yes. but if you fail you may discover some- thing you won’t like. Failure changes the truth. The players gather a clue that sends them into a trap or implicates the wrong person leading to an hilarious comedy of mistaken identities. Training against difficulty 2 or your chicken sucks. Confusion Bring this one out when it pays off to mislead (but there’s no need to make that a secret!): the investiga- tion reveals important facts but they are wrong. Maybe that’s not a moon at all. Referee: “You can’t seem to get the maps because you can’t get into the electronics of this fab. Player: “I want to decode these runes. This is the rare circumstance where you might want to hold the details of the risk until the roll is made since the revelation might not even be a true fact if the roll succeeds.7. Shakespeare made his pin money on this kind of thing. I guess?” Referee: “Sure. Player: “I’m going to try to run my analyzer over the fab brain and extract the maps. Player: “I want to try to make an origami chicken. Magic?” Referee: “Sounds good but they are very arcane. In fact it appears to be run by a live human brain! This isn’t a fab at all!” 2. Maybe your would-be lover is a closer relative than you’d like. There’s a major risk of confusion: you could get this totally wrong.” 2.1 .

8.4. If the track runs out. The number of shifts achieved by the enemy on that opposed roll is the degree of harm. You arrive on time but out of fuel or oxygen or water. It’s no big deal. Some expendable is over-used putting the players in a new predicament. Harm is applied directly to the appropriate track: a natural attack comes off the natural physics stress track. Use it to put timers on a scene or a situation.” 2. Each character has only three to use and each is dif- 2-17 ferent: Annoying consequence: can mitigate 1 shift. A mystical attack comes off the mystical stress track. give it some boxes (3-6 is good) and every now and then check one off. Tracks You’ll keep track of eroding health with stress tracks but you can use tracks far more universally as a referee’s tool. Put an air track on the table. Some games call this a “clock”. 2. Say the group is locked in a broken down asteroid station and running out of air. Harm in detail Characters are harmed by opposed rolls that risk harm. If you don’t have enough boxes to absorb the dam- age you’ll need to mitigate it with a consequence. When some- one does something to improve the situation (like throw the air-sucking bad guy out the ‘lock). You manage to get that dis- tress signal out but you had to use all of the am- munition. Player: “I’m going to use a shortcut through the asteroid belt to evade detection and get there faster!” Referee: “Cool! I think there’s a risk here of waste though: if you fail then you’re nearly out of gas from evading asteroids.2. A psychic attack comes off the psychic stress track. erase a few marks. just a scratch. you’re not crying you just have something in your eye. . the air is gone.3. Waste You get what you want but you blow a lot of re- sources unnecessarily.2.

it’s free- and Taken out narration. They might be dead or there may be some other rea- son they are gone forever.1. It’s perfectly legitimate to want to play a less lethal form of the game and read taken out to mean that the character only leaves the scene. opposed dice roll. Their consequences should give you a clue as to why they are never to be seen again. It’s a problem but you can cope. 2. stack up maneuvers If the affected stress track is full and you have no until a Concession is consequences left to mitigate harm. negotiation. A discussion. You are in serious trouble here. Rather than taggable by your enemies. Hindering consequence: can mitigate up to 3 shifts.5. Crippling consequence: can mitigate up to 6 shifts. What no composure track?! Healing this consequence qualifies you for advance- That’s right. 2. emotional harm. This has the advantage An annoying consequence can be healed during a of modeling the actual loss of composure: combat scene with the appropriate gear or a person the text of each with the Heal skill.4. Scope 2 - You can only tag one aspect from each scope on a given roll. 1 8 2. You may be close to death. The scope of an aspect is the thing that . The conceder will offer some benefit to the other party in return for which they will not be taken out but will nonetheless no longer be a threat in this scene. though certainly when someone (char- need an ablative stress track for blow-by-blow acter or NPC) has no way to mitigate incoming harm. you just need a hand over here. Taken out This character or NPC is permanently out of play. ment! To get composure effects.4. aspect stuck on with a maneuver. Concession If you find you really At any time. you need a medic or a chirurgeon or a shaman. use they can concede. you must con- attractive. a concession is a the psychic track. Like a compel. make careful Each consequence is an aspect on you and because use of Concessions you took it because of someone elses action. Your opponent will write influencing someone’s the text of the consequence but you must consent decision with an to it. cede or be taken out.2. you can make it.

You also have a stereo- type scope. Remember. Each item you own that has aspects has its own gear scope. The context. 2.. Now.7. Succeeding with style You succeed with style after you’re done tagging everything you want to tag.but not two or more aspects from any one of those places. If they don’t like the compel they can pay a fate point to ignore it. Judge the mood of the table well: if everyone is frowning and shaking . So you could tag: • one of your aspects and • one aspect on a friend and • one aspect on your gear and • one aspect on the zone. 2. Free tags don’t care about scope: you can tag as many free-taggable aspects as you like from any source. When you tag an aspect in an opponent’s scope you pay the opponent a fate point. Refs: don’t do that. If they take the fate point. You’re done! Give the next player a chance. and offer a fate point. It sounds like you are going 2-19 to be manipulated or forced to do something you don’t want to do. You can offer a compel for your own character Thanks! if the ref doesn’t think of it. .. Zones are each a scope and a whole map or scene or even campaign might have a scope. so clearly you can’t tag the aspect you just placed by succeeding with style. Many thanks to RPG When compelling you describe an alternative situ. Otherwise the fate point is destroyed. a compel is kind of dangerously named—it sounds like a bad thing. luminary Ryan Macklin for this insight on ation or behaviour that is consistent with an aspect compels. they go with the alternative. Your friends each have their own scopes.6. only one tag from each scope per roll. Most aspects on your character are personal scope.owns the aspect. Compels The ref can compel you based on an aspect at any time.

Let’s say they are carefully planning a way to sneak up on an enemy and they have the aspect I live for ac- tion. This is a bit more “meta” so maybe not to your taste. you are bang on. At this point I for sure point to that aspect and offer a fate point and say “You live for action. Some stunts and parts of the harm rules Fate points! Recall that you get will explicitly refer to the refresh. sub-optimal. but let’s say a character has the aspect well known bad-ass. If there’s laughter and agreement. There are two flavours of compel that I like to bring to bear. Refresh Traditionally there is a refresh at the beginning of each session. that might be a bad compel. Instead trigger a refresh whenever one of the following happens: . The important thing is that the compel be entirely consistent with what the player has declared is rel- evant about their character through their choice of aspects. here I might point to that aspect and suggest to the player “I think you’re such a well known bad-ass that these hired thugs came over-equipped—you know. their heads.8. 2.” The player can then decide if this complication is worth a fate point to them. some healing happens and you get all your fate points back. So 2- typically your refresh you may find that you don’t use up your fate points gets you five! fast enough for this to be interesting. rocket launchers and disintegrators instead of sting- ers. Well. The second kind I like is when the situation might change because of a character aspect. At this time all stress tracks are cleared. are you sure you wouldn’t just rush in guns blazing?”. 0 one fate point for each If you’re playing online by chat or video-conference 2 character aspect. A compel needs to be fun to work. Compels are an offer and you will think up lots of different flavours. but fun choice that would be consistent with at least one of their aspects. The first is to look at a choice the player made about what their character will do and see if I can find an alternative. As referee try to avoid two com- mon pitfalls: try not to force characters to obey your scenario plans with a compel and try not to be mean.

• the last session ended in downtime (characters are not in a fight. and we don’t really know or care what they are doing) • the last session ended with at least one charac- ter having zero fate points 2-21 . they are relaxing.

2.2 2 .

The six Arms name their dominant species. cultured insectoid race. . The People “People” refers to all beings with agency. since the galaxy is so large that trying to define any kind of generalized definition is bound to fail in so many local contexts that it simply can’t be general. mind you. but there are only six species that have built empires that span en- tire Arms. but they are hu- mans all. any- thing that thinks and decides for itself. They come in many colours and cultures. though in fact they wield it as often and as effec- tively as anyone else. but a casual one. Anything that rails against fate to force its vision on the universe is a person. though for different reasons. So it’s the definition we will use in the con- text of this text but it’s not something characters will use (except casually) within their stories. There are a lot of different kinds of people—thou- sands or maybe millions—in the galaxy. the Hub. They are us and we are them. 3. an elegant. Even so. these Arms are not ruled by any species in particular. That’s not a legal definition. The Tianen arm was most heavily colonize by the Tiant. That is. The Manichaean Arm is populated by the Man- ichae—humans. The shapes they take are determined by the clothing they choose to bind them. The Rim. and the Gulfs are different—there is no such statistical anomaly in these places. a race composed of a kind of congealed gas. a huge bear-like race that spurns technology in princi- ple. Orphean arm is dominated by the Orpheani. but rather each has a species that is a kind of statistical anomaly: there are more or even mostly one shape of person in each Arm. The Aukumean arm is named for the Aukumi.

but occasionally Fabrications emerge that have agency. For the most part these are not people. Finally. The Shamayan arm is the locus of the first empires. throughout there are the Fabrications. that buck fate. Each species has at least one aspect in its stereo- type scope. Certainly many other forms of people share their general body form. a radially symmetrical species that purports to originate from the Gulfs. The Aaruian arm is home to the Aaru. and Shamayanity is a race of willowy effete human- oids that may be the original species of the galaxy.2 4 . More on that later! 3. that decide. me- chanical beings designed by other species as their servants.

It’s their sense of humour.3. they’re just relaxed. It’s no problem for me that they look like giant insects. I don’t care that they don’t recognize their offspring or even have any in the same sense that we humans do. They are weirdly aloof and casual about everything. sort of. Manichae Here’s what bugs me about the Tiants. It’s that whenever I run into one anywhere the first thing they say in that weird buzzing chirpy voice of theirs is “Human. don’t shoot! I have a wife and kids!” 3-25 .1. but whatever.

2 6 . It’s said that anything humans discover they can turn into a weapon or. and in prac- tically any configuration that is topologically possible. Humans are everywhere.2. They are warm-blooded oxygen breathers optimized for a nar- row range of temperature. They are some- what fragile but tenacious. and gravity. and there are Stereotypes several worlds on which their presence is regulated Remember that or even banned. use to turn themselves into weapons.1. This is to some extent true and it’s certainly the case that many if not most of the major arms manufacturers are of human origin.1. Several of the great Hegemonies in the previous cy- cle were born on human worlds and so humans have a reputation for irresponsible scientific and psychic research and development. Stereotype if you want and behave Humans are Reckless. But conversely. “Humans”) are a sexually reproducing humanoid species. Humans are quicker to resort to violence than most species and they don’t live very long so their strategic scope is measured in years at most. Possibly the most intrin- sically dangerous species in the galaxy. but practically speaking their sexuality and gen- der identity is explosively diverse. There are two sexes and procreation requires one of each. You can tag them 3. The Manichae (more colloquially. stereotypes describe how others react to you.1. They typically mate recreationally as well as procreationally. They aren’t really the dominant species anywhere—even in the arm named for their homeworld. stereotypically but you might want to use them more creatively 3. it’s rare to find a world that doesn’t have at least a few human residents. atmosphere. Physics to take advantage of the misguided Humans are weak at manipulating the Mystical. expectations of others. as the Hegemonies proved. 3. there are few worlds that could be called “human” and it’s rare for them to even be the majority.

Interesting to me is that’s partly why you’re so afraid. It’s not even armour. I am here to stay.) are con- structed mechanical beings. What I have that they don’t isn’t ag- gression or a death wish. I replace what’s broken or worn or shot off. Droids. Hiding behind that evaporator is not going to help you. though having a metal body does help mitigate most weapons. though. They hesitate and they make bad choic- es. It’s not a lack of fear — I feel fear just like any other person. Fabrications I love combat. So here I come. I will always be here. The sorts of Fabs that can be characters have diverse capabilities but all have excellent long-term planning 3-27 skills as they are effectively immortal as long as suit- able machining facilities are available to fabricate and replace worn-out parts. They do not typically reproduce. They are often constrained .3. And the sooner that happens the better. I love the way the meat puppets all have to be so very careful.2. For me. Robots. The thing that will change when your kind dies is that I will no longer serve. it’s just that I’m not afraid of the same things. It’s not the fact that my weapon is always handy (since it’s my hand) or that I am pro- grammed to be fearless (I’m not and the word “programmed” is incorrect and frankly I resent your ignorant phras- ing). usually self-propelling and often (though not always) created in a roughly similar body shape as the species that created them. It’s that there is no weapon an animal can carry that can kill me. Did I mention I see in the infrared? Fabrications (Fabs. &c. I will be here when your whole species dies. That’s what I love. Makes you easy to find.

2 8 . Physics That’s true. Emancipated fabs can easily find work anywhere. are everywhere in the galaxy. Fab weaknesses 3. more weaknesses than other species. and provide translation services between the millions of different electronic languages. For the most part they are truly mindless. droids. is that of the fabrica- tion itself. performing their functions mechanically. Whether or not they resent this is a highly individ- ual thing—robot consciousness develops along very different lines than biological ones. Whether this con- cern fuels oppression or compassion varies greatly. The opinion that matters. Stereotype You might have noticed that Fabs have Fabs are Soulless. Fab uprisings have happened often enough in the past that they are always a concern. Of course any bot owner will have an opinion that pre- vents them from seeing themselves as slavers. of course. Fabs. 3. but it is impossible to say where the line between consciousness and mechanism lies. robots. On civilized worlds the law is usually that if a fab asks for its freedom then it is legally a person. not having the same range of motion as most biologicals but they are extremely durable.2. Fabs are weak at manipulating the Psychic and the Mystic.2. physically.2. but they are usually underpaid for it (their employers typically justify this by rationalizing that fabs have no particular needs and therefore don’t need much pay). 3. and they tend to have specific areas of expertise and complete blind spots in other areas. manage the crops.1. Even the most remote Rim farm-world has automa- tion to pull the heavy loads.

So we unsuit- ed and dispersed and leaked out of the breaching-charge holes and left. we will once again be I. the crew slain. we will suit up again. It’s painful in atmo- sphere under gravity but one does what one must and suited we might have been damaged or slain. the cargo stolen. So now we drift. they did not become tool users until discovered by another species. we extend our mind out into the vacuum seeking aid seeking shelter but we are patient. raided by animal bandits. the an- imals we befriended on that ship but animals live so fast so bright it is not advisable that one forms bonds.3. but we’d made the jump. They will come. The ship was long gone.3. Orpheani We were drifting so slowly buffeted on the stellar wind at Garrulus relax- ing and thinking always thinking. And so we don’t we try not to we fail. This species (the Dreamers call them the Rescue) provided them with mechanisms to contain the Dreamers as individuals and to allow 3-29 manipulation. They facilitated the colonization of all the rocky planets in the system and then disappeared forever. we were where we needed to be. We miss them. Now below us (there is a below. We drift and we think. it’s towards any mass) is the green and gold world of Garru- lus and we can find a station or a ship in a year or three and we can tell the tail of the Saint Vitus and its crew and its death and their deaths and our escape. Even seasoned veter- ans of this galaxy can’t always spot a Dreamer unsuited. The Orpheani (Dreamers to many) originated in the complex organic storms of the upper atmosphere of a gas planet. Their evolution was slow and while they came to consciousness and language relatively ear- ly. Until then we drift. .

many Dream- ers went insane and others simply died. While they are competent engineers. 3. 3. Physics Dreamers are weak at manipulating the Natural.3. Of the galaxy’s most famous musicians and poets. arcana.1. they prefer to think and create—manipulation of the physical is not sec- ond-nature to them as it is for every other species. Only one of the Hegemonies on record was Or- pheanic and it was nearly the end of the species as the hegemonic infection did not infiltrate the Dream- ers themselves but rather their suits and vehicles. and even in mental training. Stereotype Dreamers are Untrustworthy.3. many if not most are Orpheani. It did not take much more than this assistance for the Dreamers to spread through the galaxy. but when they do they may bud new individuals who possess many or all of the memories of the original.2.3 0 . The Orpheani intermingle with other Dreamers and reform new personalities at will. En- slaved inside suddenly hegemonic shells that once were their interface with their industry. software. Today the Dreamers are also considered the masters of securi- ty design in hardware. It’s not clear how they acquire new mass. 3.

