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Author Topic: Diaspora: Building a Universe  (Read 13903 times)

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Offline NotoriusBENTopic starter

Diaspora: Building a Universe
« on: February 18, 2011, 12:45:17 AM »

So I've picked up this RPG book a while back and it's got some pretty interesting mechanics and tools for creating your own universe and characters to inhabit them. The overall awesome part is that the dice/crunchy/math parts are pretty simple, but still maintain a depth that allows for numerous possibilities.  Before I get into the guts of this thread, no, Im not going to run a campaign. I simply dont have the time commitment for such a thing, as the players in my other dead games can attest.

What I *would* like to do, is create a universe or at least a few worlds with some other literary peeps. This is probably going to take the space of a couple of weeks to a month at *most*. At the end, we'll have made a universe that might be interesting to explore in our own stories or games here on Elliquiy

OK, so some ground rules for this thing:

1) The over all feel of this universe is a bit of hard science fiction. You cant tear ass through the galaxy like in Star Wars, or Star Trek.  It takes days to burn fuel and traverse a solar system.  Since we want to travel to other stars, but dont want to use generation ships or cryo-freezing other modes of hellaciously long travel, we will allow 'magic' technologies such as Warp Gates, Rift Nodes, Mass Effect Relays or what ever we decide to call them, which makes the giant leap across the voids near-instantly. You just have to travel out to solar LaGrange Points where they reside.

2) Humanity and Galaxy Life in general has risen and fallen so many times, everyone's lost count. No one knows where the original homeworld is/was and most likely dont even care. At some point in our past, all Rift nodes may have been connected but due to the vagueries of the universe or lost technology, they no longer do so. Every eon or so, rifts pinch off, stranding systems or connect to new ones. (This is a Diaspora mechanic to allow pretty much anyone to create their own piece of the universe)

3) All that said, anachronisms can/may be be everyday occurances. A bronze age society may see space travellers as Gods in Chariots of Fire or Medieval Knights clashing with laser weapons. Heck, maybe that system may be Off Limits as a Preserve and allowed to grow on it's own until its ready to step into the intersteller stage on it's own. There should be an interesting story behind why things are they way they are.

Please use Invisible Castle to generate the dice rolls and traits for your System.
**The dice mechanic used to produce a number between -4 and +4 can be expressed as 4d3-8. Roll four three-sided dice, total up all the pips, subtract 8 from that number.
(since it's impossible to make a three-sided die, a six-sided die would be: 1-2 equal 1. 3-4 equal 2. 5-6 equal 3)

Each System has three broad characteristics: Technology Level, Environment, and Resources ranging in Levels from -4 to +4.

Technology is the leading trait of a System. 
Its how the inhabitants get off their rock ball and into space.

T-4   is on par with the Stone Age. It could be a brand new sentient species, or humans may have suffered incredibly to be felled so low.
T-3   is on par with the Classical Age. Romans, Greeks, maybe medieval Europe.
T-2   is on par with the Reinesance. 15th to 16th Century Earth
T-1   is roughly 19th Century Earth. Locomotives, steam, coal, iron clads, etc.
T0   is roughly on par with Earth Technology as it is today. Ranging from WWII era to now where we are barely able to get off our planet.
T1   is a Pre-Stellar level. They can easily exploit their own system for resources, but have yet to create jump-drives. It is a Cusp Level as they are *just about* able to jump to different systems on their own.
T2   is a Fully Fledge Stellar tech Level. They can travel the stars and exert influence on neighboring systems.
T3   is everything that 2 is, but Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger, Cheaper, Awesom-er.
T4   is a Scarey Tech Level. It represents an incredibly advanced society of which the inhabitants view 'lesser societies' the same way we look at bugs or annoyances.  Most importantly, it represents a Society on the verge of Collapse. whether they see it as such or not is no concern of lessers. What looks like a major disaster like a Grey Goo incident, Solar Nova, Machine Intellect Transferance, God-hood, etc. may be what they intended all along...
Level 4 Technology is roughly the same as Level 3 except in that one area of expertise that is Scarey.  It's completely up to you what this aspect of Technology is, be it nano-tech, Artificial Intelligence, Matter Transferance, Immortality (imagine trying to deal with an eight-year old that uses plasma toys that can blow up your ship!)

Environment is the trait for the livability of the System

E-4   is a harsh system to live in. If there is material in the system, it's largest body only exerts maybe 0.1 Earth G's.
E-3   maintains one planet that is barren. Like Mercury, or Earth's Moon.
E-2   has one planet that is Hostile to the Human biology. Like Venus, Mars, Titan. Livable, but not without some apparatus to breathe or survive in.
E-1   has one planet that is Survivable. A Survivable world is an extreme that Humans can live in. A water world, a desert, an ice ball, thin atmosphere, etc.
E0   maintains one Garden World. This is Earth like, with comfortable habitation zones tinged with extremes (like... Earth)
E1   has one Garden World and a few barren worlds
E2   has one Garden World, and a few hostile worlds
E3   has one Garden World, and a few Survivable Worlds
E4   Multiple Garden Worlds. With any +4 that is rolled, go nuts on why/how this was to be. Maybe it's an actual ring world that makes a halo around the star, a rosarius of perfectly placed planets in the same orbital line. This system is a Prized jewel of the galaxy, make it good!

