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Author Topic: Sci-Fi game, original universe, GM for player  (Read 611 times)

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Offline PeacethatPowerbringsTopic starter

Sci-Fi game, original universe, GM for player
« on: May 06, 2012, 01:43:35 am »
Basically, I want to run a couple of solo games through my original universe. I've added links to the group version, just as material to look over, along with the setting reference.

The set up would be that, I'd essentially be GMing a story in which a character sets off on an adventure. Now this is more or less like table-top role playing in a sense, in that, instead of each having characters, it would regard your character more like a choose-your-own-adventure style format. As a rule I tend to avoid railroading, so while there will undoubtedly be plot-hooks, it will be up to you if, or how, you follow them or not.

Unlike the group game, I'm not asking for characters of a particular background, and as there will be only one, companions/allies notwithstanding, there aren't really any limits on what you can do with them.

I'm aiming at taking on a couple of these, so drop me a PM if you're interested. I don't know how much interest I'll get, so I'll ask that you come with a character concept in mind if you PM me.

Questions, general setting suggestions, etc, all welcome as well.

- PtPb

Game Links

Interest/Wanted Thread
Game OOC
Character Sheets
In Character Thread

Setting Reference

This section should serve as an outline for the setting in more detail. Although it won't be comprehensive, I'm hoping to address major points, and if any questions arise, I can clarify this section, or add to it, as required.

The year is 440 A.P.
The world is harsh and barren, most of it too extreme to support much recognizable life.
Societies have formed from the small temperate zones, and then, civilizations.
Over all of these, Sovereign reigns from above.

Sovereign Report, year 440, 9th of End March, Korvus City
Factory at Korvus City reports service offline. Source of interruption unknown. Drone workers compromised. Justice advised to dispatch human intervention. Sovereign uplink re-establishment first priority.

Sovereign arbitration withheld, pending resolution of the situation. Outcome appears increasingly negative.

The tenuous strand of life that remains in the cities of the desert is thanks to the factories, and their untiring robotic workforce, the drones. It is only when the best have already failed that a bounty is set, not for a person, but on a task. Save the city, save yourself. This isn't just what it seems, however. It is not merely a malfunction, but a design. This mystery, can change people, forge a team out of individuals. It might even lead to places nobody thought possible. Across the desert, out into the world, and to Sovereign, perhaps, but who knows?

As a brief introduction, this is a campaign setting that I've created, and I'll be GMing a story through, if there is enough interest. It does have sci-fi elements, though there is a lot of variety in this setting, ranging from fairly harsh, and almost post-apocalyptic settlements, to apparently idyllic cities. The story will depend greatly on the characters, and players involved. I'm quite happy to answer questions, so feel free to PM me, or post here with questions. I'll attempt to provide some background on the setting, and then a bit of information on the system I'll be using.

The setting is an extremely large desert world, populated by a variety of cities. The planet does have water bodies, though its oceans, and small seas cover little of the surface, comparatively. The technological level of these cities is known to be extremely diverse. At some point in the past, at least 440 years prior to the current date, many nations had emerged and were challenging each other in increasingly dangerous wars. The population at this time is known to have been much greater than it is now. From this conflict, several superpowers emerged, all of which entered an arms race. In some way, these parties all set above them, figuratively, and literally, the orbiting Sovereign. Sovereign is a network of orbiting satellites. This automated network became the ultimate force. At the time, drone warfare was the standard, with warfare claiming less lives than ever, Sovereign essentially co-opted the entire system. Sovereign was capable of linking with, and controlling, any deployed drone, and deploying weapons and drones of its own.

Between that time, and now, the world has changed greatly. Now, societies are organized using Sovereign as a tool. Cities are self-sufficient, usually isolated from the outside, so that most citizens never leave the place of their birth. Less advanced settlements eke out more meager existences. Inside cities, policing is done by a special class of citizen. All societies which make use of Sovereign, have Justices, which use a law system common among them. Sovereign provides the force for judgements made by Justices, and monitors these societies constantly. Settlements outside of Sovereign's operating zone, which do not use it, are organized in their own ways. These societies continue to exist because of their dislike of Sovereign, either because they dislike the concept, or the necessity of using its system of law.

The third kind of settlement which exists is one that actively opposes Sovereign. Sovereign's original purpose is still in effect, as it effectively eliminates any drones, or autonomous robots that it does not control. With the relatively low population in any individual settlement, this rule, the only one enforced outside of Sovereign's cities, ensures that life is very difficult for those not inside those cities. Without drones, even agricultural, and industrial ones, which those cities have, thanks to Sovereign, resources are very limited. Some settlements make use of old technology to shield themselves from Sovereign. These settlements promise a moderately comfortable living, without Sovereign's law. These settlements exist because Sovereign's coverage of the planet is not complete. Furthermore, in zones which have effectively escaped Sovereign, war has emerged once more.

Korvus City

This is the opening city for the characters, and one under the control of Sovereign. The city makes extensive use of drones, though its overall level of technology is low for cities, it nonetheless maintains a high standard of living for its citizens. The city has approximated 300,000 people, all of whom live in its three massive towers. The city itself is fairly idyllic inside, being sealed off from the harsh desert outside, the interior is comfortable, clean, and orderly thanks to the city's twelve Justices, and the fairly small police force of about a 200. Most jobs are in the service industry, wealth is more or less evenly distributed. Art and music are common professions, while more labour intensive jobs maintaining the city's infrastructure, engineers, doctors, computer technicians, are among the most wealthy of its citizens.