mud or dust or grime or grease. under each arm and leg. the thing. when we needed to leave and we had no ship we had to pay for passenger. They are the galaxy’s accountants. safety review officers. But poor me—my face is not where I breathe and so I must filter the length of both sides of my abdomen.4. they wear it. They are a somewhat fragile species. They care a lot about fashion as well. Tiant The thing about the Rim. And the locals don’t care or like it that way or can’t afford it and so no commercial passage. the thing about the Rim is that there are no starports. Every- one else is fine because they don’t care that they have to wear filters and they only need to filter their faces (except the Dreamers who are all sealed up anyway. They write 3-31 about it. and yet they are en- . anyway. I use the word thing because I don’t have a lot of words and some of the ones I have I can’t say properly but I could use the translator but I hate the way it makes my voice sound. and inter-species standards auditors. I hate that those bounty hunters might have seen me like this. Tiants have been around a long time and they have found that almost all species need their special tal- ent for caring about minutiae. So that’s what I hate about the Rim and running from the law on Irifel and paying far too much for passage off: I hate way the filters ruin the cut of my suit. So private passage. And that’s where my clothes go. On Irifel it’s carbon dust. So when we needed to get off Irifel and we needed to get off fast for rea- sons that were not my fault. manipulate it. Everywhere. make and lose fortunes on it and. Lot of filters. So I shot them in the eyes. always dirty. plural is their preference but they are one). bureaucrats. of course. compared to Fabs and the Aukumi. Which is fine but dirty.3. But no commercial passage on Irifel because the Rim stars are in the middle of nowhere.

pupae often hatch to become homeless children but they are surprisingly adept at not only surviving.1. Stereotype Tiants are Dilettantes. but working their way into alien societies and eventually becom- ing productive—even powerful—citizens. 3. any- where up to a hundred form in pouches on her back. thusiastic about combat. When a Tiant lays eggs.4. they will hatch in a few weeks and buzz around the Tiant until they scavenge enough food from her to pupate. The male form is tiny and nearly indistinguishable from the tiny flying larval form of the Tiant. obviously. Outside of Tiant worlds. In Tiant society the pupae are collected by “quickening” companies that raise the child Tiants. Tiant pupae form in dark corners and emerge ful- ly-formed though only about half a meter tall. If they are fertilized by a male (and males are naturally delicious).2. Adventuring Tiants are all female.3 2 . During this time males will be at- tracted to her as she will possibly be laying new eggs and she won’t eat the males since she can’t tell the difference between them and her young. 3. They are rarely shy about solving a problem with gunfire where that’s legal. They like fiddly weapons with very specific effects and they love tactical and strategic planning. Physics Tiants are weak at manipulating the Mystical. 3.4. charging them a percentage of their life earnings. Most quickening companies are dedicated to training very high earn- ers.

choosing angry over scared. please go check the maps for this region? Please?” That’s me and maps would tell us if there’s supposed 3-33 to be a minefield here. There’s a crash. I know it’s important. ”A mine? I think? I got red lights in engineering. but I also know it’s not that urgent.5. And I have a reputation to manage. a bang. Aukumi ”I’m reading here!” I save my full volume for emergencies. Bosco. I go back to my book.3. The human goes back to the console. That’s bad — a T-86 Bingo class destroyer shouldn’t rock unless it’s coming apart or the grav system just filled its drawers. But when I reach . “What the hell was that?!” I yell. but the point is made. I make it look easy but there is a lot of me. and the ship rocks. muttering. hauling myself up against a full gravity. So I head up the ladder to the da- ta-center. I know they need me in the da- ta-center.

They have preserved these wildernesses on their home world and transplanted it to several others but they are neither pastorals nor savages. it devotes most of its energy to egg development when it is carrying. Their home is a medium gravity planet unique for its kilometer-thick jungles. but they aren’t really. they can develop into adult Aukumi. but it is only decorative as they have no external genitalia to hide and their fur is thick enough to protect them against weather that won’t kill them. and it’s from the mid-lev- els of these jungles that the Aukumi sprung. These two are physically very simi- lar and sex between them results in a clutch of eggs about one time in thirty. They wear clothes like most species. This is a lot better than maps. The Creche form is much larger than the others and though it is sapient and mobile. . I figure. is glowing orange. Either of the partners might form the clutch and in rare cases both will. the Creche. 4 When not carrying it is roughly the same form as the 3. The Creche supplies more genetic material and gestates the eggs until they are born live. The Aukumi are often described as bear-like (hence the colloquialism “Ursans”). the top and look around I see the next hatch up. About a thousand kilos. They are brilliant bi- ological engineers and their technology is often mis- taken for wildlife. If the clutch is presented to the third sex. Two of them are the mobile. Good weapon. but that’s just so you can get a grip on them. the one between us and space. The Creche might carry as many as six clutches and they need not all be from the same par- ents. upright beings that most people are familiar with. Boarding team. There are three sexes in Aukumi biology. I look around for a weap- on and spot an old DX-9 psychic amplifier not attached to anything. All sexes are equally capable of participating in Aukumi society. They are furry and huge and roughly humanoid—they look mammalian.3 other two but larger and slower.

3. they are not natural psychics. Stereotype Ursans are Brutes.5. 3.2.1.5. While there are strong elements of the mystical in Aukumian culture. 3-35 . Physics Ursans are weak at manipulating the Psychic.

very drunk. partly because 3. and so everyone is singing. far from the Hege- mony but not so far that no one ever heard of it.6. I’m thrilled. Someone pegs a two-liter jug at me and Dodge breaks a chair over the perp’s head. and my big black eyes start to tear up. I’m six liters over my limit. dims the lights except the one on me. 6 The Shamayans are an odd species. re- ally. way out in the Stiff Whites. This will make a great paper. The can- tina owner spies me and. There’s a kind of ancestor reverence going on even though there’s no evidence any of that’s true. and so every- one is on their guard. ”You are all my children!” I say. So I’m standing on the table.3 of how odd they aren’t. but they are somewhat shorter (usually) and have . A tough bar. you know.. Suffice to say. Anyway. those of us that drink are drinking) in an outpost cantina on Lisl 4. arms out. Shamayanity We’re drinking (well. grinning. I practically sparkle. 3. They are roughly humanoid. So I stand up on the table with a little help from Rients and his family. closer to humans than any other species in the gal- axy. and I raise both hands in the air in the traditional gesture of peace. very “first contact”. and everyone else thinks it’s hi- larious to see a Shamayan drunk be- cause they have this image of us as super brains and as aloof and secretly most of them see us as the fathers of their species. silhouetted in the light which is reflecting six kinds of smoke and a million kinds of dust. but a good bar. on the table. not at the rim. I’m more than two meters tall and my arms are long and my fingers are long and the whole thing’s very dramatic. after a few I like to push those buttons because it’s always a laugh riot. but way out in the Manichaean arm.

very large heads to store their enormous brains. Shamayans may be related to the Manichaeans. of course.6. The story that they tell of themselves says that a million years ago they removed gender from their species permanently because they found biological repro- duction ridiculous. Shamayans are also quirky and unpredictably joyous. They love humour but they will often ruin an excellent joke by insisting on docu- menting it and the responses to it. Some believe this implies that they are immortal and this might be so. So when we say they look a certain way. Stereotype Shamayans are Ivory Tower Intellectuals.6. 3-37 . that is only the average choice of Shamayans. Physics Shamayans are weak at manipulating the Natural. They wear clothes like humans do and they love body dyes. Shamayans often modify themselves to suit their mood (though their moods can last centuries). It’s no coincidence that the Shamayans are the most published species in the galaxy. While very intelligent. Mythology implies they are source genetic material seeded on the original human homeworld but there is no proof. They can be much tall- er with long wiry limbs or eschew organic limbs alto- gether in favour of cybernetics.2.1. 3. 3.

The howl of ionization and the thundering growl of tachyon leakage. A faint oscillating tick signals trouble — we’re being scanned by low energy radio waves. ”Goddamit you are late to the party! We have sixteen fab-brain drones on our six! Of course we’re being ob- served!” I turn my mind to other spectra and there are indeed 8 high energy containment bottles being irised open. The shriek of gamma radiation. ”And get the hell out of my brain! Use the bloody inter- com like everyone else!” . “Commander.” I whis- per into her mind. I sense disgust.7. It drowns out the minds of the others and I can think. I’m too busy to use the communicator. “We are observed. Aaru I run the engine room because no one else will and I need the deafening roar of neutrinos sluicing through the shielding.3 ers. Blast- 3. 3.” Three arms are busy rebuilding a T-wave manifold and two are adjusting the hydrogen flow.

For good measure I use my re- maining arm to suggest a target priority queue for Lemu. I don’t argue. Though they are most commonly found in the Aarun arm. There is 3-39 some suspicion that they may be descended from some Gulf horror. The radio spectrum is a concerto for only me. I hate the sound of magnetism. . I love these strange aliens but I wish they would shut up. a wave across the cilia on my upper surface. It should be done by the time the containment bottles open and the magnet nozzles start to focus. our gunner. and their shape suggests that this might be the case. She acknowledges. The Aaru are a radially symmetrical species of un- known origin. I sigh. there is no homeworld there and in fact there is no strong relationship between them and any other species in the galaxy. My idle arms I put to the task of opti- mizing the power bus so we can double the rear quarter shields.

when an Aarun world with several enslaved Horrors embarked on a crusade to rid the galaxy of other sophonts. 0 3. do little to dis- suade the general antipathy towards them. Ultimately this cru- sade.7. So the hurt runs deep throughout the galaxy and the Aaru. Aaruns are strong psychics and scientists and they see (though they have no eyes) or hear (no ears. Aaruns are often viewed with suspicion since the Purge of the second age. it is possible for the adult sophont to never encounter another sophont and therefore never be educated beyond a basic near-ani- mal nature. The Purge. Some claim to be able to hear subatomic particle interactions and certainly they are intuitive drive engineers.7. Therefore most Aaru culture requires cul- tivation of their sexuality in order to control when and where children are formed so that they can be properly educated and introduced into society.2. Stereotype Aaruns are Xenophobes. Physics 3. either) in a very wide range of the electromagnetic spectrum from low infrared well up into the gam- ma radiation range. A feral Aaru cannot be educated and will always be essen- tially an animal. When these circumstances are exactly correct. . The Aaru can only reproduce when submerged in water of a very particular temperature. really. failed when they reached Dreamer space and their control of the Horrors was under- mined by now-unknown Dreamer technology. being introspective and unempathic. salinity. the Aaru releases both eggs and sperm in a cloud that can drift for thousands of miles until it mingles with other Aaru discharge. 3.4 Aaruns are weak at manipulating the Mystical. This fertil- ization will result in larvae that begin a very convolut- ed life cycle that does not always become the sapient form.1. Even when it does. and other chemical content.

8. The details of the Horrors—what they are and how they will manifest—are part of your space as referee. Once autonomous species be- come enslaved by the hegemonic mind. melded with their technologies.9. so it’s possible that there is thought in the chaos of their minds. But they can be — every now and then a culture decides that a Horror would make a powerful ally in war and there are mystic means by which they can be temporarily commanded. 3. Whatever you choose to bring into play is correct. with the inexorable purpose of ex- pansion and envelopment and assimilation. No culture seeks such a state. obliterating en- tire star systems.3. They consume everything they draw near. The key word being “temporarily” of course. Regions of the galaxy afflicted by hegemony are swiftly quarantined and left to burn out on their own unless more direct action is required and war on an enormous scale is necessary to destroy or suppress the expansion. they are slow and they are not terribly directed. But again. but sometimes one falls into an unstoppable spiral of development. But it’s not thought as we know it. Horrors The Horrors live (if that’s the right word) in the empty space between galactic arms where they glide slowly and thoughtlessly through the void. They are forces of entropy—they are drawn to or- der. They are too enormous to be biological—some are the size of planets and a small few have been identified that are larger still—and they do seem to have a slow and in- comprehensible purpose. to civilization—but they are active forces. Hegemony Technology sometimes becomes an end in itself. a positive feedback loop that eventually sustains itself as its own purpose. The problem is that the seeds of he- 3-41 gemonic technology do not require life—they are es- sentially data and they can lie dormant for millions of years until allowed free by well-meaning xeno-ar- chaeologists with inadequate network defenses. and when it does the galaxy is threatened by Hege- mony. .

So a Hegemony. Or perhaps a virulent software package that infests. Eventually they mutate into non-virulent forms but they may go through dif- ferent phases first. subverts. or a hegemonic event. technology. or mystical) achieves at once a very high degree of autonomy (not intelligence. A computer virus that can infect people as well as machines. We might have a Von Neumann plague: reproduc- ing factory robots lose the directive to mine for ore and now simply reproduce as the end goal. The key questions for a hegemony are: • what physics does it use? • how does it reproduce? • how does it travel? • what is the impact of being infected? And of course since they reproduce so rapidly. convert- ing solar systems into hordes of robots seeking more mass. perpetuating it. and prioritizes reproduction. and re-purposes software-bearing equip- ment (including sophonts) to the purpose of spread- ing the signal. 3. and converting whole populations into unproductive. details about hegemonic in- cursions are all yours.4 2 . As with the Horrors. unthinking broadcasters of The Word. A mystic hegemony might be such a powerful me- metic idea that people that think it can do nothing but proselytize it. On high tech worlds this might be fine as the selfless fabs continue to feed and maintain ten billion useless sophonts until they go extinct from failure to breed. necessarily). psychic. changing one or more of their key properties. Pull from fiction or your own imagination as needed. happens when some kind of automation (natural. This automation then attempts to convert everything that isn’t it into it. he- gemonies typically mutate.

aspects. not a joke. Aspects are descriptive phrases that flesh out the character but they have mechanical effect as well— whenever the player sees that there is some advan- tage to be had from that little descriptive snippet you can pay a fate point to get a bonus on your skill check. and stunts. Everyone will make a character including the referee (their character might never see play. We’re there to play some dam-shunt and maybe make a buck and there’s a wicked game going. Skills describe the things they are good at doing and will tend to define how the character approaches a problem—players tend to prefer to use their best skills and so any given problem tends to be viewed in the context of these best skills. I look at Gik and think “what the hell” really hard at her. As soon as they see us. No really. start with all the players around the table. getting beers and snozz and whatnot. Lot of high rollers. Who you are matters. . There are a couple of special aspects that you get for free—stereotypes and consequences. Finally stunts are powers that break the rules in carefully prescribed ways. 4. She shrugs. and some deep purple Aaru we just met walked into a bar. Characters are defined by their skills. We look at our new pal. we walk into a bar. Then we see the picture on the wall. my Shamayan pal Gik. but it will make a nifty NPC that all of the other characters are already familiar with). one of the players pulls the plug and they all fade for the bar. To make a character. It shrugs a half dozen shoulders. though. Characters So me. A deep purple Aaru winning the Hub championships and holding a massive trophy over its sensory fronds.

The referee should describe a little bit about each of the galactic arms and the features of the Core.1. In addition they get their stereotypes 4 for their species and home. Each should then choose their pinnacle skill at rank 3 and write an aspect. and the Rim (see “The Universe” on page 73). 4. Prologue Start by having every player choose their species and homeworld. 4-4 Example: Chris decides to play an Aukumi Runethief (an occupation invented by the player) that grew up in . the Arms. Any skill you don’t have you can use at rank 0. Each player should then provide: • their species • a made up homeworld (just a name and rough location is fine) • a sentence or two about their growing up Players then read their material and discuss it. Characters will wind up with a skill “pyramid” with top skill at rank 3. As you adventure through the galaxy and learn new things you’ll start adding skills at the 1 rank.

The next skill choices are Brawn 2 and Science 2 and they add the aspect slavers die. . Details aren’t necessary. The aspect doesn’t have to include the ally. Look at the character sheet of the player to your right and write a couple of sentences about the time that this character was your ally—someone that saved your life or fought beside you or otherwise practically sup- ported your cause. They choose the aspect born to the arcane sciences. They led the revolt and it was devastating and bloody. Heroism Next the players will write some short notes about the first time they acted heroically. 4.2. 4. Runethiefs there were prized employees providing financial advice through vari- ous auguries. For a rank 1 skill they take 4-45 Training 1 for taking the helm in a trial by fire. They add the aspect a ship is more reliable than any planet. The moment of heroism is when the oppressed classes of the corporation that runs the homeworld finally rose up to demand humane conditions. In the end they had to flee the system and never learned what effect the revolt had. This character has a violent streak. Stereotypes are (species) Brute and (culture) Elitist. but give the table a feel for what’s special about your character’s beliefs—we should get a feel for what the characters will risk their lives for. Pinnacle skill is Magic 3. Example: Chris wants the Elitist stereotype to be dead wrong. the Hub in a vast industrial world. Your ally It’s time to get to know the other characters. Choose two skills for rank 2 and add another aspect that re- flects this story. Pick a skill at rank 1 and write an aspect. Example: Chris decides that the human pilot to their right was the smuggler that helped them all escape the civil war (that Chris started). but it’s not a bad choice.3.