Resources represents what the System has for raw materials.

R-4   There is largely nothing useful in this system save rocks and dirt... and even that is low in nutrients for growing stuff...
R-3   There is a large or multiple deficiencies in this system. Maybe it doesnt have copper (for electronics) or water (so thirsty!) or rare earths (no nuclear missles or fission power)
R-2   There are a couple major deficiencies.
R-1   There is one major deficiency
R0   There are no deficiencies, nor are there surpluses of supplies
R1   This system has one major surplus
R2   This system has a couple major surpluses
R3   This system has many surplus resources
R4   This system is glutted with shinies. Even though everyone could be rich, it's rarely the case, given human nature. It is possible though...

To Provide an example... Earth would be a T0 E1 R2 System. We rely heavily on fossil fuels and nuclear power to provide energy for our world, and we can barely get off our planet unless we use incredibly expensive and inefficient rockets to blast into orbit. What exploration we have done in the system has been largely robotic, save a few trips to the moon. The Sol system has one garden world (Earth) and multiple hostile ones (Venus, Mars, Titan, Europa) and we have a large supply of Water and Water-Ice in the system and Helium-3 in the outer planets.
As for Aspects, we could use:
Heavily Balkanized
Possibly All-Alone

Both of those phrases evoke many possibilities and ideas on how to use them in the game or even generate story arcs. Dealing with this world could be very hard with no recognized world government. Also, what might happen if this world or some organization found out it *wasn't* alone?

Even though each trait has a bit of detail for each value, they are only guidelines to help you along and give you constraints when creating a system. When creating your System, you will also add two Aspects to it. Aspects are short phrases that help differentiate a world beyond what the traits provide. In the Diaspora mechanics, they allow players, and the GM to compel certain effects in the game to the betterment or detriment of the inhabitants of the game. Other writers can help with creating Aspects if need be, what may be unwieldly to you, someone else may have the perfect word for you to use.[/size]

For now, when you create your System, write between 3 and 5 paragraphs. Dont worry about interstellar relationships just yet. When we figure out what we have, then we can go on to connecting systems and writing how we influence each other's systems.

Since we will be working together in a collaborative effort, please do respect each other. Constructive criticism is always welcomed, but dont feel slighted when someone doesnt use your criticism either.

I will accept between six and eight writers for Systems.

C.  NotoriusBEN Technology3 Environment0 Resource1 Cruscis Prime
D.  Tomalak Technology0 Environment-2 Resource-3 The Umodyne System
E.  Polymorph Technology1 Environment3 Resource-2 Athena
F.  Wraith Technology-3 Environment0 Resource-2 Sheng
G.  Athos Technology-1 Environment1 Resources2 Midgard
H.  TheDon Technology2 Environment2 Resources-4 Chirea
I.  Ironwolf85 Technology1 Environment1 Resources-2 Solaris

« Last Edit: March 10, 2011, 09:48:20 AM by NotoriusBEN »

Offline NotoriusBENTopic starter

Re: Diaspora: Building a Universe
« Reply #1 on: February 18, 2011, 12:45:51 AM »
Updated Roster with System names and Links

A. Tomalak, The Umodyne System   
B. Ironwolf85, Solaris
C. NotoriusBEN, Cruscis Prime       
D. Athos, Midgard                           
E. Wraith, Sheng
F. Polymorph Athena                 
G. TheDon Chirea     

....____/___           _\______
../        /      \         /    \          \
A ---- B ---- C ---- D ---- E ---- F ---- G
.\____________/          \_______/

A is connected to B, C, and D
B is connected to A, C, and E
C is connected to A, B, and D
D is connected to A, C, E and F
E is connected to B, D, F, and G
F is connected to D, E, and G
G is connected to E and F

Round 2 on it's way.

« Last Edit: March 10, 2011, 09:49:21 AM by NotoriusBEN »

Offline NotoriusBENTopic starter

Re: Diaspora: Building a Universe
« Reply #2 on: February 18, 2011, 12:46:33 AM »
The System of Cruscis Prime
Technology 3
Environment 0
Resources 1

OPEC Has Nothing On Us!
Shadow of the Giant

The system of Cruscis Prime basks in the glow of a K7 V orange main sequence star. Immediately noticable in the system, are the five jovian planets. While there are well over 150 moons orbiting these gas giants, only Cruscis holds a habitable atmosphere and hydrography to support life.
This habitable 'moon' orbits the second Jovian, Promethas, which is average size, for a gas giant. Temperatures can dip by 20Celsius on Cruscis when it falls behind the shadow of Promethas, leading to rather cold seasons.

The chief resource of the system is Helium-3 providing cheap, abundant fuel for Cruscis' starfleet and energy plants. In fact, Cruscis' technology level was kicked into overdrive due to such a close source of He-3 in Promethus. Many of the inhabitants are involved in the He-3 industry in one form or another, from mining, to transport, to planetary surveyance.