The majority of the population remains inside the city for their entire life, except for rare times during the year when an outdoor stroll might be reasonable. Korvus City is, however, quite some distance away from its main source of resources, the drone-run factory some ten miles from the city produces food, mines for ore, and produces textiles, all to be shipped back to the city. The most dangerous job in Korvus city is left up to Runners. Essentially soldiers, they escourt engineers, or technicians, even sometimes mechanics, to and from the factory when a problem arises with the drones, or the machinery. Given the prevalence of desert creatures small and large, this job pays extremely well, but is rarely done for long by a consistent group.

Although in some places the means for producing new tools and even drones exist, Korvus city is relegated to trading for replacements or reusing, and refurbishing old technology. Modifications to one's body are common, though more extreme replacements, like eyes, or limbs are very expensive.

The records of the city only detail the surrounding terrain as far as a hundred miles in all directions. The nearest known settlement is a small camp on the edge of the nearest low mountain range to the north. The nearest city is supposedly somewhere beyond that, but travel is rare, and when traders do arrive, the cost for information is usually much higher than that of the goods.


The history of the world includes very little concentration on looking outward, though the pre-sovereign civilizations were clearly capable of putting satellites in orbit. The planet has no real name aside from "earth" or "the world." The main desert, located along a wide swath of the planet with the equator at its center. This desert is called Coros. The largest ocean body is the Lonn Sea. The Lonn Sea's widest point sits above the equator, making the easiest crossing in the south.

The desert is punctuated by small rocky hills, as well as larger rocky mountain ranges. Most larger mountin ranges tend to be focuses to the north and south of the desert proper. Most of the temperate zones are located between the poles and the mountains. The poles are cold, though the lack of moisture makes snow a rarity, and these cold regions are essentially wastelands of ice and stone. Most of the the large lakes and rivers are trapped in, and run inside the mountain ranges. The planet is extremely rich in metals but scarce of many other elements.

The failure of the systems which kept cities and settlements safe from the desert in pre-sovereign times has left much of those cities to be reclaimed by the desert. In many places, cities have a buried older ground-level section surrounding them. Many power-generation stations also disappeared over time, as their collection arrays were covered by sand, and fell into disrepair. The extent to which the planet had be made habitable by pre-sovereign civilizations is unknown, but assumed to be much greater than now exists.

A few remanants of pre-sovereign war still exist in the form of obvious landmarks. The two most obvious of these are the burnt plain, and the glass lake. The burnt plain is a swath of formerly temperate land which remains harsh an uninhabitable, more so even than the desert. Its land is hard stone, and punctuated by black stone spikes which all curve toward the mountains, and which all appear to be burnt, especially against the lighter stone of the mountains. The glass lake is massive crater in the desert, the inside of which is covered in a rough bowl of glass. Water tends to gather inside of it, and it is nearly full year round. Although created sometime before Sovereign, the lake remains uncovered, thanks to its relatively high elevation, though it now has a sandy lake-bed, the glass is still visible.

General Information Reference
General Information


Clean energy technologies were the standard early on in the history of technological development. Although some fuels were used their variety and availability made their abandonment necessary and other forms of power generation arose. Fission reactors were the standard before more advanced means of collecting solar energy, and of more effective means of transmitting collected energy. In the current state, many settlements outside of Sovereign's control use fission reactors once more. Cities tend to rely on their original means of energy generation, though a few have augmented this since, depending on their ability to fabricate new collection panels for sunlight. The scarcity of material for fission reactors tends to promote some local combat among settlements using this method, and quite often, a loss of power means death, as power is the minimum requirement for running the systems used to grow hydroponic crops.

Cities are usually the most advanced remaining parts of pre-Sovereign world. Usually built upward, they can range from a few thousand to a few million inhabitants. Cites are usually run, and ordered by Justices. These are the eyes of the law, serving to provide evidence and judgements to Sovereign. Policing is done by Sovereign, despite the existence of a police force under the Justices, Sovereign serves both to punish criminals, and to protect the rights of civilians. On those instances when Justices have attempted to exert more authority over the population than allowed for, they are punished as swiftly, and usually more harshly, than common criminals. Justices communicate with Sovereign with a specialized form of terminal, which is implanted along their forearm. These terminals are limited in number, cities can become lawless, and have, due to a complete loss of working terminals.

Most vehicles are ground-based, relying on wheeled or hovering movement to cross the sands, and other terrains. There are new vehicles, though most remain restored relics of pre-Sovereign years. Vehicles range from single-occupant cars, usually hovering, to mass-transport buses, and industrial vehicles. As hovering requires more power, these vehicles have fallen mostly out of use. Most vehicles are readapted for onboard power collection, to allow them to extend their normal range greatly, and with daylight rests, indefinately.

Lighter than air ships still exist, some of which are still in the sky, assumed to be kept on course automatically. No cities remain with an intact dock for one of these vessels.

The most common use for hovering, are nomadic settlements. Looking something like moving islands, these settlements are seen very rarely, but tend to be considered as the highest achievement of technology among settlements, as these settlements generate their own power, and manage to sustain themselves without any of the infrastructure which remains for the cities.
Clothing, Armor, and Protection
Clothing, Armor, and Protection

Clothing within cities is generally fashionable, and follows individual tastes. Made from natural textiles created in factories, this clothing is not useful for survival, but comes in almost any variety of colour and texture.

Armor can be physically hard, provide a more advanced more of energy field, or function to enhance individual abilities. Armor of the latter varieties is well-maintained though it becomes rarer as its complexity increases. Armor factories still exist in some places, which provide local cities with greatly enhanced protection. Furthermore, some types of armor are designed to greatly extend survival in extreme enviroments, and are invaluable to those travelling long distances.

Most of the planet's cities are in ruins, and great deal of what was formerly part of current cities is lost to the desert. Savenging is profitable, though dangerous. Savengers provide for a lot of the more advanced technology available, and are usually rich, if still living.