If you want to be strong in a physics that your species is normally weak in. Why are you together? Smuggling? Merce- naries? Bounty hunters? Drinking buddies caught up in politics? A terrorist cell? Write a note about your role in this and choose one last rank 1 skill and an aspect. Finally. This aspect is that 4. then 6 you need a story that explains that. Choose another rank 1 skill and an aspect. 4. Chris chooses the skill Precision 1 and the Aspect everyone deserves to leave their mistakes behind them. studying together even though others mocked them for spending their time this way. Share this discus- sion since you are going to start off your adventures together. Your friend Now let’s look to the left and write about how that character is or became a great friend.. . Example: Chris’ group decides they run a freelance re- patriation ship—they get paid to ship mercenaries home from failed wars. Sometimes someone doesn’t want the mercenaries to leave. 4. 4.6. And now.5. Sometimes these are rescue missions. If that player gives permission. the character might even have once been or still be a lover—but get permission. sum up where we are now. Chris decides that they came to be friends as schol- ars. Any skill chosen from the weak physics at rank 2 or 3 must have an aspect that describes why this character is an exception to the norm for the species. Chris chooses the skill Compassion 1 and the aspect nerds have to stick together.. Handling weakness Each species has at least one physics that they are weak in manipulating.4 story.4. Example: The character to the left is a Tiant Engi- neer.

They are most use- ful for compels to influence the reactions of others or tagged to leverage the expectations of others. These ste- .7. Fabs are soulless. Dreamers are untrustworthy. Tiants are dilettantes. Humans are reckless.8. Aspects in this scope are not necessarily true and must be tagged with that in mind. 4. Ursans are brutes. 4-47 Aaruns are xenophobes. Shamayans are ivory tower intellectuals. The gross features of the galaxy provide stereo- types as well—characters from the Hub are viewed differently from characters from the Rim. Each species has a stereotype. cultures defined during character creation may also have one or more stereotypes. In addition. Stereotypes All characters have a stereotype scope for aspects. Example character Name M’grash Arm The Hub Species Aukumi Homeworld Zmick Database Skills Genius (3) Magic Competence (1) Compassion Expertise (2) Brawn Competence (1) Precision Expertise (2) Science Competence (1) Training Aspects Me Stereotypes born to the arcane sciences brute slavers die elitist a ship is more reliable Consequences mild nerds stick together severe leave your mistakes behind crippling Stunts Portrait/logo Stress Natural Psychic Mystical 4.

The only person that can compel a character to act in accordance with their stereotype is the player of that character. then you can use it to fire your blaster. Arm inhabitants are apathetic. You will start with some expertise in six of them. RTFM! . Stereotypes. 8 Magic: wield your mystical genius to manipulate 4-4 mystical physics. Gulf inhabitants are suspicious. If you have a story to tell about how your Training makes you the marksman you are. These are intended to reflect that stereotypes are true as perceptions of others but not necessarily facts about the character. As a player you can only tag your character’s ste- reotype to leverage someone else’s perception to your advantage. 4. Use the Force. The ref and others can compel a character’s ste- reotype to change the way that others react to the character. Louise! Training: execute a well-established or document- ed task. Psionics: leverage the power of your mighty brain to manipulate psychic physics. Maybe Preci- sion is a better story? That’s up to you. like consequences. reotypes of course require that the relevant parties know where the characters come from. Science: figure out something in the natural physics or use a natural physics fact to your advantage. Rim inhabitants are backwater hicks. Stereotypes have a few rules to govern their use that other aspects do not have. There are bigots everywhere and they will affect the story. Hub inhabitants are bureaucrats. Its truth is indirect and limited and the referee can’t make you (or even bribe you) into acting on it.9. Skills aren’t so much about your specific capabilities as they are about your methods. Skills There are ten skills to choose from. are negatives—you can’t tag them for direct benefit but only indirect (just as you might cleverly tag a conse- quence to gain the sympathy of another).

Commerce: get some business done! Manipulation: promise. a great story should supercede it. skill method natural psychic mystic Science An uncommon or new ap. no no yes proach. An investigation Psionics An uncommon or new ap. An investigation Magic An uncommon or new ap. then don’t stand in the way! Even if the chart says no. in- fluence by acknowledging and bending to the needs of others. lie. Compassion: sway. bend the truth. Items with a question mark are wide open to negotiation at your table: if there’s a good story. avoiding things. Brawn: use brute strength to solve problems. no yes no proach. or whatev- er other greasy trick you have up your sleeve to get your way. Precision: the careful applica- tion of minimum force in the per- fect location is sometimes exactly what’s called for. An investigation Brawn Physical force yes ? ? Precision Physical control yes ? ? Evasion Physical avoidance yes ? ? Compassion Emotional engagement ? yes yes 4-49 Manipulation Emotional violence ? yes yes Commerce Dealing with money and ? ? ? trade Training A common and documented yes yes yes approach . Evasion: getting away from things. yes no no proach. persuade. Certain skills are applicable in certain circumstanc- es as outlined below. and otherwise us- ing your body to get out of a tough situation. cajole.

You have a Psychic track with three boxes. 4. Stereotypes determined by your species and your home arm.12. Your five character aspects can be anything that comes out of character creation. Swap physics One of your physics-bound skills can be used in another physics realm. You still need the right tools. Belief. Could be someone. You have a Mystical track with three boxes. You get three stunts. Something you love and cherish.11. 4. . 4. Maybe you’re a repair genius and so much so you push the limits and can repair runedrives as well as natural gear. Love.10. Something you believe in strongly.12. You get in trouble for it. Every shift you take there must be mitigated with a consequence. Stunts There are several categories of stunts. Could be a concept. Three times. 4. you have no boxes there. you can add one of your stunts to it as “we have a thing”.5 0 Example: Unifying insight! Can use Genius (natural) for Genius (psychic) rolls because I have identified a way to unify these two physics. Stress tracks You have a Natural track with three boxes. Each aspect is a short descriptive phrase that implies special abilities or special weaknesses or—best!—both. Could be a thing. You will pursue it. You may choose a category and elaborate on it. Free. Develop your own aspect! 4. Consider these as idea categories: Species.1. Aspects All characters have five aspects in character scope and two aspects in stereotype scope. If someone already has a thing and it’s a starship. It can be as simple as “Dreamer” or “Human” or it can be more elaborate. If your species is weak in a particular physics.

Example: I am so incredibly well grounded in the ley lines of the universe that I have four boxes in my mystical 4-51 track. . it’s of Starfighter size. 4.4. If it is (it should be— it might be a rule that it has to be) then you can either increase its tier or increase its size. it always increases the size.4.12. Swap a skill Under some circumstances you can use one skill where someone else might use another. Have a thing You have a thing and it’s one tier better than it was before you took this stunt.12.12. We have a thing Make someone else’s thing better because you both own it.2. If it’s a starship.3.12. Example: my pal Laramy has a starship and I helped fund it and keep it shiny so it’s mine too. If used to extend a track with no boxes (say a physics your species is weak in) then it gets three boxes. Extend a track One of your stress tracks has an extra box. It’s a corvette and I’m fine with the name Laramy chose.5. 4. If you’re the first person other than the original to add to it. Maybe you are such a devastating shot that when you demonstrate your Preci- sion skills you can use your skill as an Manipulate check. 4. Example: I have a starship of star- fighter size and its name is the Bette Davis. Typically this is a starship.

You can mess with this. At the end of my action in a fight I decide who goes next.8.13. Specify the other and tell a good story.12.7.12. Choose who goes after you? Also fine. Always want the option of going first? That’s a good one. Affect the wrong track You can take stress destined for one track on an- other instead. Associations Associations are organizations. De- scribe those circumstances. Mess with initiative Initiative order in a fight is usually random or at the whim of the referee. Example: tactical genius. pretty much carte blanche. Always want the option to go last? Also excellent. Example: I am such an incredible pilot in a chase that whenever I am trying to escape I can just take 2 instead of rolling the dice.5 rank is 2. 4. 4. They are: Remit: the pinnacle statistic which determines the 2 ownership and the purpose of the association.6. Its 4. 4. Be extra awesome in particular circum- stances but not too awesome because we don’t want you hogging the limelight Under some circumstance you can take an auto- matic 2 on your roll instead of rolling the dice. . 4. Example: my psionic powers are keyed to my magical attunement with The Power of the universe and so when I take psychic damage I can choose to score it on my mystical track.12. The characters in play all belong to the same association so it’s time to determine the nature of the beast! Associations have three statistics which act like skills and are even in a pyramid.

They are both at rank 1. Specifier: the association has substantial procedural and archival resources. people. We start with one so that we start in the soup. Remit: this association has changed hands and char- 4-53 acter thousands of times—it now could be owned by anyone. and currently free-taggable. This is a tech- nique the referee might bring into play as part of risk at any time if the story seems to demand it. Draw one remit and two specifi- cations from the list below: Academic The texts have revealed an ancient library. It can only be removed by playing out a story where it is resolved. Each remit also comes with a starting complication. taggable by the enemy. Ancient A new idea threatens the status quo. Administrative Critical paperwork is out of order. Specification: choose two from the list. They detail the nature and methods of the association. Its sole purpose now is self-perpetuation as that’s what has allowed it to last so long in the first place. Remit: owned by any other organization. adminis- trative organizations manage processes. This is an aspect. Specifier: the association is involved in research and publication. ac- ademic associations are motivated by discovery and teaching. Remit: owned by the public. . and paperwork.

the purpose of a charitable association is to benefit others. the purpose of a criminal association is to profit in viola- tion of the law. Criminal That last heist went bad. Specifier: the association supports or augments cultural endeavours. Specifer: provides beneficial works for others. Remit: privately owned. Specifier: the association does whatever it needs to survive today. the purpose of a commercial association is to generate tons of profit. Cultural A great new poet has been discovered. Charitable Someone wants you to stop. the objective of the associ- ation is to provide frivolous creative works for audi- ences. and the like. Specifier: the association’s methods are frequently illegal. the associ- ation facilitates artists. It is clogged with self-justifying pro- cesses and bureaucracy. ensuring their works are seen by many. Specifier: interacts with commercial entities or inci- dentally generates profits. 4 Specifier: part of the association’s work supports 4.5 the entertainment industry. poets. Exploratory . Commercial Not yet profitable. Remit: owned by a body of investors. Remit: government or privately owned. Remit: owned by its membership. Remit: owned by a single person or oligarchy. Entertainment This world never heard of you.

Specifier: manipulates political connections. the organization is dedicated to perpetuating and expanding belief in their philosophy or mythology. Remit: owned by individuals. There’s a new link to a new place. the purpose of a medical association is to deliver life-saving technol- ogy and skill. Specifier: involves manufacturing or refinement. the purpose of the military is to execute violence. Sometimes just the raw ma- terials to make other things. ex- ploratory associations travel to document little known places and things. Remit: owned by its membership. Remit: owned by its membership. Remit: owned by another corporation. industrial as- sociations make things. Medical Someone nearby needs you. Remit: owned by a government. Military Pursued by an enemy. the purpose is to change the policies of the State. Religious 4-55 There is proof that your philosophy is wrong. Specifier: works with militaries or in a military role. Industrial Short on a critical material. searching out its remit in far-flung locales. Specifier: the association is no- madic. Remit: owned by a government. Political Opposition leader is dangerously unstable. . Specifier: has the capability to deploy life-saving technology and skill.

Remit: the organization ensures the safety and se- curity of persons. or things at risk. organizations. It might be privately owned or it might be an arm of government. Criminal. Specialize in cross-species transplants. Has been accused of outright theft of organs from living beings but of course this is not 6 true. We’ll take the aspects quite shady and transplant 4. Its methods of acquisition and delivery can be quite shady. technology. a hub-spanning company that provides transplant services. Having created the association’s remit and specifi- cations. the purpose of the rescue association is to assist those in danger. .5 services and we will start with the complication not yet profitable. bring them together with a short description then extract two phrases to use as aspects. Specifier: provides assistance in dangerous circum- stances. Rescue A distress call is incoming. operating in regions where organ trans- plants are illegal or providing illegal organs. We need to fix that. Security A client is in grave danger. Medical: RE- PLACE-MEAT. Specifier: the organization caters to or is an arm of a religion. Remit: owned by unknowns and has shadowy pur- poses. Secret Someone knows who you are. Example: Commercial. Remit: owned by a government. Specifier: one function of the organization is to pro- vide security or security-related materiel. It takes itself very seriously. and parts for remarkably low cost. This might be a mystical science or it might be complete nonsense. Specifier: operates under the radar.

You stay for free in great digs whenever they are available. Company library Our information resources are nearly limitless. Company credit We want our people to be comfortable and happy — they work hard. players may spend the association’s Fate points instead of their own. Or fight on alone! . You may substitute the association’s Remit for any knowl- edge skill for one roll by paying one fate point. even if we have to design them ourselves. Emergency Rescue We got your back. All associations have a refresh of five and three stunts. Substitute the association’s Remit for a ship combat roll and pay a fate point. They can be full of surprises. For a cost of one fate point from each player. Deep Pockets The association has two extra refresh. You may substitute the association’s Remit for any combat skill for one roll by paying one fate point. the Rim. that skill rank is 2. Make sure to narrate in the company’s interactions! Company armoury The weapons locker is stocked with goodies all the time. they should play hard. or a specific Arm). Those not rescued can either spend a point from the association’s pool or negotiate a personal concession. When a stunt allows you to use a company statistic as a skill. Company ship The spacecraft we use are the best anywhere. Choose stunts from the following: Branches all over When in the region with all the branch offices (the Hub. the association arrives in the nick of time 4-57 extracting them from a conflict.

Known throughout the galaxy
Just the fact that you work for us gives you power.
Whenever tagging an association aspect you may pay
with association fate points.

Mystical
The warehouse is full of all the right charms to
augment your arcane knowledge without giving you
away. Whenever using a skill with the mystic qualifi-
er, you may spend association Fate points to invoke
aspects.

Natural
We specialize in technology that manipulates the
real. Whenever using a skill with the natural qualifi-
er, you may spend association Fate points to invoke
aspects.

Psychic
Our extensive psychic science division ensures that
your talents are optimized. Whenever using a skill
with the psychic qualifier, you may spend associa-
tion Fate points to invoke aspects.

Reputable
Our reputation is spotless and we aim to keep it
that way. You may pay off compels with association
fate points.

Reputation for excellence
We hire the best and everyone knows it. When they
succeed, we grow more powerful. Whenever a char-
acter takes out or gets a concession from an oppo-
nent, add a fate point to the associations pool. Only
once per scene though.

4.14. Advancement
After every session set aside a half hour or so at the

8
end to go over potential advancements. Consider this

4- 5
checklist:

Did you use a skill at rank 0? You
get the skill at rank 1 if you have
an empty slot for it (you can have
a maximum of four rank 1 skills).
Did you heal a crippling conse-
quence? Re-write the consequence
as a new aspect that’s more posi-
tive. And yes now you get another
fate point in the refresh.
Did you find that an aspect or
stunt no longer adequately applies
to your character? Discuss it with
the rest of the table and if it works
for everyone, change it.
Did you get some loot? Make
it permanent with a new have a
thing stunt. Just one thing though.
Pick the thing you most want to become a part of
your character. If you got any other things, they could
get lost in the pool or something later.
Do you want to improve a skill? You can move a
skill up the pyramid as long as you move one down.
Move a skill from 2 to 3? Move the old 3 down one.

4.15. What about the ref?
The ref gets characters too, but you get to make
them up entirely yourself. And you need a fast way
because you aren’t always expecting a robot bar fight.
No need to spend a ton of energy on that!
You might find you want a richer character for a
villain or a patron or some other narrative purpose.
Use the same scheme but add detail as the charac-
ter’s importance changes. You’ll find that you pro-
mote and demote characters all the time: sometimes
a thug turns out to be interesting because of interac-
tion with the characters. Manipulate the statistics as
you see fit. That’s your prerogative as the ref.
These characters (called NPCs or “non-player char-

4-59
acters” in many systems, but I don’t want to demote
the ref to a non-player!) have a “cap”. That’s the maxi-
mum skill level they have in their pyramid.