Roughly 20billion people inhabit the system, with 15billion on Cruscis, the rest inhabit space stations orbiting the other Jovians or on dome cities on the moons extracting the various resources of the system.

With the primary export of He-3, Cruscis can obtain resources from other systems, mostly H2O and oxygen as they begin their terraforming programs for some of the larger moons in the system.
« Last Edit: February 18, 2011, 03:09:38 PM by NotoriusBEN »

Offline Tomalak

Re: Diaspora: Building a Universe
« Reply #3 on: February 18, 2011, 02:53:43 AM »
I would like to become involved in this project, it looks like a great exercise.  Are you requiring random rolls, or is it merely an option?  Are you limiting the number of systems a participant should contribute?  Are there aliens in this game?

*I'm making contact with folks right now, looking for a copy of this book.

Offline NotoriusBENTopic starter

Re: Diaspora: Building a Universe
« Reply #4 on: February 18, 2011, 08:22:12 AM »
Yes, I'd like random rolls for system generation. I only rolled once in IC and that T3 E0 R1 system is what I came up with. I'd probably allow someone to generate another System if they rolled low on all three traits. But even so, that is part of the challenge of this project, of a person being able to take what they are given and create something interesting about their system. Maybe a T-4 E-4 R-4 is a pulsar, or gravel system. In the phase that we interact with other players, having a System like that could be very dangerous to traverse or hide something valuable. If it is between two Stellar Powers, it might be some quasi-no-man's-land with a thriving black market in it. The point is, the numbers are just general guidelines to the overall feel of the System.

Of course there are aliens in this game. It may just be hubris on game developers, but a bipedal form seems the most benefical to sentient life (such as in Mass Effect). But dont feel limited either. Everything from bugs, to mold, to squids, to intellegent crystalline structures are allowed. Give us a good story about them though, and dont make them omnipotent (for play balance reasons). If you give them a boon, give them a deficiency as well. Use Aspects, too, but keep any and all changes between 2 to 4 total boons and deficiencies.

We are dealing with broad strokes on the canvas at the moment. Details will come later after we get the framework erected.

Offline Tomalak

Re: Diaspora: Building a Universe
« Reply #5 on: February 18, 2011, 02:14:53 PM »
Invisible Castle Result:
T0, E-2, R-3 

The Umodyne System
A couple of centuries ago, the Umodyne corporation paid off all the other corps and changed the name of the system to their own corp name.  It's not the first time that's happened here.  Considering the recent trouble Umodyne's been having, it probably won't be the last.
Before that?  Who cares.  Past is past, future is just a dream for people with the luxury.  Today, you worry about your food, your water, and your air.  And you get those things by working for the people that have them.  Maybe you're a pilot, maybe you know multiple languages.  Maybe you're just a pair of hands.  Everybody's got to get by however they can, but there's no shortage of buyers for whatever it is you got.  But nobody pays for history.  'Specially not here.
The Umodyne system consists of a single planetary body orbiting a star almost perfectly designed for supporting life.  Yellow, mid-sized, and not quite at the end of its middle-stage.  Shame the planet's so hostile.  The system's single unnamed planet is wrapped in a thick miasma of just about every toxic, caustic, or volatile gas known to man.  The planet is almost spitefully opposed to intelligent habitation - the lack of natural satellites seems almost like adding insult to injury.

And yet, somehow people live there.  The primary settlements are far enough underground to remain sealed away from the atmosphere.  Those who live under the surface are there mostly to operate and maintain the extraction machinery that separates & packages the gaseous elements of the atmosphere.  The only other industry in the Umodyne system is raw ore production in the system's four asteroid belts.  Most of the good stuff's played out, But the corporations aren't done until there's literally nothing of value left, so people pilot ships out and bring back the ore to one refinery station or another.

Most of the system's rather large population lives on space stations they lack the technology to expand properly, enormous, slow-moving vessels whose course is preprogrammed and cannot be changed, simply because nobody remembers how.  Day-to-day life in the Umodyne system is one of ritual and repetition.  You know how to open an airlock because someone taught you when you were young.  What goes on inside the wall there?  Nobody cares, as long as it works.  And if it stops working well, there's another airlock ten minutes that way.
The real business in Umodyne is just that - business.  Corporations run the system, and the only government in place is run as an extension of the various corps' power.  And what business does exist in the cluster often moves through Umodyne.  Whatever you want to buy, sell, see, own (or dispose of), you can do it (or at least arrange it) here.  For a fee, you can even do it anonymously.  One thing you can't get here, is anything new.  Umodyne is a system mired in a milennia old bureaucracy of corporate red tape where even those hypothetically in power don't challenge the system anymore. 

Same shift, different day
Yeah, we got that here
« Last Edit: February 22, 2011, 07:46:30 AM by Tomalak »

Offline NotoriusBENTopic starter

Re: Diaspora: Building a Universe
« Reply #6 on: February 18, 2011, 03:26:06 PM »
I think this thread will prove sufficient for the time being. When/if more people show up, I'll move it.