Ruins are generally defined as being structures which are no longer operational, a distinct from cities, which, even abandoned, might remain functional. As such, most ruins are just structures, in some cases, inhabited ones.

Broken Sword - One of the more famous ruins, and one of the very few inhabited. The remains of an extremely tall tower which was once the central structure of a city. The technology long since looted, or destroyed by exposure. The tower is broken, the top-most three-quarters lying flat against the ground. The break is diagonal, which allowed the tower to remain intact, for the most part, in two sections, the upright tower, and the rest of the structure which lies at its base, pointing outward. Although inhabited, it functions more as a trading post than a permanent settlement. The structure provides shelter from the desert, and the long section along the ground acts as a kind of bazaar, housing hundreds of trading stalls. Years of exposure to the elements in the compromised tower has left the technology built into it non-functional, and it has since been stripped for parts. Broken Sword still has part of a functional factory, which produces textiles only, and much of the structure is covered by tent-like shades, keeping out the sun, and wind. The post at Broken Sword is not well known, except to trading caravans who travel the desert widely, despite the fame of the ruin itself. The trading colony is relatively young, but attracts people nonetheless, as it has no particular policies against trading with marauders, or other criminals, and has gained a reputation among those who know of it, for a sort of ordered lawlessness. There aren't any laws or courts, but traders tend to keep their own protection, and serious fights generally end up clearing the way for more competition.

The Guns - Definitely the most famous of all ruins, The Guns are inhabited by a relatively insular community. The Guns are a set of seven massive artillery pieces, set up inside an tent city. The base is cut into the top of a rock outcropping the desert, and is one of the few truly new pieces of architecture known of. Only one of the guns remains unfinished, with the other six forming a battery with an unknown theoretical range. The guns are new construction as well. Although both the camp, and the guns are new, the location is nonetheless a ruin, because it houses a dome, which once served as an observatory. A group called the Iron March, settled there, abandoning long years of semi-nomadic raiding. The reason for The Guns being set up, or why that particular spot was chosen is a mystery, but it has become the subject of increasing speculation as the final gun reaches completion.

Commerce, Currency
Commerce, Currency

Commerce is conducted mostly through bartering. Within cities, offices exist to convert goods into city-currency. Currency is not useful outside of the cities, and so, valuable stones are a common form of item to use outside of a city. Stones are useful for many forms of technology though there is some risk that one's stones might not be as valuable in other places if one travels widely. In general stones are cut to "C" which is currency size, and one C is generally translated as 100 credits in cities which use that currency standard. C is a variable size for different gems, but all are cut to "C."
Local Stellar Bodies
Local Stellar Bodies

The planet orbits a yellow dwarf star, and has two moons. These moons are Verda and Eria. Verda is by far the largest in the sky, though they are relatively the same size, Verda is closer to the planet, while Eria is further away. Verda has a relatively slow orbit, while Eria is much quicker. Verda orbits the planet fully once every sixty days, while Eria takes only ten.

The closest visible planet is Niera a planet which is visible for four days at a time, four times a year. Being in the same orbital path, Niera appears almost the same size as Eria in the sky when it is closest, but it is considerably further away. Niera has a blue tint, unlike the moons which are white.

Modifications to one's body are difficult to come by, but generally enhance personal abilities greatly. These modificiations can be anywhere from minor, as an eye, or major, as a limb. Wrist terminals are considered modifications, but this one is common. Other modifications are less so, and tend to be frowned upon in city life. Modifications are of limited quantity and need to be re-used. Only a very few cities have new modifications, but even these are very rare, and produce new units slowly. Their cost is extreme, and happening across one can be a great find.

Thanks to more extensive modifications, some modified persons recieve extraordianry lifespan and resilience while their parts continue to operate. The active replacement of organs, and limbs has made the few wishing to attempt it social pariahs even in places where modifications are otherwise accepted.

Neural Interface Modification

Directly connecting the mind with computers, and other devices is an uncommon, but well understood process. These connections, attached to to brain stem by surgery, can enable incredible feats of computational mastery, enhancing both the modified person, and their ability to interact with computers. However, this system requires an overload switch, to ensure that the human mind is not traumatized by connection.

As an extension of Neural Interface Modification, a poorly-understood, and somewhat experimental pre-Sovereign technology has re-emerged in the form of complete Neural Adaptation. This is a form of Neural inferface which radically alters the user. Requiring extensive modification and surgery to the brain, as well as the spinal cord, and arms, the NAS (Neural Adaptation System) allows the user to operate powerful magnetic field generators. These generators can act as a shield against attack, and is radically more efficient than any kind of armor in that field. Further, they can allow the user to move and manipulate metal, and fucntion as a directed energy weapon. This modification is so dangerous, and expensive, that it is only known to have been attempted three times. In one case, it resulted in death. The second resulted in extreme madness, and the necessary destruction of the subject. The third was a success, but the subject's identity is unknown.

Less radical forms of the modication do exist, requiring less complete modification, and providing a lesser degree of utility in the end result. It is known that at least two prominent warlords, and one marauder have undergone this less invasive procedure.
Common Knowledge
Common Knowledge Reference

This section is to adress some of the points of common knowledge that characters may, or may not be familiar with, depending on their areas of interest. All of these are well-known, some of them facts, some rumors, but in any case they do not require any particular specialization to be familiar with.


Aerlan City - Rumored to be the largest of the moving settlements. Aerlan City does not travel like the others. It is rumored to move quite widely, but never travels through the desert, instead relegating itself to the ocean. Aerlan City travels between bridge-like ports which allow it to remain away from the shore, and allow it to retreat to safety whenever it needs to. As such, it is one of the few settlements which is safe from raiders, while maintaining a large degree of internal freedom. It is unknown how Aerlan City maintains resources.