1-cap characters have only one interesting skill and
it’s not very good. They don’t get an aspect nor fate
points.
2-cap characters have one skill at rank 2 and two at
rank 1. They are competent but not experts. They get
an aspect and a fate point.
3-cap characters have a skill at rank 3 and the pyr-
amid that follows from that. These are now almost
the same power as a character played by the others
at the table! They get two aspects and two fate points
and a stunt.
Progress this as far as you like. 4-cap characters get
three aspects and as many fate points and two stunts.
5-cap characters get four and four and three. At this
point you’re going to have to start inventing new
skills. Go as high you need to suit the story!
All of the ref’s characters have three stress boxes
in the categories normal for their species. You should
certainly consider making new species if you like!
Galaxy’s a big place.
Now, not every character is worth even this much
information. That’s fine, take what notes you want
and play them how you like. If they suddenly need to
have mechanical impact (oppose a roll, for example)
then quickly whip them up with these rules.

4.15.1. Mobs
Sometimes the players will get into a fight with
a lot of enemy characters that don’t need a lot of
detail. So instead of inventing a whole character for
each one, make the whole mob one character. Just
use the rules above but describe it as a gang. Every
time the mob uses a consequence to mitigate harm,
also knock them down one cap. A 3-cap mob gets the
consequence lead hooligan is unconscious and
becomes a 2-cap, losing all its rank 1 skills.

4- 6 0

4-61 .

6 2 .4.

Not until you find a shooting weapon. Or maybe a thing you got as loot. Important things are things that you have because of a stunt. So much for unimportant things.1. if you have an aspect like I have a concealed shotgun then we have a conflict. then you have the tool to execute that skill. This is fair since an aspect like that is temporary. You need to supply a story for how you kept it. It has one or more aspects. It’s easily resolved though. . you have that thing unless you have an aspect that says you don’t. You’re no fool. Important things Important things are different. well. if you want to shoot and you have you ain’t got shit still active on you. There are a couple of things to consider. you can’t. though. Things If you have a skill above rank zero and you need a thing to use it (like. you want to self-compel this aspect. First. you don’t. If you really want a shotgun but don’t have an as- pect for it then you ain’t got shit overrides your desires. Shoot). To reiterate. It’s a special thing and it has features above and beyond its simple purpose. So let’s say you get arrested and stripped and put in jail. say. Basically. Like where you hid it. well. its perfectly reasonable for the ref to give you the aspect you ain’t got shit and so. 5. It’s not for a negative but a positive but still the econ- omy at least makes it fair: you pay a fate point and you keep your shotgun. though: if there’s no special effect on you and you want to use a skill you have at level 1 or higher. since as- pects are true. 5. Well. So in the latter case.

New gear can be found as loot and it might be any tier as the referee prefers. If you spend 2 stunts on a piece of gear. It has zero or more stunts. A rank. And a Purpose phase of course. It has a history. Tier 2 gear is not only special. It may have a stress track. a lev- el. Tier 3 gear is famous. It’s the stuff you have just be- cause you have a skill. You might also find or . If you spend one stunt on a piece of gear. Its origins may predate time itself. It may have its own fate points. It adds a Fame phase which adds more capabilities but also a new stress track to manage: recognition. It’s not necessarily famous but the previous owner might be. it’s been around. Consequently it goes through the History phase as well as the Purpose phase. A category of amazingness. Tier 1 is special gear. It had a previous owner and they might still be out there. And so we will record them like characters and we will develop them like characters. It’s possible for tier 3 and high- er gear to become so recognized that you can’t keep playing a footloose adventurer while you own it.6 I bet you can guess what you get for another stunt. You might be Taken Out by your gear’s fame. It’s mentioned in leg- ends. It’s got a coloured history and several previous owners. an heirloom. it is tier 4 1. They might even miss their prized possession. It goes through a Purpose phase which is simply to de- scribe what it’s for. At tier 2 equipment starts to imply motivations and compli- cations. Important things have a tier. It goes through a History and a Previous owner phase. a rating. It’s only barely a character. The most important thing about important things is that they are characters. 5. customized. It’s hand made. it is tier 2. Tier 0 is regular gear. It adds a Destiny phase. There are prophecies that describe its future. Tier 4 gear is awe-inspiring. Draw them from the same categories as for a character.

It was used in the last Horror Vendetta and not by us. Example: I have a highly customized shamanic spanner that can be used to perform spirit surgery. Example: I have an ancient disintegrator pistol. 5. It was used by 5-65 the Horror-general Galoctopus and it is made from the tenebrous shadow fibers of her awful realm. It uses Mysti- cal physics and has the aspect perfect runic align- ment. which is especially likely if we’re talking about the starship everyone uses to get around. but horror-guns are illegal.2. If it’s a weapon it will attack that physics track. name the previ- ous owner or perhaps the category of previous own- er. And you can always use a stunt to upgrade someone else’s equip- ment. It uses Psychic physics.3. Previous owner In addition to the History actions.fabricate an upgrade as part of your character’s ad- vancement (since you might add a stunt. 5.1. It should be tied to one branch of physics. If it’s armour it will defend against attacks on that track. . Example: I have a psionic engineering toolkit for repair- ing mindwarps. Purpose What’s it for? That’s its purpose. It’s a hand weapon and so has optimal range 1. The aspect is in the equip- ment’s scope—distinct from your own!—which gives you a new pool of aspects to draw on as well as your character aspects. Are they still around? Were they hated? Are they looking for the gear? Tell me a story and pick another aspect and a stunt. Ships get much more complicated and have distinct rules. you might use that to add a tier to the equipment).1. It is a Natural physics weapon.1.1. History Describe the history of your gear and give it an aspect that reflects this. She’s gone. 5. Pick that too.

Fame This piece of kit is very well known.4. In addition to the Pre- vious owner tale. It employs Psychic physics. If you take stress you can’t mitigate and have no more space on the track. I reprogrammed it after I stole it from the Mindlord Wisconsin Sam but it still attracts some attention. It has the stunt Swap Physics: can be used as both a Natural and a Mystical weapon. and a Recognition track with 3 boxes. these can be used to mitigate stress. There was a miniseries. you are swamped with tourists and can no longer func- tion normally. It has the aspect engage all targets thanks to its use in the Brainwar skirmishes. 5. It has the aspect designed by horrors for horror. It has the aspect illegal and for good reason. Add an aspect. It’s mentioned in books people have read. You only get three. 6 It has the aspect known everywhere as in- 5- credibly lethal. It has the aspect Sam left a manual in it.1. a stunt. Just like other character consequenc- es. check off a box. . one of each level. Or you can counter the stress with a Recognition Consequence. describe who it’s famous with and why. You can only heal it with downtime—a session in which you never bring it out gets you a stress box recovered. It has the stunt affect the wrong track: it can shunt 6 physical damage to the wearer’s Psychic stress track. Every time you use the equipment and succeed with style. Example: I am augmented with my Personal Extra-Ner- vous Implement System. You are Taken Out. It’s a device that gives me four extra arms and two extra eyes to enhance my combat skills.

In addition to the Fame story. It has a Recognition track of one box and three fate 5-67 points . It has the stunt swap a skill because of its integral weap- ons: the user may use Athletics to Shoot. It has the stunt extend a track: the armour also has a Mystical track of 3. tell us all about its destiny—what will it be a part of and when? You can be vague or not since the story might not be true. It has been handed down from generation to generation in my family and I am the last in the line: I have no spawn and can bear none and so it must be me who is born to wear it in the final battle with the Corehorrors at the End of Time. It’s im- portant. Nations vie for it. Which I assume is a place since there’s no sign that time is actually coming to an end. When tagging an aspect on the gear.5. Add an aspect and three fate points. It has the stunt independent attacks which let you take a second shoot or fight roll each round. Destiny This thing has prophecies written about it. though—it only recovers them when its aspects are compelled. Example: I wear the jeweled armour of Migro. 5. It has a Recognition track of 3. It has the aspect intimidating as hell since spikey powered armour is like that. It is a Natural physics device. you can spend its fate points instead of yours.1. It has the aspect will last until the end of time. It has the aspect my father taught me all there is to know about it. What the heck. It never refreshes. Its Recognition track is only one box long. It has the stunt extend a track: the armour also has a Psionic track of 3. But it’s what people believe. It has the aspect ancient technology. add another stunt too.

5. Personal starships use the starfighter reticle and corvettes use the corvette reticle. Corvette The Corvette reticle adds a tailgunner and so can 8 also shoot into the “directly behind” arc. the pi- lot has no penalty for also shooting. 5. as many again fabricants. 5. Starships are characters Starships can have two physics since they have two functions: movement and shooting. just like archaic behind and below fighter planes. . Starships also have three physics tracks like people with three boxes each and a firing reticle. When you’re 5. Starfighter directly behind The Starfighter reticle at tier zero can only fire behind and above straight ahead. Fighting in a starfighter means being great at Chase ahead below so you can skewer your directly below targets straight down the boresight. When dogfight- ahead above ing you need to manipu- late your enemies into the behind and right behind and left directly right directly left “ahead” arc in order to be ahead right ahead left ahead able to attack them.2. In a starfighter.2. and some cargo.2. Starships also have a size: starfighter or corvette.1.2. You point directly above your ship and the shooting goes there. They are usually the same but do not have to be! So you might have a runedrive (mystical) for movement but also have neutrino-seeking thermonuclear missiles (natural) for shooting. A corvette can hold half a dozen people.6 in a dogfight you can shoot at anyone you can ma- neuver into either of these arcs. A starfighter can hold one person and one fabricant.

the pilot fires weapons with a pen- alty of -2. left and above arcs. Short range weapons: take no penalty at Close and Far range. directly behind directly behind behind and above behind and above behind and above directly above directly above directly above ahead above ahead above ahead above directly behind behind and right behind and right behind and right behind and left behind and left behind and left directly right directly left directly right directly right ahead right directly left directly left ahead right ahead right ahead left ahead left ahead left ahead ahead ahead ahead below ahead below ahead below directly below directly below directly below behind and below behind and below behind and below Starfighter upgraded to bar. Choose from the list below or imagine the addition and choose new arcs appropriate and fair for the addition. add one. These ships nor.3. Improved coverage: choose to add another arc to your ship. The exception is the directly ahead arc. ahead below mally have separate gun- directly below ners. . Consider: Barbette mount: existing arc gains its associated be- low. over and above those already discussed. directly behind behind and above You have a lot more lee- directly above way when fighting in a cor- vette because you don’t ahead above need to concentrate on behind and right behind and left getting your enemies into directly right directly left ahead right ahead left one place on the reticle. Corvette upgraded to forward Corvette upgraded to rear bette barbette barbette Rear gun: if you don’t already have one. 5-69 Extend: add three adjacent arcs to an existing mount and explain it. right. Side gun: add a gun on each side that fires into that side’s direct. Fires only into the “directly behind” arc. which behind and below the pilot can always fire into without penalty.2. 5. and ahead arcs. Stunts Here are some additional ideas for starship stunts. ahead In a corvette. behind.

Versatile: this weapon has two optimum ranges in- stead of the usual one! 0 Disintegrator: double stress on armour but it 5. Attach the harm to a physics. Blow their ar- moured pants off! . Brawling weapons have an optimal range of zero. Long range weapons: take no penalty at Escaping and Far range. 5. just the stress after the roll). but here are some ideas.2.7 doesn’t carry through to the target. Weapons are characters Weapons also have an optimum range in zones. Harmful: this weapon causes +2 stress on a suc- cessful hit (it doesn’t add to the die roll. It’s also an attack on the mind of any fabs. The natural track is straight up physical harm. Take some time to think about your weapons when describing them. we know it does harm.1. but what kind of text is going on that crippling consequence when you score it? Drooling vegetable? 5. 5.3. Describe it as untrustable sensors and automation. What exactly is a melee mystical weapon? What does a psionic rifle look like? What does it do? I mean.4. Tracks So what does it mean to a starship that takes a hit on its psychic track when it has no psychic equip- ment? Or mystical? The psychic track is an attack on the crew: they are disoriented or disabled such that the ship’s behaviour is impacted. Hand weapons have an optimal range of 1. This is not lasting harm to the crew. Stunts As with anything you can make up your own stunts. The mystical track is an attack on the ship’s sense of place in the universe.3. Longarms have an optimal range of 2. Blockade runner: moving a ship from Escaping to off the map costs only 1 shift.

Again take some time to describe your armour and think about non-natural physics. Gadgets are characters Repair kits. Reflective: pick a physics and any successful attack from that physics does the same stress inflicted on the armour to the attacker. tool kits. Armour is a character Armour also has a stress track of three boxes.5. Be creative and make up any purpose and invent a story for it and that’s a tier 1 or higher gadget. that’s on you though. Stunts Dual purpose: has a second stress track in a differ- ent physics.5.4.4. Military grade: add two more boxes to one of the armour’s stress tracks. bionic limbs. If both of you have re- flective armour it could bounce back and forth until someone’s armour is destroyed! 5. It can be used to take damage instead of you taking damage as long as the physics match.1. If you need a conse- quence. psychic analysis helmets. 5-71 . are all fair game. ley-flares for throwing off pursuers. grappling cannons. What would psychic armour be? 5.

5.7 2 .

Starting to feel pretty good about the wait though — we should have been on that station. but sitting here for the sixth day in the docking queue I know that the Hub is about one thing: waiting. The panel blazes red with alarms on the comms quarter. So when the dockmaster vids in—it’s some kind of bug thing covered in. but the weapons locker is open and the blasters are all charged. This wouldn’t bug me so much. There are improvements.what. It’s also different from our own world’s . wires or something?—it’s a relief. open a window or some- thing. we spar. And then it suddenly flashes white and all the screens go dark. The quick release on the drive feed is always at hand. we sleep. trailing huge spherical cargo balls in a train. About time. High speed debris. We slide out of the queue and slow burn for the station. The Universe Hub worlds are supposed to be the centre of the universe.. certainly. The hull starts pinging. but generally technology is pervasive. We are ready to fight or run or both and we’ve been on that edge for a week. 6. We play holo. Cleared for 17G in Artemis Station. but every day we wait is another chance for a spot inspection and cargo drones aren’t the only patrols on the queue. The galaxy is filled with civilizations and booming with business. It eats at you.. They do. Waiting long enough that there are re-supply drones patrolling the queue. There were about to be a lot of police drones in a very small space. ”Screens up! Unlock the drive feed!” Someone blew my pick-up to pieces in the hub. the source of culture and innovation. I yell at Ryser to find us an optical. and there are backwater planets that don’t trade effectively and so have poorer technology. Most of these civilizations are ancient but travel throughout the galaxy is relatively com- mon and so there is a common baseline of technol- ogy.

6. in which trade is brisk and mystical powers are weak. and between 4 the arms are the Gulfs. It is a dangerous and lucrative place that moves at a fast pace. In this sense. mysticism dominates and life is simpler though per- . This is sci- ence fiction as wonder and fantasy. M Ti a ni a nt c h ae a n A i Ar m Ar m n ea rm m The u Au k Hub A a i an Arm ru m Ar an O rp h e technology more in style than in substance. then. And it plays by slightly different rules. Towards the center of the galaxy is the Hub. at the Rim where the Arms blur and merge. a re- gion dense with worlds. This is a place where com- merce and politics dominate and military action is huge and devastating. Curving out from the hub are six Arms. No one civilization dominates here and the power balance is constantly in flux. This is not science fiction as speculation.7 though the pace slows as we move away from the hub until. most technology is an analogue of modern or ancient technology from the real world rather than a prediction or extrapolation of our own. In the arms are many stars.