And yes, the game does have quite the inter-relation between systems, cultures, and planets. It doesn't have to be as such though.

I'll use Mass Effect as an example:

The Sol System in Earth is still full of all those nation-states and different cultures, but the 'front' or view on the Galactic Scale of Humanity is the Systems Alliance.

There are many details that couldnt possibly be covered in our framework, but generally, we consider Humans to be impatient and fearless, Turians are stalwart and honorbound, Solarians are incredibly smart and hyperactive, Asari are diplomatic and promiscuous.

There are always examples to the contrary, but taken as a whole, this is how we preceive those groups.

Offline Polymorph

Re: Diaspora: Building a Universe
« Reply #7 on: February 18, 2011, 03:58:48 PM »
I'll give this a try.

Die roll for polymorph
Rolled on: 2011-02-18 13:23:06.538749

4d3-8 → [3,3,1,2,-8] = (1)
4d3-8 → [2,3,3,3,-8] = (3)
4d3-8 → [1,1,3,1,-8] = (-2)

This gives me T1, E3, R-2

So I have a system where the technology is just at the point of interstellar travel, though getting to another system is very costly and difficult. The home system itself has been colonised and exploited for resources .

One heavily populated garden planet and several other planets able to support life.

The system is chronically short of a couple of resources. (HE 3 seems to be an ideal choice for one of the shortages, this would tie in with only just having the ability to reach other systems)

Offline Wraith

Re: Diaspora: Building a Universe
« Reply #8 on: February 18, 2011, 05:31:23 PM »
This seems very interesting. Here's what I got -

T-3, E0, R-2

So that's,

Technology on par with the Classical civilizations, maybe Medieval Europe
Environment is one habitable planet, a la Earth
Resources have two major deficiencies

I can work with this I think, but it maybe a bit too generic. Let me see what I can come up with and if it seems too bland, I'll ask permission for a re-roll.

Offline Polymorph

Re: Diaspora: Building a Universe
« Reply #9 on: February 19, 2011, 05:00:44 AM »


Xenophobic lesbian space nazis
Expansionist and militaristic

Athena is a system comprising of five planets clustered in what is known as the Goldilocks zone capable of supporting life. Further out two large asteroid belts supply the bulk of the systems rare elements and resources. The Athena system is unusual in not containing any gas giants making HE-3 an extremely rare commodity.

Athena 1 - Shara - A small moonless planet which orbits closest to the sun. Survival is harsh, though small colonies do exist with the bulk of the living space beneath ground to escape the heat. Most of the world is desert. (Similar to Tattoine or Dune)

Athena 2 - Emerald - Around the size of Mars with one rocky moon. The planet is a steamy hothouse almost entirely covered in rainforests. It is claimed that anything that walks, flies or crawls on Emerald will try to eat, bite or sting you. Famous for it's megafauna and flora. (similar to Endor or Pandora)

Athena 3 - Athena Prime - Closely resembles earth, though slightly larger with two large moons, one of which has a breathable atmosphere. Imported Terran species existing alongside the indigenous. The most highly populated of Athena's worlds with Athens, the planetary capital alone having a population of two billion. (Similar to Earth)

Athena 4 - Valkyr - A cool, mountainous habitable planet. One tiny moon of no interest. (similar to Scandinavia or Canada)

Athena 5 - Terra Artica - An icy world with an atmosphere so thin that breathing masks are necessary for survival outside of sealed environments. All native lifeforms are aquatic and exist in the oceans that exist beneath a kilometre thick ice sheet. Subject to intense seismic activity due to the effect of lunar gravitational pull. Three rocky and barren moons. (similar to Hoth)

The Dido Asteroid belt - The closer of the two belts. Domed mining stations and settlements provide the bulk of Athena's mineral resources. Home to the Athenian system defence force and the fl edging interstellar exploration service.

The Cartumandua belt - The further asteroid belt and the only source of trace amounts of HE-3 in the system. It is surmised that the belt is the remains of gas giant with a solid core that was destroyed early in the systems formation. Barely settled, but vitally important.


Athena was previously part of a large human empire that spanned numerous systems. With it's diverse worlds and ecologies it was a popular vacation world and scientific mecca. Almost all of it's industry was geared towards tourism and at any one time half it's population was short term visitors.

This was changed abruptly around five hundred years before current estimation when the connection to the outside galaxy suddenly vanished without warning. Emergency rule and a form of strict socialism was imposed, rationing and distributing the resources to it's overly large population. The harsh times were weathered, tourist shuttles were hastily converted to set up mining colonies in the nearer asteroid belt and collective hydroponic farms established.

A chronic shortage of HE-3 and fossil fuels were worked around, the HE-3 for the time being irrelevant without a warp connection and extensive mass transit systems to replace personal transport. The lack of plastics was overcome by huge logging plantations and the extensive use of wood.

The socialist system extended to division of labour, with work being allotted by ability. Soon the asteroid belts and harsher planets that required hard manual labour were predominantly worked by the male population, whilst the production and administration based on Athena Prime was almost entirely female run. Athena inherited excellent advanced medical facilities, and soon parthogenesis was the normal method of procreation and the male population began to dwindle.