Newman Republic - A large area created in a desert basin between an almost complete encirciling ring of low rocky hills, the Newman Republic is the closest place to Korvus City that can't be monitored by Sovereign. The inhabitants of the Republic maintain a local democratic government, and maintain a standard of living through the use of repurposed, and rebuilt drones from elsewhere. Inside the Republic, however, infighting is common, and the freedom to use drones has left them a powerhouse in the region, defensively, as the drones cannot leave the protection of the basin (how this basin is protected is unknown) without being taken over once more by Sovereign, the Republic is safe from invasion, but projects very little force outside of its borders.

Vetten Carrrier - A large mobile settlement, the Vetten Carrier operates in the desert. The closest thing to a battleship operating in the area around the Newman Republic and Korvus City. Its dealings are usually heavily one-sided, and it maintains both a vehicle and mounted-weapon armament which is uniquely powerful in the region. Active opponents of pirates and marauders, the officials of the Vetten Carrier are closer to a para-military organization, and although the Carrier has a civilian population, it is also an extremely well-armed civilian population. The Vetten Carrier is known to have a fleet of inactive combat drones at its disposal. Inactive, they are technically under Sovereign's control, however, the Carrier has been known to use them when inside the borders of a zone outside of Sovereign's control, to great effect.

Market City - Not so much a city as a factory, Market City's above-ground city is mostly destroyed and overtaken by desert. The underground factory still remains, however. Market City was abandoned at some point, but a group of travellers took up residence during one of the planet's more fearsome storms. Finding the factory still intact, and the drones inactive, the travellers re-established the link with Sovereign, by appointing Justices, and started a more permanent settlement. Thanks to a variety of factors, Market City became the second most prominent example of repurposing factory technology, aside from the RIG corporation. By dividing up the factory in living, and working quarters, and limiting the drones in movement and material, they began to create a series of small shops, all based on their own production. Although the drones couldn't be reprogrammed to produce unique items, by controlling what drones had access to what materials, many storeowners managed to produce goods which were of different function or design than the drones were intended to produce. Market City, has, therefore, become a hub for trade, and production. Wholly underground, only the lifts to and from the surface were maintained, and above-ground only a relatively small vehicle depot shows where Market city is. Many trade caravans leave from, and make stops at, Market City.

Daniel Ryan - Industrialist and well-known arms merchant, Daniel Ryan is well know for his absolute amoralist attitude. One of the richest men in the world, Daniel Ryan's name is well known in almost all circles, and the "RIG" stamp on all the products of the Ryan Industrial Group are easy to find anywhere. Although his origins are unknown, what is known is that his wealth and success rely on his personal ownership of a drone-operated factory, and apparently, his control thereof. How Sovereign, which oversees all drone production in factories, factors into this is unknown, though his ability to modify designs speaks of a considerable wealth of technological information either of his own, or of his corporation.

Jean Arne - Well known pirate and marauder, Jean is a butcher and a widely-travelling criminal. Well known to attack even in cities and against enemies who can operate drones. Renowned for swiftness of attack, and retreat, never caught, and supposedly never wounded, Jean Arne is someone to avoid. Several bounties are issued for her capture, in several cities, though given the difficulty of cashing in a bounty even if she were caught, she will likely die before she is put on trial. Jean flies a small high-speed hovering ship, the Nomad. The Nomad is supposedly outfitted with a pair of heavy cannons, and some manner of stealth system.

Wells - A dangerous and enigmatic sniper, familiar name unknown. Wells is known as a contract-killer, and a deadly and efficient one at that. Known as a sniper thanks to his usual MO. He is known for walking great distances across the desert on foot, to avoid his transportation being seen, and firing at extreme range, with patience to match the precise nature of his shots. Considered to be within the law, or at least on the side of right, if only barely, in many places, his usual quarry are criminals, and bandits, though almost any time someone is killed at range, it is attributed to Wells, if the real killer can't be found. Wells appearence is unknown, he wears a heavy survival suit to survive alone in the desert, and never brings his transportation into cities.

Many settlements follow varying and often simple legal systems. This section is meant to overview only the law of Sovereign. Sovereign's law is the only one which can be comprehensively studied since it never changes. Although many consider this to be a fault, in that the law is never modified to suit changing circumstances, it does afford an order and predictability to cities within which this code is used.

Sovereign's legal code is predicated upon only criminal law. Civil matters like contracts, and legal complaints from citizen to citizen are handled criminally, such that only an official may charge a citizen.

Only contracts made in presence of, and recorded by, a Justice are legally valid, breaking a contract that has been made this way is an offence. All others are considered void. However, in most instances, transactions proceed on trust, or with an immediate exchange of goods, and very little intervention is required. Public offers within cities, as those on bounty notices, are regularly recorded, and may be considred an open contract, binding only the offerer if they fail to pay.

Most crimes are covered, assault, murder, theft, kidnapping, destruction of property, fraud, etc. Under Sovereign's laws, the legal age of majority is 16, under this age, all citizens are considered to be under the care of their parents, who are held responsible for their actions, however, before this age, they cannot legally own property and do not have the freedom of movement, so their parents may commit what otherwise would be considered minor crimes, in their parenting.

There are two sections to a criminal proceeding under Sovereign. First, a crime must have taken place. This requires that a reasonable burden of proof be met by the Justice asked to investigate. If the Justice cannot find proof to reasonably establish that a crime has taken place, the evaluation of guilt will not proceed.