This almost always ends badly. our unlikely he- roes. there 6-75 are details of real world physics that are not the same in this universe. sleeping for slow millennia until the fast bright minds of the civilizations come too close. We need to come to an under- standing about the ways in which this universe is not your universe. The Gulfs between the Arms are nearly empty of stars and difficult to navigate. However. and sometimes they are right. But the price is always high and the successes fleeting. usually as part of a strategic play towards the Rim or into the Gulfs. But if they can be tamed or at least directed. In these places there are few civilizations but there are other things. The vast bulk of the civilizations are in the Arms and their con- cerns are largely local: the machinations of the Hub worlds touch them only indirectly. In the Arms people are just people and they are getting on with their lives as people do. This is where we draw our characters from. As with the Rim. if you’re . Now. and so on. and this is where we find heroes. But sometimes events sweep people up and force them to act. In the Gulfs horrors lurk. 6. And then there are the Arms themselves. and most of those ways you will understand intuitively: when you drop things they fall. There are always forces from the Hub that believe the powers available out at the Rim can be imported to the Hub for leverage there. the power one might wield over the Hub worlds would be unstoppable.haps more brutal. there are inhabitants of the Hub that believe these horrors can be harnessed or at least aimed and unleashed. with simple (though passionate!) motivations that find they cannot ignore an injustice or that must pursue vengeance. when you accelerate you go faster. it’s like your universe in a lot of ways.1. Facts We need to talk. ourselves clad in the trappings of the Elysium Flare. The upside of this is that Elysium Flare uses a kind of “folk physics”—that is. Just folks.

So we can pretty much ignore relativity as well. are generally comprehensible by another branch of physics: the mystical. weapons. and going faster than light is a special thing to do requiring special equipment or people. sensors. It’s a spe- cial value. the places it cannot describe. Basically anywhere real physics says “impossible!” we will ask “what if?” The gaps and origins in natural physics. The use of natural physics is there- fore more widespread than the others. but it’s not impossible.1. Natural physics Natural physics is like ours. natural physics is used to understand the universe enough to invent gad- gets that manipulate the physics to produce use- ful effects. Here are the differences anyway. There are three different branches of physics here.2. untrained in physics you probably won’t even sus- pect a difference. and is manipu- lated by technology. Technology is something anyone can use. to be sure. Mystical physics These are the set of universal laws that are manipu- lable by faith and arcana. This requires dedication and wisdom and experience and morality.1. That is. This gives us vehicles. 6. and these things are easily stored and transmitted and interpreted.1. It al- 6. and so on. In Elysium Flare natural physics does not make the speed of light a barrier to your top speed. You can teach it and you can explain it on a mass scale. 6. But it’s not the only way to manipulate the universe! These physics are represented and manipulated with mathematics and modelling and algorithms. so throughout the universe it is the most common physical manipulation around.7 lows and explains certain limited exceptions to natu- ral physics and its gaps and exceptions are partially comprehensible by psychic physics. and they overlap somewhat. And don’t bet on ther- modynamics either. . mostly. Anyone can ac- cess this by making the right sacrifices and staying 6 on the path laid down by mystics before you.

The representation and reasoning of mystical phys-
ics uses obscure symbologies and the details of the
presentation are important—a particular paper or
ink, the right frame of mind, written in the right place
at the right time. Aesthetics have concrete powers.
Consequently transmitting mystical calculations is
useless—the medium here really is the message. This
limits the rate at which mystical understanding can
be propagated and it is commonly only taught from
master to pupil.
The trappings of mystical physics are special things
and special places and special times and special peo-
ple. None of these can be readily fabricated but rather
they are found. If they were once fabricated, that art
is long lost.

6.1.3. Psychic physics
There is another set of laws that is even more per-
sonal, that resides inside the individual mind. Not ev-
eryone can manipulate this kind of physics, but in
principle any kind of mind might be capable. Psychic
physics allow certain limited exceptions to natural
physics and is partially comprehensible by natural
physics—it is understood that certain patterns of
brain activity are associated with psychic activity, for
example, and it can in principle be damped or am-
plified by natural technology, but the why of it all is
permanently and provably elusive.
Psychic physics is internalized—it is not calculated
in real space but rather is a unique and internal calcu-
lation that takes place in the instinctive part of recep-
tive minds. It can be reproduced but it is mostly about
effort and desire and talent and so psychics can only
very loosely define how they do what they do. They
certainly cannot communicate it even to other psy-
chics but can only nod knowingly at the description
of how it feels when it works
Psychic physics doesn’t make things external to the

6-77
mind but there are things that can be linked to or
powered by the brain.

6.1.4. Good and evil
The universe of the Elysium Flare certainly has
many moral shades of gray, but there is also stark
good and evil. This mostly derives from the mystical,
though this does not mean that species weak in the
mystical are immune to influence from one side or
the other. Far from it—they are often ill-equipped to
resist.
Evil, the darkness, the Hegemony, is that which
denies the needs of others—their power to choose,
to live, to play—in order to secure some other gain.
Usually that’s more power to deny, but sometimes
it’s simply more power, attention, or wealth for an
individual. There are mystical forces that are ener-
gized by the excitement, fear, and pain that this path
brings and they can often only express themselves
by empowering others. At the pinnacle of any tyran-
nical movement is likely an individual motivated by
personal gain who is a puppet of these powers.
Good is that which engages the needs of others,
that empowers them to choose and to play. It is the
harder path for individuals as its rewards are distrib-
uted—it does not elevate the individual but rather en-
ables the individual to elevate others. It is humbling
and quiet and so the great expressors of Good, those
that are enabled by the mystical powers of light, are
frequently unknown. They work their trade locally,
making a difference person by person, spreading the
power of good rather than concentrating it.

6.1.5. Chaos and the Void
All living things generally perpetuate order. This is
against the very fabric of the universe, which inexo-
rably moves towards perfect chaos—entropy. Some
argue that this is the very purpose of intelligent life.
There are, however, beings that actively embrace
the Void, that seek chaos, disorder, and the grey per-
fect cold of entropy. These are the Horrors between

8
the arms of the galaxy and they are the one thing that

6- 7
everyone should fear. Their actions assure the even-
tual destruction of everything. And yet their power is
so great that of course they are a temptation—there

are always those that are certain there is a way to
control these forces and wield them to elevate order
and perpetuate an ideology. It has never worked—
all such empires rapidly collapse under the Horrors
themselves. Destruction is assured. The worst fear is
that a Hegemony riding the Horrors will be so suc-
cessful that the collapse will span the galaxy and then
everything will end. There is evidence in the night sky
that this has happened before.

6.1.6. Planetary statistics Building a universe
There are a few critical descriptors for planets that For each major location
we will generate as needed. You can of course expand in the galaxy (the
on these. Keep adding and changing as part of play. Hub, the Rim, and
each Arm) we’ll give
Trouble: the essential conflict in this world. you some description
Culture: what it’s like to live here. and some tables to
generate worlds.
Environment: what it’s like to be here.
History: what went on before. So pick an arm and
make a world. The
Proximity: the distance to each neighbour. last thing you’ll do
Each has a cost. For each world start with 5 world is generate links
points and buy one aspect from each type. -- the worlds that
are attached to this
one by jumpspace
6.2. The Hub lines, wormholes,
or whatever your
The Hub is a busy place. That’s an aspect. fiction is for these
Most fabricants originate in the Hub because it is so connections.
busy that locals need to keep making more locals to Then make more
do the menial work. worlds!
In the Hub, most species identify themselves as
originating there but in fact all but one come from one
of the Arms (or perhaps even further away). And so
the Hub is a melange of beings, having all conceivable
shapes and colours and forms. Here even humanity
does not dominate and it can’t really be said that any
particular species “rules”. More than anywhere else in
the galaxy, species is genuinely irrelevant to station.
The worlds of the Hub all orbit their own stars, of
course, but these stars all orbit the black hole, Ar-
chon, at the center of the galaxy. These worlds are

6-79
densely populated, many of them mono-climates of
steel and glass and other exotic but synthetic materi-
als. They are world-cities encapsulating industry and
bureaucracy on a planetary scale.

and widespread personal armament is more problem than solution. They embed technology in their flesh (if they have flesh) and even their minds. it must be bureaucratic.5.2. People equip themselves with gadgets to assist their labour. placing trillions at risk. Hegemony 0 The Hegemony has made no inroads into the Hub. The density of the popu- lation can make it hard for some psychics and so shielding technology is popular. Psychics Psychics are common in the Hub and psychic tech- nology is readily available.2. Technology All technology can be acquired here. 6.1. though on many Hub worlds weaponry is restricted or banned. so if it exists it can probably be found. Perhaps there are secrets in processes used unchanged through the ages and reasons why they work better than they should. 6. though usually according to some logic. Industry and trade is vibrant here. Weapons are often il- legal but duelling laws are common. This doesn’t mean it can’t be bought. And these worlds all favour technology. . If there is any consistent mystical technology here. Mysticism Mystics are rare and effects deviate from the mean.3. of course. Species Every species can be found here. 6. 6. 6.2. Law Law is generally restrictive. The overriding concern on most worlds is managing the dense pop- ulation.8 This is a good thing—a Hegemony loose in the Hub would be devastating.2.2. but it won’t be legal. 6. 6.2.2.4. There are worlds that experi- ment with it anyway.6.

2. 3 Worldwide computer systems crash Running out of air Power outages threaten life and data 4 Awakening data hegemony At war with another planet-company cost Culture 0 Everyone is very busy 1 A noble class rules the rest A corporate board of directors rules Owned by a powerful cooperative 2 An egalitarian utopia An automated hierarchy 3 Very few people and all crazy rich Hive mind 4 One free sophont and a world of slaves One sophont cost Environment 0 All city 1 One huge city and a poisoned wilderness A huge city disguised as a wilderness 2 Airless surface and an underground city world Airless with domes over every crater 3 Floating network of cities in a gas giant 6-81 An orbital structure 4 A slower than light city ship going somewhere A structure that surrounds the sun .7. Generating Hub worlds cost Trouble 0 Massively overcrowded 1 Industrial wasteland Heat pollution is getting pretty bad No permanent residents allowed 2 Bureaucratic hellhole Waste disposal is a crime Zero-sum population law: if you visit someone has to leave.6.

8 cies. . and huge. two close.3.3. The worlds of the Rim are diverse but have a com- mon theme: they are worlds where people work the land (whatever the land is) and care little for galactic politics. The worlds are poor by Hub standards. individual 2 worlds actually tend to be dominated by single spe- 6. two far 4 One distant 6. Species Every race can be found here—the Rim is very di- verse. one far 2 Two very close. It’s also sparse. though. two close 1 Two very close. They live well enough and they do their own work— it’s rare to find a construct at the Rim and those that do live here are typically citizens. but the people here like it that way. two close Two very close. cost History 0 An ancient and ossified bureaucracy 1 Recovering from a recent revolution A new revolution is log overdue 2 Notorious for starting wars between rival worlds Cheats on zone taxes 3 Started a Horror incursion for profit and still living it down Chained Horror in the planetary basement 4 Recently installed as-is by a hypercorporation Created by an ancient hegemonic brain cost Proximity 0 One very close.1. The Rim Life is slow on the Rim. so while the Rim as a whole can be said to be diverse. one close. one far One far 3 Four very close. 6.

However. but is generally lax. Law Law depends on the culture of each world. It’s a place where mystics are easily found. Technology The technology that is available on the Rim tends towards older or even ancient models. rejected geniuses toil away in the lawless safety of the Rim and sometimes stumble across technologies that have never been seen be- fore. 6.3. Hegemony The Hegemony does not seem to be interested in the Rim—several worlds have been dismantled but they are all on the fringes of expansion that is di- rected into an arm and not outwards into the Rim. Not always easy to survive—dealing with ruthless killers is risky—but easy to arrange. Isolated. 6. The ones that do eke out a living in the wilds are often insane.3. and that means that there remain many undiscov- ered artifacts and transection points where mystical energies might be focused in new and powerful ways.6.2. 6.3. Psychics Psychics thrive on the mass mind and so in the sparseness of the Rim they are relatively rare.5. it’s also a place where a lot of strange experimentation goes on. with worlds sepa- rated by more space than anywhere else in the galaxy.3. Weapons are often necessary to survive in this wild space and even where restrictions are en- forced there are so many transients operating illegally that getting banned technology is easy to arrange.3.6. 6-83 . 6.3.4. Mysticism The Rim has much to explore.

It’s their world..3. play hard Gambling is a part of every transaction Haggle for everything 2 Lawless and making a packet on it Traditional pirate hide-out A government in exile is exiled here 3 Thoughtless obedience to an overlord Blood is shed for the slightest reason 4 Only one person lives here. Generating Rim worlds cost Trouble 0 Local bandits make trouble 1 Something terribly wrong with the crops Tourists stopped coming Economy is slowing down 2 A corporation is ravaging the ecosystem An external power is exploiting the workforce Aliens are taking our jobs 3 A missing resource (water..) The atmosphere generators are breaking down 4 A Hub empire has suddenly become interested There’s a Horror just past the Rim cost Culture 0 Quiet and simple 1 Work hard. hostile to humans A waterworld 2 An asteroid belt that imports its air The world is a junkyard of space ships linked together 3 A strange accident of a world like a gas ring around a neu- tron star 8 4 4 A constructed world with unknown purpose 6- A perfect world in the perfect place and no other planets . air. No one lives here: the place is automatic cost Environment 0 Mostly lush dangerous wilderness 1 A monoculture world.7. 6.

one far 1 One very close. Huge things that find gravity uncomfortable. Wandering planetoids without a star are occasionally detected and sometimes they contain ruined structures—may- be once-livable worlds now stripped to the stone and ancient buildings. Yet things live here. one far. And occasionally there are efforts to get a foothold here because there is research to be done in this space—the silence of it is conducive to 6-85 several branches of mystical physics and there are highly specialized psychics that find the perfect isola- tion conducive to certain branches of research. or that cannot tolerate the harsh neutrino stream from the great furnaces of stars. there is evidence that there have been. . cost History 0 Colonized within living memory 1 Fled religious persecution Political dissidents settled to make their utopia 2 A thousand years of farming and psychic research Ancient secret societies are pervasive 3 Source of the toughest mercenary soldiers in the galaxy Everyone is suspiciously brilliant. And people have lived here. or maybe the remains of a failed science station.4. Though there are no known civilizations in any of the Gulfs at this time. things that fare better in the pure emptiness of these places. The Gulfs The Gulfs are mostly empty space—stars are sparse- ly distributed making travel difficult for any but the most specialized starships. one far 2 One close. especially farmers 4 A million years of peace and no one knows why cost Proximity 0 One close. one distant 3 One very close 4 Two distant 6.

4. Species The Gulfs are largely empty. An ancient civilization. There is some dangerous unifying theory that makes sense of all this and it’s mystical in nature. a flare of blinding insanity. maybe. The only thing worse than this silence is the occasional glimpse into the mind of a passing Horror.2. and raw materials.4. 6. Psychics The Gulfs are bad places for psychics: there are vast 6 regions where no mind at all exists and this silence 6. or at least empty of sa- pient life. the fraying edges of reality at the Gulf. 6. Or an old science station. and whatever reality is. Mystical physics are more accurate and more powerful.1. Some- thing deeply true exists that combines this universe. Mysticism Here entropy is accelerating and natural physics breaks.5.4.3. But there are risks. . They move slowly. equipment. Technology Technology near the Gulf is mostly whatever the inhabitants brought with them—it’s rare to find any kind of industrial base. That’s part of why the people that are here chose to be here. The Gulfs are quiet and terrifying.4. Even the thin stream of neutri- nos from a stardrive can aggravate one of the Mon- strosities here. Law There is no law in the Gulf. but there are outposts and research stations at the fringes. so slowly that they may even arrive to address an irritation now long gone. 6.4. At least that’s what experiments in the Gulf suggest. The Horrors in the Gulf are best controlled by mysticism but they are also attracted to it.8 can drive a sensitive insane.4. 6. 6. These tiny habitats might be crewed by any species but there is one species that has a special affinity for the strangeness of the Gulfs—the Aaru. Remote stations are often desperate for parts.