An attempted coup, by a male supremacist movement three hundred years BCE led to a protracted and bitter civil war between the two diverging genders. The far more populous female faction triumphed and the birth of male offspring was banned.

For the next two hundred and fifty years there was general peace and stability in the system until scientists detected the reconnection of the warp portal. By this time male humans were semi-mythical figures, blamed in historical textbooks and the popular media for every atrocity imaginable. Hysteria swept the Athenian population at the prospect of masculine invaders from outside enslaving their worlds.

Conscription and massive rearmament was introduced by the increasingly authoritarian government and new mining facilities set up in the further asteroid belt to obtain the scarce amounts of HE-3 that existed there. A handful of scoutships were dispatched to discover where the new warp connection led and also tasked with searching for fresh sources of HE-3.


Athena has an entirely female population, the last native born male dying over two hundred years BCE. The government could best be termed as national socialist, exercising strict and absolute control over all aspects of the inhabitants lives. It's military is large, but untested, with extensive insystem defence fleets and planetary based forces. It has extremely few ships capable of warp flight and these are small exploration vassals. The government and population border on the xenophobic where male humans or alien cultures are concerned.
« Last Edit: February 25, 2011, 10:33:35 PM by Polymorph »

Offline NotoriusBENTopic starter

Re: Diaspora: Building a Universe
« Reply #10 on: February 19, 2011, 07:58:29 PM »
Looking good, everyone. I'll probably just look for a couple more to fill out the cluster roster. Dont forget about Aspects, either.
Soon, we will see how we all get along.

Offline Tomalak

Re: Diaspora: Building a Universe
« Reply #11 on: February 20, 2011, 06:16:23 AM »
I can't find Aspects in the book.  Are they just catchphrases made up by the system's player?

Offline NotoriusBENTopic starter

Re: Diaspora: Building a Universe
« Reply #12 on: February 20, 2011, 06:52:03 AM »
Yep, that's all aspects are. They're just concise phrases that players of the game can compel to add an additional die to their rolls.
but that's going into game mechanics. Good aspects are even one's that the GM can compel on a player for a deficiency. If the player decides to accept the penalty, they get FATE points to add to their rolls later.

Offline Athos

Re: Diaspora: Building a Universe
« Reply #13 on: February 21, 2011, 06:57:36 PM »
Saw this thread and decided it looked interesting. Here's my attempt.


Technology -1, Environment 1, Resources 2

Die roll for Athos
Rolled on: 2011-02-21 13:59:04.432315
4d3-8 → [3,1,1,2,-8] = (-1)
4d3-8 → [2,3,2,2,-8] = (1)
4d3-8 → [2,3,2,3,-8] = (2)


Strength and fidelity
Warlike and individualistic

Midgard is a system of seven planets orbiting a yellow dwarf star with only one, the second planet, being able to support life. In addition there is one, ringed gas giant which contains large supplies of HE-3. As well there are four barren planets. There are indications that at some point in the distant past, a race of highly advanced beings inhabited the system. These indications include local legends of the indigenous species, as well as numerous ruins located throughout the system.

Ragnarok: A small barren rock of a world located closest to the system’s sun. It has no discernable atmosphere and its climate is too hot to support even the heartiest forms of life. One interesting thing to note is that the world seems to have been visited by an advanced space faring species some time in its distant pad as evidenced by several large artificial structures that can be found on its surface, many of which seem to have destroyed in some kind of battle. It is taught in Thorian religion that Ragnarok was once used a prison who those who defied the Gods and was the place from which the first Armageddon was launched.

Thor: The second planet furthest from the system’s star. Its orbit is somewhat closer to the star than Earth’s though still falling in the ideal range for supporting life. This has resulted in most of the planet having a warm, tropical climate covered in thick jungle. The three major oceans within this region provide the majority of the planet’s water, with the rest coming from thousands of small lakes, rivers and streams. One long scorching hot desert forms a ring around the equator and there are small regions temperate forest turning into frigid tundra as one approaches the north and south poles. Because the planet’s diameter is about a third larger than that of Earth’s the gravity is somewhat heavier. As well, Thor has an irregular rotation and as such, days and nights often last for weeks at a time.

Thor is a savage but beautiful world, lush and full of vegetation but inhabited by multitude species of deadly flora and fauna. The planet contains an abundance of indigenous “Loki” root which has been shown to contain remarkable healing properties when ingested or used as a salve or poultice. The planet is inhabited by approximately three billion large bipedal humanoids who call themselves Thorians. Several large scale ruins in the northern continent give evidence that the planet was once visited and perhaps colonized by an advanced space faring civilization. Thor has a single moon with no atmosphere and minimal gravity known as Hammer. In Thorian religion, it is taught the planet was the chosen as the seat of the God Thor because of its lush fertility and open sky. Thor is believed to be the one who brought law and order to the primitive Thorians.