The second part, if a crime has taken place, is to establish guilt. Evidence is weighed, by Sovereign, against the possible suspects, and if the liklihood of guilt is over the threshold for doubt, then guilt is established. No judgements are made by a Justice in these matters, they are responsible only for gathering evidence, and taking statements.

Punishments are of three kinds. First, are fines. These can be seizure of property or monetary. Fines may be waged against future earnings if they cannot be paid in full. Second, is exile. This punishment follows from a finding of guilt in the matter of a crime which renders the person effectively anti-social in Sovereign's judgement, crimes like rape, grievous assault, and severe destruction of property fall into this category. Exile removes the guilty party from all Sovereign controlled societies. The final punishment is death. This punishment follows from murder, and is carried out by Sovereign's drones.

Certain crimes can be incepted in progress by police, or defended against by the victim. These are, murder, rape, kidnapping, and greivous assault. However, using a weapon, unathorized, within a city is a charge in itself, and can become a legal mess if reported.

Surveillance within cities, for the benefit of Sovereign's ability to administer law and order usually has very broad coverage. Every doorway is monitored by cameras in both directions, and all public areas have full coverage.

The role of Justices is still quite important. The only punishment for a crime above the level of minor assault, carried out by Justice, is death. However, Justices are therefore allowed far more leniency in thier administration of the powers for which they cannot be punished. Corruption is common, however, since they can only, at best, take private property, even corrupt Justices are considered to be bearable. Justices serve the dual role of assisting in Sovereign's administration of justice, and maintaining local rules, usually, cities will have some specific local regulations, enforced by the power of the Justice for search and seizure. Police are granted the ability to carry out Justices' orders as long as they too, do not overstep the restrictions placed upon Justices.

Although very little concrete information remains about what Sovereign actually is, it remains the object of much concern on the planet's surface. Thanks to its continued operation in administering law and order, as well as control of drone technology the world over, it is still known to be operational, though how its capabilities have decreased, if at all, since its comissioning, is unknown.

Occassionally cults arise which worship Sovereign, though these are usually targeted by marauders, as they often accompany an unjustified faith in Sovereign to provide for their personal security. Sovereign's actions are rarely ever felt outside of the cities which use its administration, however, it does, in fact, intervene under certain circumstance. What the threshold for intervention is, is unknown, however, in the few occasion where armies, even those without drones, have left the safety of protected zones, and moved to attack other settlements, the reprisal was severe. It is assumed that Sovereign still maintains a ban on warfare, though its failure to intervene in marauder and pirate attacks indicates that there is a defintion by which it guages warfare, as opposed to mere criminality.

There is often an assumed connection between Sovereign and those pieces of pre-Sovereign technology which remain in operation. Airships usually fall under this category, as they occasionally change course without warning, and may suddenly take up a new flight-path which can remain unaltered for years.

Claims that Sovereign might have developed consciousness as an emergent property of multiple networked AI cores is unsubstantiated, but a common theory among those who believe Sovereign to be an oppressor.
The Tannhäuser Gate

A legendary location, never referenced in any maps, but made popular by a variety of stories about people who have travelled there. In the legends it is described as being a kind of structure composed of a pair of massive towers, larger than any city. It is described as being in eternal darkness, with only stars visible, in a pitch-black sky. It is spoken of as being a place found only at night, and only unintentionally, as though one can only stumble upon it. Although a few explorers have gone looking for it intentionally, if any ever found it and returned, their stories have not been recorded.

Environment and Animal Life Reference
Environment and Animal Life

Geography and Weather
Geography and Weather

Although most of the planet is an desert wasteland punctuated by rocky hills and some mountain ranges, there do exist some smaller temperate, and even forested zones. The desert is prone to long periods of very little activity, punctuated by powerful sandstorms. The storms come during the storm season, which usually lasts about half the year. During particularly powerful sandstorms, the danger of travelling is so extreme that even well-equipped travellers will avoid leaving the safety of a settlement, even with shelter, a vehicle at rest can be buried under sand and disappear quite easily.

The oceans and seas, though relatively small compared with the landmass, are quite calm. Rivers and streams are usually subterranean, and feed from higher, cooler mountain ranges in temperate zones, to the low-elevation of the oceans and seas.

The planet has a moderate level of volcanic activity, though most of the volcanic regions are uninhabited some temperate regions with standing cities have controlled their local volanic activity with engineered run-off, and geothermal energy generation.
Animal Life
Animal Life

Most large forms of life occupy the small temperate zones, and these zone function as eco-systems. Very few apex predators exist, however those which do are often still extremely dangerous. Most information on these species was lost, and what remains is mostly accumulated by experience, and common knowledge. The most dangerous creatures in the temperate zones are Arkosaurs, and Felin.

Arkosaurs are dominant reptiles with massive crushing jaws, covered entirely in hard armor plates, they inhabit rivers and streams, and lakes, attacking anything which enters the water, although their legs can propel them quite a distanct out of the water, their bulk makes pursuit inviable, and if they don't initially suceed in attack, they will usually relent.

Felin are a flying, and running bird. Mostly keeping to gliding at low-altitude, the Felin are group-hunting predators with large hook-like claws which simultaneously cut and grab, allowing them to carry off, and kill, smaller prey simultaneously, while they generally attack vital spots on larger prey, such as the neck, or legs, searching for major arteries. They have adapted to avoid humans for the most part, but not all of them are accustomed to human presence, and so may remain dangerous.

The desert regions are inhabited mostly by insects. Although not particularly dangerous to humans in general, they may be poisonous, or too numerous to deal with if directly disturbed. Further, their hives create certain problems for travel, as although their hives remain relatively immune from the desert, they collapse quite easily if overburdened from above, if not avoided, they can sink an entire vehicle.