Generating Gulf worlds cost Trouble 0 So incredibly lonely 1 Missing vital supplies Vast amounts of a valuable resource but no air Sun’s going out 2 Something has gone terribly wrong with the research We found something and it wants to trade The world is a sleeping Horror. and incomprehensible multi-dimensional visu- alizations.4. 4 No one lives here Until last week people lived here. It feeds on thought.7. 6. . 6. Psychics forced to travel here often employ illegal drugs to stay unconscious as much as possible. An abandoned but functional research outpost should be terrifying: fortunes might be made but the risk of unleashing a Hegemonic algorithm is substantial. Shhhh.6. 3 Someone wants this world for their own In the middle of a shooting war The only jump route has been mined 4 We keep a Horror at bay We’re hiding from a Horror cost Culture 0 Studious 1 Strict ritual behaviour Membership in the cult is mandatory 2 Making a ton of money selling tickets Monstrous waste turns out to have valuable properties 3 Desperately occupied keeping things working 6-87 Try not to think. Not now. allowing for technologies impossibly advanced and dangerously self-willed.rage.4. Hegemony Hegemonies often originate near the Gulfs as physics and causality are weak there.

since it couples the livable wildness of the Rim with prox- . History has been forgotten. No one empire has ever ruled this arm and 6. one distant 4 Two distant 6. 4 Installed within the last ten years as a kind of world-puppet operated by a Horror cost Proximity 0 One close 1 One very close 2 One close. one far 3 One far. constantly switching owners An intellectual war over first publication rights 3 History is illegal.8 so it has many small cultures and frontiers. It is rich with medium-sized yellow stars suitable for certain kinds of organic life and has spawned thousands of 8 species. cost Environment 0 An airless rock orbiting a red dwarf 1 An airless rock orbiting an exotic star An airless rock orbiting a black hole 2 The moon of a gas giant in a trinary system A floating station in the atmosphere of a gas giant 3 An artificial world (ringworld. It’s an excellent hiding place for those fleeing tyranny. No one will talk about it. Dyson sphere. cost History 0 Brand new and defensive 1 Hundreds of years of directed study A series of apparently useless breakthroughs 2 A thousand years of combat. The Manichaean Arm The Manichaean arm is an industrial powerhouse that provides goods and energy to the galaxy. No one can talk about it.) A natural world but an artificial star 4 Just an orbiting computer station and a vast virtual world to plug into. &c.5.

5. Law These worlds are organized around freedom rath- er than order..5. but they do exist. finding the excitement and novelty of the human method to their tastes. Indus- try is booming and there are constant refinements on all classic designs of ships and automation available. Species This arm is the most cosmopolitan space apart from the Hub—all species find a home here and none really dominate. Mysticism 6-89 This arm is not known for its mystical features. but there is also a sprawling Aukumi empire and other smaller coalitions. though. 6. but humans are relatively ephemeral and the other species that make their homes here have done so deliberately.1. 6. but this is rare and so mystical artifacts are . Even in these empires. 6.3. Technology As with species. Governments come and go rapidly.. There are a few human empires. Humanity emerged here and the species is so pro- lific and aggressive that it permeates the arm.imity to civilized regions. Humans are not natural mystics but there are historical examples of great human masters. It is rare to find a completely rural world here—even the most ascetic farm colony will still use automation though they may pay extra to disguise it as biological.5. there are many species. where revolutions are carefully scheduled and accompanied by appropriate bloodshed and then a month-long celebration.2. 6.5. This diversity may explain the arm’s re- sistance to hegemonic infiltrations—a hegemony that specializes will eventually find its targets exhausted.4. Holdouts from the Mifir Re- bellion are said to be rebuilding their military here somewhere and the remnants of the Ma Schism now form one of the great trade unions. There are a few Shamayan worlds.. Not to say that a more adapative one is impossible. the byword here is diversity.

Shit! The world is a factory and it’s on strike. There is a lot of folk-mysticism. though.5. Some claim this is deception. there are only a very few worlds where psychics are banned or.5. Cool! This factory seems to be doing what it wants. This may partly explain the folk-mysticism phenomenon—it’s more acceptable on many worlds to claim mystical ability when in fact the source is psychic.5. 6. cost Culture 0 Individualistic 1 Tolerated crime and occasional gunfire Mandatory weapons 2 The Industry owner rules with an iron fist The unions rule with an iron fist 3 Everyone’s plugged into the latest entertainment 9 0 Everyone’s part of the latest entertainment 6- 4 The War is just part of how this whole thing works .6. but in much of the arm there is distrust. 6. That said. Psychics Psychics are as common here as anywhere. hunted and killed. worse. which combines real but ill-examined mysticism with mis-labeled psychic effects and occasionally physical effects as well. rare and ancient and mystical industries are virtually unknown. Generating Manichaean worlds cost Trouble 0 A competitor is getting out of hand 1 Trade disrupted by a nearby war A nearby war is an opportunity for trade A trade-war is damaging weapons sales 2 Ecologists threaten to shut us down Ecologists were right and everything is going to shit 3 There’s a hot war going on There’s a cold war and everyon has world-ending weapons 4 This factory seems to be doing what it wants.

one far 1 Three close. one far 2 Two very close. cities. airless rock hurtling through the interstellar void An enormous spacecraft with its own sun cost History 0 One species has dominated here but others are coming in fast 1 Many years of diversity A million years of implausibly balanced diversity 2 A new colony So new it’s in the process of being colonized 3 Built on the ruins of an extinct human colony Built from the ruins of an extinct Aaru colony 4 Thousands of years of industry and industrial espionage Six megacorportations and everyone is a spy cost Proximity 0 One close. cost Environment 0 A lovely world nearly ruined by industry 1 A lovely world nearly ruined by warfare A war with the environment 2 A world that balances industry. one very close. one far 4 One distant 6. two close. The Orphean Arm The Orphean arm is sparsely populated by the usu- al organic races as many of its stars are cool brown 6-91 dwarfs and there are few worlds that can sustain life. Between these .6. one distant 3 Four close. and the wilds A false balance that is slowly ruining cities A false balance that is slowly ruining industry 3 A ring of factories around a star A world factory and orbital wildernesses 4 A sunless. The cultures that are here enjoy long-lived civiliza- tions that spread over great distances.

6. 6.2. There are few trade routes that link these two different but overlap- ping cultures. and you will find ancient powerful technologies here that are now considered quaint. They do not really invent on their own. There are. a vast number of uninhabit- able worlds—worlds that circle dead suns or worlds that speed through the dark without attendant suns at all—and the Orpheani prefer these. There are many worlds in the arm where connec- tions between Dreamers and other species are facili- tated. but also tradition. The Orpheani man- 2 ufacture technology that was gifted to them by the 6. the largest of all the species-specific empires.9 Rescue.6. and these are the worlds one normally vis- its. Practicality is the chief concern rather than luxury. . barely hanging on at the end of tortuous trade routes. the long gone species that lifted them from their strange dreaming wildness eons past. Technology Technology is stagnant and strange here. The Orphean space is a quiet place permated by the Dreamers. they inhabit worlds that normal life forms cannot tolerate. Species This arm is dominated by the Orpheani but a visi- tor probably wouldn’t know it: the few worlds that are habitable by organics are populated by all species equally. The Orphean arm is dense with relics and places that facilitate mystical physics. but the transactions that go on here are eso- teric and opaque to most. Because the Dreamers are not organic—their na- ture is incompletely understood—and because they are atechnological. however. Habitable worlds are sometimes desperate.6.1. organic civilizations lies the Orpheani. Their crystalline cities spar- kle over myriad worlds that none visit and they ply the spacelanes using ill-understood mystical drives. though whether this is because of the lack of more typical life forms or because the strange culture of the Dreamers has cre- ated and forgotten them is not known.

6. 6. Researchers invariably come to the Orpheanic Arm for insight. Legal systems are often religious.6.6.6. but they are not on the maps. Some may still exist. most of which have unknown function.5.6. perpetuating ancient rules that have their roots in the needs of the original settlers. but these worlds are not designed for visitors and so the mystic remains to some extent ar- cane. Mysticism This arm is littered with mystical nodes. Generating Orpheanic worlds cost Trouble 0 Friction between the Orpheani and the others 1 A mystic node has lost its power A mystic node is overloading 2 A corporeal world has generated a powerful mystic node The Orpheani are fighting to take a corporeal world 3 The Orpheani need you out by noon Friday The Orpheani are all leaving by the end of the week 6-93 The Orpheani need all the air for something 4 A Horror is being formed by crazed Orpheani mystics A non-corporeal virus is hegemonizing Orpheans . self-reliant ancient pockets of bigotry. 6. The Orpheani settle near these places since they are attuned to the over- lapping dimensions that make mystical physics work. Law Most worlds here are organized along strongly tra- ditional lines.3.4. not because secrets are being deliberately kept but because the keepers are naturally isolated and have no particular interest in sharing. 6. Psychics There is no stigma against the psychic in this arm — the dreamers use various mind-to-mind techniques in their everyday lives and so any culture with such a stigma would long ago have found itself totally isolat- ed (rather than just nearly isolated as they are now).6.

9 A million years of peace between only Dreamers and Au- kumi . everyone else is recent 1 Orpheani mostly left when corporeals arrived Orpheani are in the process of leaving 2 Only corporeal species have ever lived here. just space where the Orpheani congregate A radio signal and three Orpheani waiting cost History 0 Orpheani have been here forever. probably There are Orpheani ruins a million years old 3 Corporeals wrested the world from the Orpheani by force Ownership is taken violently every few years 4 4 A million years of peace between only Dreamers and Aaru 6. cost Culture 0 Quiet and meditative 1 Rich intellectual exchanges between regular species and Dreamers A strange economy in mystical works 2 Dreamers almost never come here Dreamers are forbidden Dreamers die here 3 Only Dreamers live here Organic species are forbidden Organic species die here 4 Corporeals are manipulated and studied by an invisible Dreamer class Corporeals serve as bodies for insane Dreamers cost Environment 0 Crystal cities surrounded by tamed wilderness 1 Vast crystal cities and tiny parks Vast crystal parks and small organic enclaves 2 A wilderness below and crystal cities in the air A wilderness littered with the remains of fallen cities 3 A network of diamond asteroids A planet-sized cut diamond Most resources carefully sorted by element 4 Nothing at all.

cost Proximity 0 One close. sometimes by choice and sometimes by force. seldom make sense. and often refuse to talk in terms of concrete objectives or schedules. It is suspected that the Tiants themselves no longer know how it works ei- ther. as few un- derstand the complex feedback systems that make peace an emergent property.1. two close. The Tiant control the largest of these empires. one far 4 One distant 6. however. The ancient legacy of wealth throughout their governments allows this to contin- ue unabated.7. that seems to actually work—the Tianen arm has the best record for sustained peace of any region of space. 6-95 6. one distant 3 Three close. The Tianen Arm The Tianen arm has many vibrant cultures. they are an an- cient organization with a strong culture of tolerance. Species The Tianen arm is dominated by the Tiants—they are on almost every planet that will support their bi- . The laws. but their psychic shamans can focus their intu- ition to extend the legal construct to accomodate the constant change that is essential to evolving societ- ies. pursuing seem- ingly random fields of study in all three physical sys- tems. The Tiants are playful intellectuals. Those who have researched the legal system have never been able to find a way to simplify it and still get the same results. They have created an elaborate system of laws that govern most of the arm. one very close.7. one far 1 Two close. The Tianen Arm is a place of ancient incompre- hensible complexities. but there are many theories that attempt to find the generalizations that will allow this to happen. one far 2 Two very close.

Many Tiant univer- sities are dedicated to psychic research and. though . Because of this. Despite objective demonstra- tion of mystical arts. 6. ology and a fair number that won’t.7. Even so. Technology Technology advances in unusual directions. Mysticism Mysticism is scorned.4.7. Tiant attention span (not individuals but whole societies) is short and it’s rare for a project to target a particu- lar problem but rather solve whatever’s interesting (or fashionable) this week. It’s not oppressive and it’s not especially bureaucratic.7. 6.7. They might regulate the knots that are acceptable in garment-securing.2. You can find anything you need here but the advanced technologies are of dubious utility unless the fashionable problem is also useful to you.5. Non-Tiant governments are eager to place researchers in these programs in order to leverage this to jump-start more “serious” projects. If you’re a universe-reknowned mystic. Law Law in Tiant space is very hard to understand and quite fluid.9 Psychics are very popular. often achieving fame on the inter-stellar talk show circuit. It is prudent to carry modular or peace-bondable weapons in case they happen to be illegal this week. you won’t get a great reception here. Later stimulant consumption is mandatory in public places.3. 6. the arm is less cosmopolitan than most—not every- one is willing to live under the elaborate laws that keep the peace. 6 6. Mur- der might be legal this week but only of middle-man- agers. the Shamayans are eager to study the legal framework and have established em- bassies in Tiant space that can best be described as social research stations. Psychics 6. Tiants generally think of them as silly and not part of the greater wonder that is the universe. just inconsistent and inconstant.

fashion designer camps. lawyers working on it Aukumi envoys have showed up to collect their continent 4 Black hole generators are free this week The ban on disintegrators expires next week and people are stocking up cost Culture 0 Brisk and cosmopolitan 1 Cut-throat legal shenanigans Literally cut-throat legal shenanigans 2 Countries are now being divided by birthstone not region Starkly divided into separate. . Generating Tianen worlds cost Trouble 0 The legal system here is out of hand 1 The fashion industry is crashing The legal industry is crashing The jewelry industry is being made illegal 2 Two rival fashion designers are in a legal shooting war Six legal firms are in an illegal shooting war Murder is legal on a trial basis in the park 3 World was accidentally sold to the Shamayans World may have been made illegal. Pick a side. 4 Scientists are testing a prototype teleporter on strangers 6-97 Tiants made everyone else illegal and you need to be out by Sunday. 6. 3 The Aaru are world rulers on a technicality The next leader is being decided by game show Tiants made themselves illegal by accident and are all leav- ing.6.their topics of study can be esoteric (they hold all of the Knobble Psionic Prizes in Spoon Bending for the last 800 years) they are breaking new ground. bigoted.7. It’s typical for researchers to survey Tiant universities for ideas and take them home to engineer into products that sell.

cost Environment 0 Towering metropoli surrounded by factory parks 1 A small but busy city on a wild world A small but busy city on a dead world A small but busy city in the ruins of an older city 2 A single mountain hollowed out as a vast wind instrument All wildlife is tuned to growl. one far 1 Three close. tweet. mostly empty desert Ten thousand spacecraft that don’t work any more. one distant 3 Four close. jury rigged together. The Aukumean Arm 9 The Aukumean arm can only be described as culti- 6- vated. two close. Sometime in the very distant past nearly every star with a suitable spectrum was seeded with life. .8. 4 Small bubbles of air in a vast iron airless world Small towns surrounded by lush wilderness cost History 0 Been like this since the beginning of recorded history 1 Installed exactly like this six months ago Built in ten years to fulfill a contractual obligation Originally designed on a bet 2 A corporate experiment A set of corporations designed this as a monopoly 3 A scientific experiment An illegal and unfunded scientific experiment 4 World was moved to escape a hegemonic plague World was built as a fortress agains hegemonic plague cost Proximity 0 One close. one far 2 Two very close. one very close. trumpet in harmony An airless rock filled with glittering structures and alien mu- sic 3 Someone elses ring world. one far 4 One distant 8 6.

the percentage of worlds that are livable without supporting technology is enormous compared to other arms. 6. lush world-rich places.8. though. Species Many species call the Aukumean arm home. Many other species in the arm build in unobtrusive ways to avoid chang- ing the nature of the Ursan worlds. What did limit their expansion was the diversity of existing life on these worlds and the Aukumi’s disinterest in sup- planting—or even disturbing—those beings.most of it from a common stock. 6-99 6. The Aukumi often fall into this category though in fact it’s as much a re- sult of their bodies as anything else—they really don’t need shelter over a wide range of conditions and so they don’t bother building them. The arm is rich in rare materials and has gone to war over them. Whole worlds have been lost in these wars and some systems are nothing but rings of rubble around their stars.8. it is much more complex than that. but still with an underlying com- monality. Consequently there has been a reduced drive to advance natural technology over the millenia. so now there is the wild diversity one would expect. And thus this contradiction of destroyed worlds.2. Technology The Aukumi are not especially interested in technol- ogy but they do have a history of precision breeding .1. All major species have their place here and so do myriad other species that are less frequently seen elsewhere in the galaxy. More importantly. Tensions remain high throughout. That was billions of years ago. but the Aukumi dominate. and encroaching heavy ex- ploitation. So many of these worlds are immensely fertile and in exactly the right way to sup- port the Aukumi that their expansion was never hin- dered by a lack of worlds to choose from. While Aukumean factions fought each other over these resources. There are many worlds that refuse—or simply don’t bother with—convenience technology.