Odin: The largest planet in the system, this gas giant approximately the size of Saturn. It is located third furthest from the sun and has a set of blue-green rings which contain an abundant source of the resource HE-3. It has seventeen moons, all of which are believed to be barren rocks with no discernable atmosphere. In Thorian religion Odin is seen as the King of Gods and the planet is revered as a holy place by the Thorians as the seat of all power.

Ve: A barren rock world located fourth furthest from the sun. It has one moon upon which there lies the ruins of an ancient structure that seems to have been destroyed. In Thorian religion, the world is known as the seat of the God Ve, who was a brother and ally of Vili and Odin.

Vili: Another barren rock world which is located fifth furthest from the sun. It has one moon upon which there lies the ruins of an ancient structure that seems to have been destroyed. In Thorian religion, the world is known as the seat of the God Vili, who was a brother and ally of Ve and Odin.

Algron: Also a barren rock world, with no gravity or atmosphere it is notable for what seems to be a large honeycomb network of tunnels which may have at some point contained an oxygen atmosphere. There are numerous derelict structures located within. In Thorian religion, Algron was the first seat of Odin before he took the planet that bears his name.

Heimdall: The furthest planet from the sun, this world is a barren ball of ice barely larger than a moon. It has minimal gravity and no atmosphere. The only thing of note on this world is a single large derelict structure orbiting the planet. Heimdall, in Thorian religion is seen as the watchman for the Gods and the planet is seen as having been the watchtower to the rest of Midgard.

The Thorians

Physiology: The Thorians are green skinned bipedal humanoids with red eyes that inhabit the second planet, called Thor, of the Midgard system. Due to the planet’s high gravity, Thorians do not typically stand taller than six feet, but tend to be very muscular and usually weight well over two hundred pounds. They demonstrate exceptional physical strength and resilience and due to Thor’s unusual rotation, they have also developed excellent vision in both day and night. Thorians tend to live lives of good health and serious illness is rare among them. That being said, their lifespan is typically shorter than a human’s usually lasting only fifty years. Thorians have very little tolerance to the cold and prefer warm climates.

History: At some point in the distant past, a race of advanced beings colonized the Midgard system and made contact with the primitive Thorians. They were seen as Gods and worshipped as such. From these beings, the Thorians supposedly learned language and were given the virtues which lay the foundation of their modern culture and religion as well as basic astronomy. How long the Gods inhabited the system is unknown, though it is believed that at that time all the planets were somewhat habitable if not lush paradises in their own rights. However, at some point there was a war between the Gods and those who had been imprisoned on the first planet, called Ragnarok. Exact details were unknowable to the primitive Thorians, but the tales of the first Armageddon state that the Gods and their prisoners destroyed each other until the system was left in ruins. Only Thor refused to take sides and instead gave his life to defend the planet which he had made his home and the people that resided upon it.

Culture: Thorian culture is incredibly individualistic and warlike. Every day on Thor is a struggle to survive against the myriad of predators, deadly plants and other Thorians competing for natural resources and what little arable land there is. Thorians respect strength above all else and only the six virtues provide any kind of relief from the brutality of their “might make right” value system. All Thorians are trained to fight as children, and all men are required to maintain working armour, a sword or axe and a helmet. Women may also choose to do the same, though this less prevalent. Men born to warrior families will often continue their weapons training and incorporate more advanced technologies into their war making. Though women are generally expected to mind the homestead and take care of children, there is no particular taboo against women joining male professions. Many women do not marry, or continue their trades after being married. As well, there are many women warriors, called shield-maidens, who make war a way of life. Regardless of life’s choices, women are not generally considered to be less or subservient to men. In fact, many Thorian men joke that it is in fact the other way around.

Politics: There is no centralized government. Instead power is divided amongst alliances of various city states and individual tribes and bands. The concept of fidelity plays an important part in Thorian society. At the age of ten, Thorians swear fealty to their House (family).  At the age of thirteen, Thorians swear fealty to their trade. This is usually the trade that is traditionally done by their families, however if a young Thorian can find someone to apprentice them in a new trade during this time they may switch professions. At the age of fifteen, Thorians swear fealty to their clan and enter society as a full adult. Beyond these oaths, there are also oaths of brotherhood/sisterhood, oaths of marriage, oaths of vengeance and oaths of servitude. In Thorian society, breaking an Oath is considered to be the gravest of all crimes and calling someone an Oath breaker will usually result in a blood duel.

Religion: The vast majority of Thorians are pagans who worship a pantheon of Gods and Goddesses who are believed to have once inhabited their system. The most important Gods are believed to have resided on their own planets. Each God and Goddess embodies a particular set of virtues and faults and no God is seen as having been perfect. Thorian religion teaches six main virtues that all Thorians are expected to embody: Righteousness, truthfulness, bravery, honour, compassion and mercy.  A Thorian may worship one God, many Gods, or no God, as long as they try to hold to the tenets of the six main virtues. Thorians who perfectly embody these virtues are believed to rise to Godhood upon their deaths whereas the vast majority of Thorians are reincarnated to either higher or lower stations in life depending on their deeds in the previous life.
Technology: Thorian technology has reached approximately the level of humanity during the 19th century. Though highly intelligent and industrious, the lack of open space coupled with the harsh, warlike existence of life on Thor, Thorian advancements have been slow and painstaking. The largest city states tend to be the most highly advanced and the further away one goes from their various spheres of influence the more primitive life becomes.  In areas immediately surrounding a city state, one is likely to find expansive roadways and cultivated land. Railways connect major settlements and allow for the transport of goods and people and steam powered boats also open up the various waterways. Traditional weapons such as swords and shields continue to remain a part of daily life, but city garrisons as well as wealthy tribal chieftains also have access to firearms and field artillery for their men. Due to the Thorians high resistance to injury and illness, medical technology is very basic and is constricted to general first aid and the use of the healing Loki root to mend wounds.