The dominant desert insect is the Sandlords. These social insects  account for most insect life. Being fiercely territorial, and extremely adept builders, their hives can rise above the sands to considerable height, and dig deep enough to access subterranean lakes and rivers. Their intelligence as a group is considerable, allowing them to mimic nearby structures, and even form three-dimensional maps, with which to direct commands to the swarm. Queens are numerous, and although there is always a Empress of a hive, these are replacable by any one of the queens. The Sandlord is seen as useful to travellers for two reasons. First, they have a propensity for finding buried ruins. Sandlords have been known to build into ruins, filling the open halls with ramps, and buildings of their own, and making use of the stability inside to house their queens. Thankfully, most Sandlords tend not to invade the ruins too deeply, preferring to build upward, instead of downward, as sandstorms sometimes leave hives with only the tips of their tallest spires as their new exits. The second benefit of Sandlords are their water-seeking habits. Because their hives require a great deal of water, both for construction and breeding, the quickest way to know where to bore for water is by finding a Sandlord hive. More than a few settlements were created this way, in unlikely locations, because they had previously undiscovered subterranean lakes, indicated by Sandlord presence. Though only rarely encroaching on human activity, Sandlords are dealt with as a pest when they do, the easiest way to deal with them is burial flooding. Unless a Sandlord hive is situated over a ruin, sufficient water can flood its tunnels and destroy its foundations, destroying the hive from the bottom up, by sinking it into its subterranean water source.

The largest creature on the planet, and the dominant sea creature are Baronn. These massive creatures have multiple forms of defence, and massive jaws. Close in size to an airship, these creatures are built from the competitive environment of the ocean. Most animals in the ocean are hunters. Although ocean-floor plants do provide a great deal of nutrition, they are hunted, as remaining alive requires power or speed. Bottom feeding fish are quick, small, and tend to keep moving. The Baronn passively ingest everything they come across by "breathing" ocean water, through wide-gapped jaws, and "exhaling" through a dense set of hard ribs, which trap anything large enough to provide the Baronn food. Having a set of three pairs of side-fins, and a double dorsal fin, with a massive shark-like tail, the Baronn is mostly a smooth blue coloured fish. Though actually a fish, it does tend to swim close to the surface, as it allows marine birds to clean its back, and to expose, and therefore defeat, smaller (but still quite large) predatory fish which sometimes attack its dorsal fins.

Barron are found in almost every large body of water on the planet, but can only migrate in rivers and lakes in their infancy, adults are far too large.

Computers and Personal Technology Reference
Computers and Personal Technology

Holographics provide the standard displays for all computers. Emitters for these displays are extremely efficient, small, and are capable of acting in response to touch, even though they are insubstantial, their emmitters are both projectors, and recievers. Personal versions of computers are usually implanted, in the wrist or forearm, and called 'terminals.' Computing is very powerful, for those with the knowledge to use it, however, most actual data from the pre-Sovereign era, and even early Sovereign years is gone. Cities are run by their own local super-computers, which are in turn governed by Sovereign.

Artificial intelligence is uncommon, but not unknown. Although lacking personalities, and emotions, artificial intelligences are powerful tools for computers capable of running them. Usually, hardware is the limiting factor in artificial intelligence capability, but a small computer, the size of an apple, configured properly, could run an AI many times more powerful in function than a city super-computer. Malfunctions in AI systems are common, and require a great deal of programming and hardware expertise to maintain beyond their normal operational life.

Computers are an ever-present reality. Within cities they do the heavy-lifting of local organization, providing the network for commerce, and communication. Although the actual interface has changed very little in a very long time, even since pre-sovereign times, the underlying architecture was radically different from earlier computers by the year 0 A.P. Computers are built up from the nanometre scale, providing for extreme miniaturization of powerful computers. However, for the storage and computation necessary for larger tasks, like co-ordinating power systems in a city, larger machines usually no larger than a small room located somewhere near the center of a city. Storage hardware comes in the form of clear crystals. These crystals are grown, quite commonly inside of cities, as their creation is automated, and requires no drones. They serve as a form of holographic storage, where data is written in three dimensions inside of the crystal. Crystals are extremely hard, and very resilient when it comes to disruptions of data, and their contents may be recovered even when broken.

The difference between personal (wrist terminal, or portable terminal) and full size terminals tend to differ from so-called full-size terminals only in their ability to read crystals. Full-size terminals have the cradle which can read crystals. Although a wrist terminal’s projector/receiver can identify one layer of data on a crystal, a reader is required for its ability to read on all the levels required for the data storage, and also has the system required to write new data onto a crystal.

Crystals cannot be erased, though if they have remaining storage they can continue to be written on.

Computers are usually accessed on their own terminal displays, or if they have none, by connecting to it with a personal terminal. Computers do not require physical connection to communicate, though physical connections are often faster, and preferable when hacking or modifying programming, as a wireless connection can be terminated by either computer, and this is often the first automated defence against tampering.

AI computers are intelligent to the extent that they can learn and adapt to new non pre-programmed circumstances, without outside input. However, AIs are not sentient, not being able to feel, or even possess self-awareness. Given their rarity, the theory that sentience might develop as a emergent property of multiple AI’s working together, has not been tested.

Medical Reference
Medical Reference
Drugs, Medication

Drugs and Medication

The practice of medical science varies widely among the different groups that inhabit the world. However, most advanced is the medicine of the cities. Inside a city, much of the infrastructure to maintain medical practice still exists, even if much of the knowledge surroundings its function has been lost. Since most of these machines rely on information that is no longer available, diagnostic and treatment technology is not found outside of cities, except when it has been stolen, or removed from one. Advanced synthesizers take basic chemical elements, and convert them into medications for use in medicine. These medications are very rarely associated with side-effects or dependency, except in the cases of extremely severe afflictions which are not easily treated or even understood.