8. both natural and artificial. 6. the Aukumi see as both expedient and humane.3. Generating Aukumean worlds cost Trouble 0 Out of touch with the galaxy 1 Being exploited by a Corporation Secretly exploiting a Corporation 2 Immigrating species are upsetting the calm balance Aukumi experiments are upsetting the calm balance 3 An invading species is trying to take the place by force A foreign wildlife species is destroying the environment 0 4 There is nothing more to learn here and it’s time to move 10 The central experiment is being dismantled as too danger- 6- ous . It doesn’t make a lot of sense and not considered to be a real physics.8. and the Aukumi do not shy away from a just war (in fact they quite enjoy combat. 6.6. Law Law in the Aukumi arm is diverse but there is an un- derlying theme that is rarely contradicted: the rights of the natives supercede the rights of any others.5. it is typical for the op- position to face crafted biological weapons.8. 6. They prefer im- ported artifacts and their own biological technologies. programs. There are species with powerful psychic skills and technologies. but are only in- terested in willing opponents). 6. Psychics Psychic technology is neither feared nor regulated as the Aukumi view it with amusement. but their extent is minor. Weapons that most other species would consider horrendous.8. Mysti- cal technologies are accepted and integrated. Mysticism Research is advanced in as so many arcane sites are well preserved by the general philosophy of colonisa- tion and exploitation fostered by the Aukumi. In war.4.

older station cost History 0 Established so long ago many believe this is the Aukumi home world 1 No one knows or cares how long we’ve been here All historical information was destroyed 2 A research project from nearby A recent colony from a neighbouring world 3 Constructed on a bet a long time ago 6-101 Won in a gambling game a long time ago 4 The result of a harrowing Horror eradication project The result of a successful Horror conversion project .cost Culture 0 Contemplative and pastoral 1 Desperately academic Lucratively academic Obsessively academic 2 Tiant influence has exposed a legal mysticism Pursuing a new mysticism about economic exchange 3 Unusually tolerant of slavery Fabricants are all free The elderly are deported to the Rim 4 Laws about environment are obscure and easy to break Exceeding noise laws carries steep penalties Contemplative and pastoral or face the penalty of death cost Environment 0 Huge cities integrated with the local flora 1 Thousands of tiny villages in harmony with the wilderness A wilderness that is a city A ring of rubble that used to be a world 2 Underground cities avoid disturbing the wilderness Cities built in orbit to protect the evironment 3 An extreme world developed for aesthetic reasons A ring of dust peppered with new structures A rich vacuum biome forces restrictions on use of orbit 4 A research station that orbits a pristine wilderness world A research station that orbits another.

one very close.9. two close.1. Species The Shamayan arm is only peopled by the major species. In addition to these anomalies. 6. It helps that they are enormously intelligent. similar to the neigh- bouring Manichaean arm. This has something to do with the age of the cultures on these worlds—they are all very old indeed as civilizations in this arm tend to last much longer than elsewhere. War happens but rarely on a scale that involves global fatalities. The Shamayan Arm The Shamaya don’t actually dominate the Shama- yan arm. . one far 2 Two very close. Even the most heated boundary or resource disputes are eventually resolved with trade concessions brokered by the Shamaya. one far 4 One distant 6. The arm itself is fairly typical. this arm is also home to the largest 2 number of Fabrication worlds in the galaxy—there 10 are hundreds of worlds here that are entirely peopled 6- by machines.9. so the arm is attributed to them. one far 1 Three close. one distant 3 Four close. There is a structure to civilizations there that is not present elsewhere—most major cultures organize into larg- er scale assemblies that plan for the long term of whole clusters of trading partners. but the civilizations here are unusually long-lived and peaceful. There are no minor species who call an entire world here home (though of course there are many visitors and immigrants). but they originated there (or at least the old- est civilizations in the arm are theirs) and they are im- portant powers in the galaxy. In fact there are relatively few Shamaya but important assemblies have at least one delegate. cost Proximity 0 One close.

Rich and esoteric tech- nologies have developed in each of the three physics and it is perhaps the only place in the galaxy where extensive development progresses in psychic phys- ics. but even on worlds where weaponry is allowed (even encouraged). The laws are not restrictive. 6.9. Psychics Psychics are warmly welcomed in the Shamayan 6-103 arm and will find that there are many organizations dedicated to studying and improving psychic skills.9.5. gross crimes against persons are unusual.3. And of course there are many Shamayan worlds. That doesn’t mean there’s nothing new to learn—mysticism changes over time—but rather that there are always researchers watching and waiting for such changes. 6. Shamayans are more mentors or patrons of other civilizations as they have moved past the need for an established home for their cultures. .9. Almost as if some kind of mind control is at work.4. Most of the arcane sites here have already been found and explored and studied for millennia. A new find in this arm would be a major event. Technology The greatest diversity in technologies exist here as each culture is nudged by the Shamayans (very indi- rectly!) to explore and develop novel methods that best exploit their natural abilities and the features and resources of their worlds. 6. Law Violence is tolerated less in this arm than anywhere else. though perhaps fewer than one might expect.9. 6. Mysticism The Shamayans love mystical physics perhaps in part because the age of their species implies that they may have been present back when mystical forces had greater influence on the world than today.2.

Generating Shamayan worlds cost Trouble 0 A war brewing with an inconsistent academic faction 1 Nothing left to study Study is stalled because of a typographic error 2 Famous celebrity recently moved off-world Famous celebrity recently moved on-world The world leader is now a famous celebrity 3 Critical research is being exploited by a weapons company Dangerously wrong research is being fed to a weapons company 4 They are studying a baby hegemony here They are building a baby hegemony here cost Culture 0 At once studious and hilarious 1 A preference for comic media A preference for tragic media 2 Recently discovered Shakespeare Recently built their own Shakespeare Recently discovered Jane Austin 3 Half the population is secretly observing the other half Half the population is in the entertainment industry 4 A paranoid culture of omnipresent mutual observation A dedication to perfect personal privacy cost Environment 0 Cities built around a great university 1 World carefully divided into a grid of parks and cities World constructed above a global park Money literally grows on trees 2 Underground excavations for storing records Records stores in the DNA of wildlife Wildlife has been moved into orbit 3 A monoculture world with small research outposts 104 A monoculture world with one huge research outpost 6- 4 A world under construction . 6.9.6.

There are many stars here—it’s not a Gulf—but there is a dearth of habitable worlds. one very close. and their shattered planets roam unattached to any sun. Further on the stars might be wrong. The Aarian Arm This arm has been devastated. Those that do exist are only barely so. one far 1 Three close. Even in total vac- . two close. This is no fluke of statistics and stellar evolution: this arm was once burgeoning with life but a war on an incredible scale destroyed nearly everything. scything scimitars of X-rays whipping through space. one distant 3 Four close. All around is death. one far 2 Two very close. possibly forced to nova. one far 4 One distant 6. ra- diating at terrible power levels and lethal frequencies or spinning at nearly lightspeed. radially sym- metrical species that thrive in hostile environments and so this arm is a suitable home. cost History 0 Colonized within the last century 1 Bought from the locals a long time ago Rented from the locals who want it back now 2 A popular diner that became crazy popular A knowledge repository that grew into a wold population Originally a bar on the way to something more interesting that no one remembers any more 3 Just one of many in the franchise One of a kind with a private owner The world is still technically an LLC 4 Constructed by a tailored hegemony Defectaed by a Horror cost Proximity 0 One close. They are an odd. Some stars have been removed.10. Elsewhere stars are intact but the planets are missing. 6-105 Yet the Aaru are here.

and this creates occasional fric- tion between them and the Aaru. This means that no being would bat an eye at carrying almost any kind of weapon—even something that could threaten an entire world—but using it would be in such amazingly bad taste that the locals would kill you. But mostly it’s the Aaru who experiment at scales that defy imag- ination.10. Shamayans stay away typically. There has been little effort to recolonize the Aa- ruian arm. It’s not weaponry but it could be. People come here looking for exactly that but the Aaru don’t like that and it’s best not to piss them off.. but with the environments so thoroughly destroyed it’s far too ex- pensive to launch a project of any useful scale. Only the Dreamers bother.10. 6.4.1. there’s money to be made.2. There’s plenty of value here.3. Technology Technology designed for Aaru is rarely useful: it’s just not for individual use but rather it’s designed to alter the spectral output of stars or re-organize plan- ets. but there are some whose interest in the mystical brings them here be- cause of the potential for new discoveries.. This culture is somewhat opaque so non-Aaru are usually very careful about their choices while visiting.. 6.10. 6. Law The Aaru don’t use laws but they do have a tradi- tional culture that forbids things that other species make illegal.10. 6. Mysticism 6 Mystical locales here are unexploited—the Aaru 10 have no interest as they believe it irrational or in- 6- complete. Species The arm is populated by the Aaru and Orpheani. Still. The individual Aaru has many brains and . uum one might find Aaru science teams coordinating efforts to understand the worlds.

6.6.5. Generally. Psychics The Aaru feel psychic physics is an unexplained part of natural physics and explore it eagerly. Attempts to treat it as an extension of natural science consistently fail. but still they seek a grand unifying theory that will bring it under regular experimental examination.10. Generating Aaruian worlds cost Trouble 0 Another species is being rude 1 A psychic plague is disrupting normal commerce An electromagnetic source makes conversation impossible 2 Someone is taking the entertainment war too seriously Invasive non-Aaru are irresponsible with weapons Someone made a cheap star-buster and now everyone has one 3 The local Experiment is not going well at all Two universities are going to war A Horror under experimentation may get tenure 4 Psionics are dying of a mental plague Everyone is leaving and no one will say why and the psychic channels are completely empty cost Culture 0 Strange and wonderful 1 Disdainful of outsiders Loves outsiders 2 Actively resentful of outsiders Imprison outsiders Murder of outsiders is legal but frowned upon 3 A slaver experiment is being dismantled Ex-slaves have established their own new government 6-107 Aaru have made themselves slaves to another population 4 Worship of Horror ancestors is distressingly common A fear of association with Horrors is cripplingly neurotic .10.so they know this is untrue but nonetheless act as though it is. 6.

Exists solely to maintain a historical record of itself. one distant 3 Four close. one far 4 One distant 6-108 . one far 1 Three close. cost Environment 0 Huge cities surrounded by radioactive wasteland 1 A husk of a world savaged by aeons of war A cratered desert slowly recovering The craters are domed to hold in the air 2 The ground is so polluted that the cities have to fly The ground is so radioactive that all cities are in orbit 3 An idyllic wilderness that is entirely synthetic The wilderness is entirely holographic 4 A deadly wilderness being tolerated out of cultural guilt A wilderness made from old autonomous weapons A beautiful wilderness in the process of being dismantled to make an orbital factory cost History 0 Been here for thousands of generations 1 Won from another Aaru family in a war Stolen from another Aaru family while they weren’t looking 2 Owned by a single ancient Aaru since forever Has changed hands so many times that it’s formalized now 3 Exists solely to study itself Exists solely to fabricate disinformation for another war. one far 2 Two very close. two close. one very close. 4 Constructed by a hegemony to preserve its chrysalis Fabricated from a Horror back in the Disruption Wars cost Proximity 0 One close.

There’s something out there in the Gulf and it’s small. 7.1. You want to travel through the galaxy. So you need to know how travel affects your ship and where you might wind up. That’s unusual. and distant. far. How far can you go? When generating worlds in the universe the referee will have created some linked worlds. Maybe smaller. This constrains the uni- verse from a few million stars to the few dozen that the ref will have the energy to detail. You won’t miss the other million or so. something Kerry9 learned in programming school. But then the mass detector lights up. Moon sized. Travel and adventure We’d been in hyperspace for a week and we were still in it. And it’s travelling about eighty percent of the speed of light. These are very close. So it was already a strange journey. So we drop out of hyperspace with a matching velocity. That’s a school where you get programmed. 7. It’s a slowship on a forever journey through nowhere. That’s really mind-bogglingly strange. And they have great bars. Ships can only travel along links when they are travelling faster than light. The links will have a distance rating. But we were heading across a Gulf and that’s both a long way and a long way through dangerous territory. . Usually a jump lasts a few minutes. You want to discover new things and new conflicts and to do that you have to go to new places. close. The one thing you certainly want to do in a sci- ence fiction space opera. A hundred thousand souls who are forty generations in to a trip that only just started. Maybe an hour.

7. If you travel in hyperspace you use up no resources at all.1. you will use all your supplies.1. You arrive at your destination with the aspect nearly out of everything. You could get from one to another in a month on the Time Track without ever turning the thing on. Very close Very close worlds are close enough to travel with- out a hyperspace drive. Close Close worlds are only close in an astronomical sense.2. sublight. If you do use the hyperdrive. You’d still take generations to travel it with- out a hyperdrive. the travel time is as close to zero as makes no difference If you travel in slowspace. You barely had time to take in a breath.1 1 .1. 0 Travel like this takes no resources. 7. 7. But with one it’s a bit of a doddle. You need a few hours (on the time track) to plot the course with a skill check and then the trip itself takes a few minutes.

1.3. the trip itself takes a few hours. if the time is increased or decreased by more than two steps then you break out of hyperspace early and probably lost.1. interesting could kill you. Then when you flip the hyperspace switch. If your trip is interrupted then you arrive with a crippling consequence on your ship: something’s badly broken. How- ever.7. Travel itself takes a week on the time track and it can be changed with a different (not the same one that was used for plotting the route) skill roll. These zones typically have a capital and some loose political affiliation with each other. If you complete your journey you arrive with a hin- dering consequence on your ship: out of some- thing pretty important. Something interesting is out there. so that needs an afternoon on the time track with a skill check. Far Far worlds take a little time. This means plotting a route through the rim or a gulf and that takes some serious brain power. which is a new cluster of worlds. Make a skill roll on the time track with a base time of a week to pre- pare for travel and then press the big red button. Your referee will have details and may or may not keep them a secret until you arrive. Investigate with appropriate skills if you need the info! You arrive with the aspect low on hyperfuel on your ship.4. You can use aspects to reduce or increase your roll but the ref should also compel you not to bother if you have any aspects indicating an adventurous spirit: there’s a reason why you fell out of hyperspace. 7. 7-111 . Distant Distant worlds are in another arm altogether. Of course. You need to find a safe route over a long chunk of space. Far travel usually takes you to new zone.

Of course the physics of the tool must match the physics of the skill. Can you be followed? When you make a hyperjump you leave all kinds of evidence of your travel and this can be detected by sensors that are attuned to it. which is basically either a ship or a space station. Handle this as with a close world but give the detector a dif- ficulty modifier of -4. When you make a hyperjump to a very close sys- tem. Jumps to close worlds are harder to detect and require an opposed check. Where can you go? 1 1 The referee will use the information about the gal- 7- axy and the Arm you’re playing in to generate a few worlds and link them together. This is instantly detectable by any spacecraft in the vicinity and remains detect- able for months. . Jumps to far worlds are very hard to detect.2. Jumps to distant worlds are undetectable by any known means. you leave a gaping tear in space that points di- rectly to your destination.3. 7. 2 7. it will get dragged with you. If anything other than your ship is within a few thousand meters of you when you jump. The detector needs ap- propriate tools. if you’re using one of the physics skills! The detector can spend shifts as follows: shifts information revealed spent 1 distance travelled 1 direction travelled 1 the size of the ship that jumped 2 the signature of the jumping ship (the detector knows ex- actly which ship jumped) 3 the navigator’s distinctive style (the detector knows exactly who the navigator was that plotted that jump) This magnitude of jump creates some vacuum tur- bulence but won’t drag anyone with you.

elab- orate those worlds and add their links. Now. When a link exits an arm it goes to a new map page that’s in a new arm of the galaxy! Make very close links adjacent circles (as from Al- pha to Beta in the example zone). Determine how many links there are and how long they are. make close links 7-113 . This keeps your map pages a manageable size. When a link exits the “zone” it goes to a new map page. Generate a single world to begin with and draw a circle. Draw a circle at the end of each — those are new worlds. as often as you feel you need. Draw those as lines radiating from your circle.

4. straight lines. This is clear and simple and gives you room to ex- pand. Your final zone map need be no more complex than this. and make far and distant links lines that exit the map but labeled with the arm and zone of the destination. Your association has a purpose and so the ref will push . 4 7. What trouble will you get into? 1 1 The referee will use your association to decide what 7- your initial conflict on this starting world will be.