Offline Wraith

Re: Diaspora: Building a Universe
« Reply #14 on: February 25, 2011, 12:57:16 PM »
This is taking longer than I thought it would. I'm working on three aspects right now -

1) The make-up of the solar system where the planet's situated. I want this to be unique. I might go with either a binary system or a red dwarf system.

2) The geological nature of the planet. I'm currently thinking Earth after Pangaea broke, but I'm tinkering with it. I'm also unsure about the resource deficiencies. One of the scarce resources is going to be metals, limiting the level of technological development the civilizations can achieve, but I'm not sure what the others can be. Fossil fuel doesn't match the level of development. I was thinking water, but since this is an Earth-like planet, that seems unlikely.

3) The political and social make-up of the civilizations. Right now, I'm opting for two main cultural strongholds on two different continents, with other political and cultural entities scattered about. References right now inculde the Roman Empire, Sui Dynasty China, Old Zimbabwe and Tsarist Russia.

Offline TheDon

Re: Diaspora: Building a Universe
« Reply #15 on: February 26, 2011, 06:07:57 PM »
Bumped into this, it looks like it could be really good! I did a similar thing to this for Dark Heresy a few years back, it gave us a setting deep enough for four successful sandbox campaigns, so if you're up for having me, I'd love to join!

TheDon's Rolls

Technology: 2.
Environment: 2.
Resources: -4.


The System

"But Binnar's ships found a different haven/Open-spaced, of clean air, a sheltered place/There great Alochai settled the travellers/And bound their wounds with honey and with mrryh"
                                                  - The Song of Binnar

Caught in the conflicting gravitational field of two suns, Aybyrdyr and Fsozeo, and constantly imperilled by the wide asteroid fields and gravel-clouds attracted to the stars, it is a wonder that any human life persists in the system. Barren planet succeeds barren planet; the world of Lardharni, meanwhile, is so scorched with radiation that it is certain death to spend more than a few brief minutes on the surface. Further out, towards the fringes of the system, the tall mountains and deep lakes of Arla would offer a habitable world - were it not for the noxious gases that make breathing without ventilation equipment suicidal. Only the garden world of Chirea is suitable for human survival, and so it is after this foothold of humanity that this deadly maze of a system is named.


"Only the cunning prosper; only the strong survive"
                                                  - The Song of the Pack

Chirea is dominated by two large continents, so close together that it takes less than an hour to make a crossing by boat. Largely made up of tracts of savannah separated by mountain ranges, vegetation is sparse and the soil is infertile and poor, with levels of agriculture beyond the most basic kind of subsistence farming a hopeless dream. The pack animals of the plains are the only terrestrial food source, although the large gyrwings provide an alternative source of meat. Historically, fish-stocks in the ocean have also proved valuable for the Chireans; however, the over-exploitation of all of these resources over the past centuries has left Chirea dangerously short of the most basic natural resources. Whilst the oceans are extensive, meanwhile, glacier melts have led to the loss of rivers and resulting fresh water sources.


"To war is human; to triumph is divine"
                                                  - The Ballad of Larkid

Chirean history starts several thousands of years ago with the arrival of the fleet of Binnar the Tall, a space adventurer and pirate from the legendary planet of Nikolos. The Song of Binnar describes the adventures of the Chireans en route to the planet, culminating in a terrible Warp-Storm that saw the fleet wrecked in the asteroid fields and gravity-wells of Aybyrdyr and Fsozeo. According to the legend, Binnar and his ships were saved by the goddess Alochai, who guided the proto-Chireans to their new homeworld. The pre-existing human population, who possessed a level of technology equivalent to 9th century Europe, were quickly suppressed by the firepower of the new arrivals. To this day, the separation between the original Chireans - called 'Navrins' or cattle by the upper caste - and the descendants of the space pirates is visible, with the red hair and green eyes of the Navrins contrasting with the grey-haired, purple-eyed Chireans.

Following the Settlement, Chirean civilization degenerated. A lack of infrastructure and the deaths of many technical staff meant that much in the way of technology was lost, whilst the harsh realities of existance on Chirea forced the previously close-knit crews to turn on each other. Within a century, a complete balkanisation had taken place, with hundreds of sects of Chireans, some as small as only twenty in number, ruling over thousands of Navrin peasants from the makeshift palaces created from the salvage of their fleet. War was rampant, inbreeding amongst the Chirean elite the norm and disaster the outcome, as, in the event remembered only as The Cataclysm, the detonation of the nuclear generators of a ruined spacecraft killed millions and left vast tracks of previously fertile land in ruins.