The illicit drug trade persists almost everywhere, with less advanced versions of medical synthesizers used to create inelegant, but powerful, chemicals for recreational, or habitual, use. Within cities, operating a personal synthesizer, and trading in drugs is illegal. However, in general, these crimes go mostly unpunished. Trading Caravans will often supply drugs of more significant potency than can be produced in a personal synthesizer, and although sometimes charged, more often this trade is ignored, for the sake of avoiding the possible loss of business that can come from seeming overly strict toward traders.
Disease, Treatment
Disease and Treatment
Most diseases are easily treated, and cured, inside a city. Most of the difficulty in medical terms comes from being unable to access a city's medical care, or from novel diseases. Some diseases have arisen since the pre-sovereign era, for which no treatments are known. Furthermore, the interdependency of medical treatment on the technology still existing from pre-sovereign years means that very little progress can be made with these systems in the treatment of new diseases.

Most new forms of virus or bacteria are treated with powerful pre-sovereign medications and pose little problem in general for citizens of cities, while quarantines are usually used outside of the cities to prevent epidemics if possible. The worst of the novel diseases are parasitic in nature. Although the likelihood of contracting this type of illness is low, no treatments exist inside of the cities, and usually the only course of treatment must be remedies created by doctors in settlements outside of the cities.
Grey Plague
Grey Plague
A great deal of fear and superstition remains about a particular illness called the grey plague. A novel disease, to which no reference remains from pre-sovereign times. The grey plague is so named because of the effect its contraction has on human pigment. Skin, eyes, and the roots of hair, turn grey over a period of no more than ten days. After this has happened, death follows in one or two days as a result of a sudden shut-down of the central nervous system. Aside from the discolouration of pigment, no other symptoms precede death, leading to its categorization as a kind of walking death. The first known case was inside a city, but the spread was extremely rapid, leading to complete depopulation in under two months. Ornen City has since be repopulated. It was discovered that victims do not spread the disease when deceased, and the method of its transmission remains unknown.

It is the only remaining disease for which the fatality rate is 100%. Two or three outbreaks have occurred since the Ornen City Plague, but usually end in bloodshed, not an epidemic, with a quarantine and fairly rapid movement to eradicate the infected. The other outbreaks all occurred outside of the cities.
Lost Medicine
Lost Medicine
Although the treatment capabilities for most diseases remain intact in the cities, more or less depending on the city in question, much of the medical knowledge and more radical treatments have been lost.

It is known that in pre-sovereign times it was possible to regrow lost limbs, clone and transplant replacement tissue, and blood, radically alter a person's appearance, and to manipulate humans and other animals at the genetic level. All of these capabilities remain lost to current medicine, and the facilities devoted to them inside of cities have been re-purposed, as they could no longer be used for their intended function. Unlike other forms of medicine, these did not seem to have the same level of automation, and therefore, the loss of knowledge in their use has resulted in a complete inability to make use of them in any form.

Military Technology
Military Technology
Active Camouflage/Adaptive Camouflage
Adaptive Camouflage
A form of camouflage designed in the pre-sovereign era, it uses 'tiles' of a square, or hexagonal pattern, to adapt a suit of camouflage to the wearer's surroundings. It takes about a second for the tiles to adjust, and although each tile can only maintain a fairly low-resolution copy of whatever the suit's sensors 'see' (using a camera network of only about six visual sensors) they do so physically, by reorienting the material of the tiles to match colour and texture. This system requires an on-board power supply, but the usage is not significant. The tiles can act as photo-voltaic cells, so that the suit can be adapted to have no active power generation unit, but rely on stored energy instead (the only energy expenditure is to change the tiles from one pattern to another, they require no active power input to maintain their texture).

Although quite rare in itself because of the difficulty of keeping them in working order, depending on how large the tiles are (may be quite small for more complicated, and effective adaptation, or quite large for more general systems (pattern changed rarely, when changing environments), the systems are quite modular. This means that tiles of different sizes and shapes can be plugged into any standard system. Very few settlements manufacture tiles, or other parts of these systems with any regularity. Usually, an order is sent in custom a business that provides on-demand fabrication.
Active Camouflage
Active Camouflage was another pre-sovereign era camouflage development, but has survived the years with much less frequency. As a unified system, a suit of active camouflage armour requires an active power source, and is designed for maximum coverage and stealth. Having large, smooth surfaces, the armour using active camouflage has a few modular pieces, torso, arms, legs, and faceplate.

The function of the armour is provide visually deceptive camouflage to even direct observation. A distributed sensor network, with each sensor being the size of the head of a pin, takes a constant full-coverage visual scan of the environment, and the armour recreates it in crystal clear resolution on the surfaces of the armour. The effect is to make the wearer functionally invisible to the naked eye.

Active Camouflage has a variety of applications, but the bulk required inside the armour to maintain its systems is great enough that Active Camouflage cannot be worn in addition to heavy armour. Further, Active Camouflage armour is usually fitted, to minimize the surface area which is required to be camouflaged. Each suit is profoundly expensive as a result of its rarity, and the requirements to maintain them.

Active Camouflage is normally used in either stealth warfare, or in infiltration. Some cities maintain secret police forces that use this armour, as flexible 'SWAT' and covert action teams.