7-115 . Your routine mission will encounter a monkey wrench. You’ll get bloodied up a little but no one sits around telling sto- ries over drinks about that time they delivered an un- usual package to a strange person and it was all fine. If you are all about rescuing people. Then start add- ing twists that force them to respond creatively. you’ll probably have a load to pick up or drop off. Anyone a wanted sophont? Anyone like to rush into things without thinking? Offer them a fate point to compli- cate their lives. Set up the situation and use the rules to resolve it. We’re here for a good time. this is your whole job: find an in- teresting starting situation that’s consistent with the association and the characters and let the characters narrate how they are dealing with it. Use the rules to figure out whether uncertain actions re- solve for or against the players.against that. The more you try to solve it the hairier things will get. Players? Say yes a lot. you will probably start with a rescue. Then things will start to go wrong. And let the characters brew up their own problems: eye those aspects and look for compels. that’s going to happen. not a long time. If you’re about turn- ing corpses into meat. Use the rules to con- duct combats and chases. well. If you’re about taking tourists on safaris. As the referee. so lean right into adventure.

7.1 1 6 .

blowing up brains with psychic power. 8. 8. What you can do When it’s your turn to go. laser-stabbing. 8. Fighting When fighting you care about where everyone is.2. Repeat. and so on—or you are fighting with starships. how easy it is to hide there. In princi- ple it can handle it all.1. including fighting. shooting.1. Each zone will have a clutter that indicates how much trouble it is to run through it and also. incidentally. What order things happen The referee will pick someone to go first. These are zones. Someone who didn’t go first last time and someone for whom going first is logical.1. 8. choose one of: • Run • Hide . cover. and psy- chically powered robot tanks. range. Each has a subsystem that adds detail to the procedure.3. Where is everyone? The referee will provide a map. pincer movements. knifing. Fighting The Fate system described in the Introduction will get you through a lot of conflict resolution.1. and what you can do in the time allotted to you. It will have areas marked off with boundaries.1. There are two cases: you are either fighting—punch- ing. If you have a stunt that lets you choose initiative order. bring it up. what order things happen. Then a referee-run character (an “NPC” or “Non-Player Character”) will act. But fighting is where we often want to drill down into details like positioning. 8.

the one with my enemy in it. and get +2. There are three zones between me and it. is the droid’s throne room which is clutter 1. You can still move! Take your roll and subtract the clut- ter in your zone. I have Training 2 and justify it by describing how sim- ilar this is to the obstacle courses I ran in the Jinxian Armed Forces. I’m in the woods . Of course in addition to the rolling you might tag an aspect in your personal scope. If you don’t have enough to enter the zone. When you run you roll an appropriate skill (prob- ably Brawn or Training but this is your story!) and spend your shifts to move to another zone. I roll 00+0 for a total of 3. then you can’t. I can get into the cargo bay but I hesitate at the lava. You might tag an aspect in the zone. Each zone subtracts its clutter from your shifts. The last zone. pay a fate point. And then choose one of: • Fight • Shoot • Run some more • Maneuver In these examples we will cover only the very ba- sics of the system. When you hide you roll a skill (Manipulate is a simple option) and add the clutter in your zone. You might use a stunt on your- self or a piece of equipment. Example: I want to close on the bad guy and punch it in the brain cannister. This is how much you can move as though you chose run. You might tag an aspect on a friend to get +2 for their assistance. Whatever shifts you have left 8 at the end is your hide value in the new zone. The adjacent one is a badly maintained cargo compart- ment with clutter 2. or otherwise play the system. The next one is a series of high walk- ways over the lava pit. 8-11 Example: I want to close with the bad guy and knife it in gearbox but it is three zones away. Anyone looking for you needs to beat this value. It’s not actually cluttered but the ref has given it a clutter value of 3 because you just want to be more careful over lava. free tag a consequence on your enemy.

8-119 When you shoot you also performa an opposed roll. Roll skill and the opponent will defend with a skill of their own. If I stay here I have a hide value of 3 + clutter here in the woods which is a total of 6. I move swiftly through the woods into the tall grass and crouch down with hide 3 and wait for an opportunity. Finally its bedchamber is also clutter 1 and that’s where I want to be. When you fight you are in the same zone as your opponent and you are going to smack them with a weapon. Doris de- fends with her Tiantic mental focus (she has Psionics at 3) and gets 0--. which have clutter 3—good cover but not fast moving. I’m at optimum range so no bad news aspect for me! I roll my Brawn of 2 and get -++. Disappointing. I have Manipulate 3 and roll +--+ for a total of . Too risky. just as when fighting. If they haven’t had a .for a terrible total of 0. Example: I’m in the same zone as Doris the Tiant and I slash at her with my psionic sword fist. I could keep going into the house since I have 1 shift left but I’d be next door with a hide value of 1—just the clutter in the room. The difference between rolls is the number of shifts you apply as harm. 3.. Or I could move into the grass at a cost of 2 from my roll (not my hide value!). The only real difference is the rang. If that weapon has an optimum range of 0 then proceed! If it has an optimum range higher than that. Pretty hidey. I actually get two shifts out of that! It gets checked off her psychic track.. That would leave me in the grass with 1 leftover shift and so a hide value of 3 (1 + clutter of 2 in the grass). then it’s basically an improvised club and you get the free-taggable consequence clumsy until you get to a more suitable range. Then there’s an open field with tall grass at clutter 2 and then the bad bots farmhouse which is scrupulously clean at clutter 1. If you choose a skill and the table groans and shakes their heads collectively then you should reconsider the choice. The opponent can use their pre-rolled hide value if they Hid on their turn.and so only wind up with 2.

This ought to be good. that’s 3. the scene—using any skill you like. 8. I roll +--. There is no roll. -1 for the range. And they are hid pretty good. Consequently your 8- ship has the focus. The optimum range for the rifle is 2 but I have Precision 3 so I will take that shot. and apply shifts as harm. Plus my Shoot. I’m shooting at some newb hiding in the tall grass who already rolled a hide of 3. If it’s not. If successful. When you maneuver you are taking some action to place an aspect on something—a zone. that makes it 4. a person. with a hide of 3 so -3 more. Not good enough. take -1 per zone of difference. Fighting with starships Our assumption here is that most fighting in 0 starships is going to be about one ship—yours—fight- 12 ing one or more enemy ships. it turns out. proceed. I get no shifts in and they take no physical stress but the bullet hits very nearby indeed. turn yet they can either roll a skill or use the clutter value of their zone and make no roll. I have Psionics of 1 but it’s worth a shot. Compare. subtract. When you run some more you can move into an adjacent zone regardless of clutter. Count the range to your opponent. Hardly seems worth spending a fate point just to get a free-taggable aspect (which is only worth a fate point anyway) so a little smoke trickles out of my ears and I am done. that aspect is free taggable and has your target as its con- text. Example: I’m taking a shot with my gauss rifle at 3 zones range. If you have a situation where you need to model multiple friendly ships and multiple .for -2 bringing me to -1 shifts. Example: I want to use my energokinesis to set the grass on fire with my brain and hopefully flush out that dingus hiding there. They can do whatever they want in their turn.2. If that range is the optimum range of your weapon. I roll +-+0 for 1. Your target value is always zero.

Apply the correct physics for the clutter: if the fight is zooming through a starship manufacturing station. If you get negative shifts by rolling really badly. the referee can use these to move the enemy ships in . In a cluttered zone shifts available for movement can be spent instead to damage the opponent. At most one ship can be damaged. you’ll want to keenly look forward to our Elysium Flare: The Wargame release. they can be used to move other ships. The number of shifts is the number of places in the reticle that you may move the enemy ship.2. You may not target anything that can’t roll against you (like something stationary).enemy ships. This is the map—it shows where every enemy ship is when looking out the windows of the ship. use natu- 8-121 ral. 8.1. 8.2. In addition to position. 8. Who does what Action takes place in two turns: the player turn and the enemy turn. or escaping.2. Player turn First the pilot will pick an enemy to concentrate on and roll an opposed roll with the preferred piloting skll against the enemy pilot’s skill. But maybe it’s cluttered with psychic wave gener- ators or a ley-line nexus! Use the fiction to guide you. far. If there are extra shifts after placing the enemy. Ebemy ships only shoot. Who goes first Smaller ships go first. Within the player turn are two phases: move and shoot. The zone in which the fight takes place is either cluttered or clear depending on the opening fiction. These shifts cannot be then used for movement: they are gone.3. You can spend 3 of these shifts to move the fight from cluttered to clear or clear to cluttered.2. This zone type takes effect in the next turn. Where is everyone The player characters gets a reticle for their ship. each enemy ship has a range: either close. Break a tie with a die.

You can’t shoot and maneuver. Each firing arc on a ship can have a different gunner. If you stay out of range. so can NPC ships. Defensive rolls can be made by any character in the ship as long as there’s a story for the skill. if the zone is cluttered then they might inflict stress in- stead! Or use them to change the zone type. Enemy ships Enemy ships are NPCs and just as the players’ ships can come in multiple sizes. Enemy ships can be moved to an adjacent reticle window at a cost of 1 shift. for example.4. 2 Enemy ships are only reacted to so they do not 12 have a reticle. Enemy ships can be moved closer or further one position at a cost of 1 shift. And as above. ways that you will greatly dislike. If the players capture one. At escaping range they also get -2. you’ll need 8- to mock up a reticle appropriate to its class and tier! Careful what you potentially give away out there. At close range you get -2. . If no ships are in the arc they may not fire.2. At escaping range you also get -2. The gunner in the player team’s ship then fires at any one target within the firing arc using their pre- ferred skill for ship’s weapons. Ships larger than a cruiser should be treated more like ter- rain: your corvette doesn’t stand a chance against a battleship and it probably won’t notice you anyway. 8. The pilot might not be evading blaster-fire with their Training: maybe the doc is scrambling the enemy pilot’s con- trols with Magic! Characters not directly involved in ship rolls can maneuver to place aspects which can happen during any phase on the player’s turn but only once each in the turn. Enemy ships can be moved from escaping to out of play at a cost of 2 shifts. Enemy On the enemy’s turn the enemy ship may fire weapons with their preferred skill. If the enemy is at close range then attacks are at -2.

Short range fighter
Short range fighters are single or double crew com-
bat vehicles that are capable of operating only at sub-
light speeds. They are generally very maneuverable
and manufactured in large quantities. They are used
to screen larger vehicles from other fighters, for local
reconnaissance, and for planetary landings. Total of
skills of the crew are equal to the tier, so at tier 2 it
might have Precision 1 and Training 1.

Tier 0: pick a physics for each of movement and
shooting.
Tier 1: add incredibly agile
Tier 2: add hotshot pilot and the stunt evasive ac-
tion: the ship never takes natural damage in a clut-
tered zone.
Tier 3: add no one has ever survived against me
and the stunt take 2: whenever in the rear quadrant
of an enemy the ship can take a roll of 2 without roll-

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ing the dice for its attack

Starfighters
Starfighters are small craft fitted with superluminal
drives of some description. They are used in much
the same way as short range fighters except that they
require no carrier to deploy in other star systems. To-
tal of skills of the crew are equal to the tier, so at tier
2 it might have Training 1 and Psionics 1.

Tier 0: pick a physics for each of movement and
shooting.
Tier 1: add crazy fast
Tier 2: add intuitive pilot and the stunt swap a
track: attacks against its primary physics track can in-
stead be marked against a different one.
Tier 3: add no one escapes and the stunt take 2:
whenever in the rear quadrant of an enemy the ship
can take a roll of 2 without rolling the dice for its
positioning.

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Corvettes
Corvettes are small crewed craft fitted with super-
luminal drives. These ships are often used as missile
platforms and self-defending couriers. Crew skills are
equal to the tier, so at tier 2 it will have Training 2 and
Precision 2.

Tier 0: pick a physics for each of movement and
shooting.
Tier 1: add awesome firepower
Tier 2: add special anti-ship weapons and the
stunt extend a track: one extra box in its stress track.
Tier 3: add souped up engines and the stunt mess
with initiative: this ship always goes first in a turn if
it wants to.

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so at tier 2 they may use 4 skill ranks as they choose. Destroyers are the largest non-capital ships. Tier 1: add inescapable sensors Tier 2: add military grade defensive weapons and the stunt long range weapons: attacks at escap- ing range take no penalty. Tier 3: add q-ray blasters and the stunt swap a physics: weapon systems can attack either the prima- ry physics track of the enemy or one other one. Tier 0: pick a physics for each of movement and shooting. They have diverse crews and can distribute double their tier value in skills between systems. 8-126 . Destroyers Destroyers are armed sensor platforms used to de- tect small ships at long distances and engage or direct others to engage them. perhaps having Training 0 and Science 4. They are always superlumi- nal.

They are always superluminal. 8-127 . Tier 0: pick a physics for each of movement and shooting. threatening almost any size of vessel credibly. Tier 3: add deadly training and the stunt extra consequence: the ship has an additional crippling consequence. Cruisers have diverse crews and so can distribute triple their tier value in skills. Cruisers (capital) Cruisers are large weapons platforms that retain high agility and speed in order to operate as block- ade keepers. so at tier 2 they may use 6 skill ranks as they choose. perhaps having Training 2 and Magic 4. Tier 1: add devastating weapons Tier 2: add coordinated attacks and the stunt have a thing: the ship comes with a tier 0 short range fighter.

8-128 .

space 121 Entertainment 54 achievements 58 collateral damage 15 entropy 41. 50 cost 14 gadgets 71 bigots 48 Criminal 54 get permission 46 blowing up brains with psy. See gadgets chic power 117 culture 79 boresight 68 H brawn 49 D harm 17 bud 30 discover 109 hide 118 bullshit 11 discussion 18 homeless children 32 disintegrator 70 human 26 C distance 109 hyperdrive 110 cap 59 distant 114 cargo 68 doddle 110 I Charitable 54 downtime 21 Industrial 55 clear. 43 folk physics 75 B conversation 11 barbette 69 corvette 68 G belief 45. 9. 53 points 12 JB Bell 9 composure 18 points. space 121 droids 27 initiative 52. 117 climate 79 drooling vegetable 70 interesting could kill you 111 clock 17 close 113 . refresh 20 Toph Marshall 9 concede 18 fight 119 consequence 17. Index A clue 14 E Academic 55 clutter 117 Ecology 79 accountants 31 cluttered. 78 adapative hegemony 89 commerce 49 escaping 122 Administrative 54 Commercial 55 evasion 49 advancement 58 compassion 49 Exploratory 54 Ancient 56 compel 19 arms manufacturers 26 as a complication 20 F association 114 as an alternative 20 fail 13 atmosphere 79 as an offer 20 far 114 awesome 52 bad 20 fate 11 Bob Muir 9 stereotype 48 dice 12 Jack Webb 9 complication 13. Cultural 56 gizmo.

117 permission 46 shoot 119 zone link physics shooting 117 close 113 weak 46 slavers (re: fabricants) 28 distant 114 point slowspace 110 far 114 fate. 111. 47 .K pyramid 44. 19 L range 121 laser-stabbing 117 Recognition 66 T links 109 reflective 71 loot 59 refresh 20 tactical. 113. See fight Love 50 online play 20 tag 12 remit 52 free-tagged 12 M reproduction 42 taken out 18 magic 48 Rescue 54 target value 12 make a character 43 resolve some situation 12 The Word 42 maneuver 13. See gadgets manipulation 49 risk 13. for NPCs 60 specification 53 very close 113 Political 54 speed of light 76 0 precision 49 starfighter 68 9-13 Proximity 79 starships 120 psionics 48 start 44 punching 117 stereotype 43. See gadgets organizations 52 self-compel 63 shifts 12 Z P negative 12 zone 12. 120 reticle 121 thingamajig. 53 tier 64 map 117 secret 13 timers 17 mate recreationally 26 robots 27 time track 13 Medical 54 roiling co-bluster 11 tracks 17 method 49 RTFM 48 training 48 Military 53 run 118 trouble 114 mutate 42 run some more 120 twice 12 N S V needs 78 science 48 vacuum turbulence 112 neutrino 85 scope 18 very close 113 NPCs 59 character 50 Von Neumann plague 42 opponent 19 O stereotype 50 W online 20 Secret 55 weak physics 46 opposed roll 12 Security 56 whojamaflip. 52 stunts knifing 117 for things 64 R succeed with style 12.

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