Being technologically complex, AC armour is vulnerable to disruption. An energy weapon hit will usually overload an entire system, while a physical hit, if it fails to damage the armour enough to cause failure, will usually cause a temporary pattern disruption. In direct sunlight, or in well-lit areas, the suit will often appear to bend the light that passes through it, resulting in odd shadows, and a visible distortion in the field. The most effective application is is low-light conditions. Moving also causes a noticeable distortion effect, though not profound, it can betray the location of an operative that is using Active Camouflage. While remaining stationary, and avoiding direct, or high intensity light, the suit provides a near-flawless camouflage effect. Active Camouflage suits are often combined with Stealth Suit functions.
Stealth Suit
A stealth suit is a armour package designed to be worn under another form of armour. It has the function of disguising the wearer in a variety of ways. Made from a synthetic fibre, the body-suit is woven with a variety of passive measures to avoid detection. This includes an extremely reduced heat signature, eliminating scent (to avoid animal tracking), dampening sounds made by heartbeat, and providing some insulation against cold or hot temperatures to avoid sweating, or shivering.

Along with the body-suit is the mask. A stealth-mask is made of body-suit material, with an added face-mask, which eliminates a significant amount of breathing noise. A solid glass-like eye covering, provides for a full range of vision, but is not shiny or reflective on the outside.
Battlefield Sensors and Optics
Sensors and Optics come in a wide variety. Each one is used to its own effect. Sensors and Optics are fairly common, but as military-grade hardware, their quality is proportional to their price.

Visual Sensor - (Similar to a camera, visual sensors detect light and translate these signals into images. At their worst, they provide human-level vision. At their best, visual sensors can be used to record images many thousands of times more detailed that the human eye can detect, providing for incredible zoom optics. Rifle scopes are usually a visual sensor network that works along a narrow band to provide a higher-than-normal zoom level.

Expanded Spectrum Light Sensor - Any light sensor that detects more than what is in the human range of sight. Includes night-vision by light amplification, thermal vision, and UV vision, among others. Usually a sensor will specialize, but some optics systems do exist to maximize all types of vision, in a select-mode device usually worn as a set of darkened glasses with an attached processing hub wired into armour to accommodate the various modes.

Sonic Sensor - Any sensor designed to record sound, or translate a sonic signal into a visual one. Sensors can be designed to isolate breathing sounds, heartbeat sounds, and a variety of animal calls. This is by far the most common sensor, since it is the one which enables verbal communication by wireless relays, as in the case of locally linked headsets.

Weaponry Reference

Personal Weapons
Personal Weapons

Personal weapons are generally of two types.

The first are rail guns, which fire solid iron projectiles. Given the minaturization of the rail-gun systems in these weapons, most weapons are of this type. These weapons make very little noise in their action, but their supersonic projectiles still make these weapons quite loud when fired. These weapons come in many varieties, from pistols, to high-powered rifles, and even including shotguns.

The second type is directed energy weapons, in both lethal and non-lethal varieties. Lethal weapons include laser rifles, and particle beam weapons. By far more destructive are particle beam weapons, but these consume far more power. Laser rifles tend to be less lethal than projectile weapons, as many types of armor and the short time of contact between beam and target mean that although they retain effectiveness across their range, their use is usually a trade-off of accuracy and efficiency over power.

As rail-gun weapons produce little to no noise, aside from the small sonic boom of the projectile, subsonic weapons, effectively silent, do exist. These weapons are also generally smaller, and less effective against any kind of armored target, but are popular as personal defence weapons.

Pistols tend to be quite heavy, and considerable in size when conventionally powered, however, as the reduction in size in subsonic pistols makes them preferable for personal non-military use, they also carry and fire less, and smaller, ammunition.
Heavy Weapons
Heavy Weapons

Heavy weapons come in many varieties.

Generally, heavy weapons are launchers, as in grenade or missile launchers. These weapons are rare, and ammunition is even scarcer, but these are generally the most fearsome weapons, as both grenades and missiles are generally very powerful.

Some larger rail-gun and energy weapons still exist, usually for vehicle mounts. These weapons have fallen out of common use. However, fast-tracking and fast-firing rail-gun cannons can be devastating when kept functional. Large energy weapons are mostly infeasible, as they require far more energy collection than can be provided in a reasonable length of time, they are considered one-shot weapons, usually used for effect.

Drones are the warmachines, and workers, of the pre-sovereign world.

Armed with a variety of weaponry, Drones are extremely dangerous. Although heavily regulated by Sovereign, drones outside of the coverage zone are still in operation. Drones operate as powerful single-units, or as packs of smaller more mobile units. Drones are semi-autonomous, although they take direction, they retain a great deal of on-board capability. Both ground, hovering, and flying drones exist, however the most common remain ground drones, used for work to maintain cities.
Close Combat Weapons
Close Combat Weapons

Although Close Combat weapons tend to be underused in conventional combat, their effectiveness is actually considerable, in the right hands. Many marauders use melee weapons in an effort to bolster their ability to armor themselves against attack. Heavily armored marauders may be very difficult to take down at range with small arms fire, and at close range, may be quite capable of killing as surely and effectively with a blade as with a gun.

Bladed weapons do come in two varieties. All blades, and most basic tools are made from advanced carbon fiber, which requires less factory space for drones to make, as opposed to large scale smelting. The result are low-weight, high-strength blades which almost never need sharpening. Basic bladed weapons may be a completely carbon-fiber, or have a heavier metallic core for additional weight, in either case these blades cut flesh as quickly and smoothly as scalpels.

The second variety of blades are AF blades, or active-frequency blades. These blades require an integral power source, and may be attached to a power-pack on the user. Unpowered, these blades are conventionally useful. When powered, however, the AF system allows the blades to cut through almost anything. By adjusting a high-frequency pulse in the blade, automatically, the blade will essentially melt, at the atomic level, whatever it comes in contact with, creating clean, smooth, and highly precise cuts through solid stone, metal, or even heavy armor. However, the blades take a moment to adjust to the surface they are cutting, and so, are less useful in quick combat than as tools.