Although disastrous, this Cataclysm saved the Chireans. Under the command of the legendary Ereaif Larkid, the Chireans of the Ranyb Federation conquered their surviving brethren in just over four decades of ceaseless war. The subsequent Ranyb Empire lasted thirteen hundred years, and saw the shaping of the Chirean mindset into one extolling individual endeavour for the benefit of the group at large. Collective responsibility for actions became the founding principle of justice; the family unit was replaced with deuems or "packs", with the constituent members held accountable for the conduct, education and progress of their fellows. Although it weakened in later years to a purely constitutional concept, the Marshalship began by Larkin survived throughout the Imperial period, and was passed around between noble Chirean families as their respective power waxed and waned. Gradually, the life of the upper caste in the court became detached from that of the Navrins and the emerging middle class of half-Navrin, half-Chirean gentleman farmers and trawler-captains, and the Imperial era ended in the blood and fire of the Brechtian Revolts.

Chirea had never been the most fertile planet, and after the destruction of prime land in the Cataclysm, food was in short supply. A series of famines and a fall in fish stocks led to hunger throughout Chirea; the Ranyb court circle, too caught up in their own politicking, failed to sense the direction the wind was blowing in. The banning of the hunting of gyrwings, the symbol of the Sixth Dynasty, led to rebellion in the Ida Mountains. Military units sent to suppress the rebels mutinied; as news spread, revolts sprang up across the Ranyb dominions. As the armies of the rebellion converged on the capital, the thirteen-year-old Emperor Larkid XXIV dismissed his advisors and sort to placate the revolutionaries, promising them reforms and food subsidies. It was to no avail; the boy king was dragged from his palace and murdered by a baying mob as the Imperial era came to a brutal and violent end.

The subsequent Anarchy saw the united Chirea of Larkid break apart once again into warring states. Technology, however, freed from the shackles of hierarchy, sprang forward apace; the subsequent industrial revolution, at the cost of Chirea's natural resources, gave the Chireans prosperity, urbanisation and longevity. It was not to last. After millenia of abuse, Chirea's environment finally gave way. Icemelt saw rivers flood then dry up; desertification saw the numbers of savannah animals dwindle; a fall in the water table saw farmland turn barren. Billions died from hunger and thirst; millions more perished in the ensuing population migrations and wars. The Chirean regimes turned to the use of violence to restrain their populace, taking no prisoners as their dire situation forced them into ever more barbaric actions. It seemed like the Chireans were on the verge of extinction.

It was at this point that Captain Lukas Kale, a naval officer from the statelet of Caslan, set out for the wasteland of the Cataclysm with his deuen on a seemingly hopeless quest for lost technologies - an event that neatly shows the power held by the heads of deuens over their deuen. In the shadow of Mt.Shenn the discovery was made - the Arbitor, the ruined space vessel Kale and his team had been looking for. Within its ancient computer systems, the key to producing spacecraft was rediscovered; riding on a surge of popularity, Kale returned to Caslan a hero, seized power and set a slave workforce of Navrins to producing himself a fleet of the new ships. Spies from neighbouring regimes soon copied Kale's plans; just over four hundred years after the end of the Imperial Era, and a mere three thousand since Barrin had first landed, the Marshals of Brechtia produced the first Chirean space-vessel, Salvator Rex.

The Kingdoms of Caslan and Bahsen quickly followed, with the Chatthairath Estate becoming the fourth - and last - Chirean power to become extraterrestrial. The remaining Chirean countries were quickly overcome by the emerging superpowers, which sent settlers across the solar system in the search for new resources and habitats. To their horror, they found none; whilst the Brechtians established military bases on Arla, and the men of Bahsen tunnelled deep beneath the surface of Lardharni, it looked like the hope generated by Kale's discovery was to be fleeting and in vain.

It was only when the Brechtian fleet stumbled across explorers from Cruscis that a solution was found. Despite large casualties, the Brechtians overpowered their opponents; before setting them to work as slaves, the Brechtian Marshal discovered from them both the existance of other human settlements and the technology for travelling beyond their own solar system. The Chireans had found their destiny; returning to the pursuits of Binnar before them, the fleets of Chirea set out as piratic raiders and mercenaries, seeking the technology and resources in the wider galaxy that they had already consumed on their own world. Some Chirean pirates left forever, never to return; the majority, however, continue to return to their system, which has grown into a trading post for everything from slaves to weaponry, and (because of its remote location and dangerous surroundings) the favoured hideaway of criminals, gunslingers and bounty hunters the galaxy across.


"Without honesty, men are as beasts"
                                                  - Captain Lukas Kale, Edict 49

Chirean culture places a heavy emphasis on the values of clan-loyalty, piety and cunning. To the Chirean, the collective group is everything; one is brought up amongst, lives with and dies in one's deuem, and everything an individual achieves is fed back into the benefit of their group. Whilst individual endeavour is encouraged, individual identity is not; from birth, Chireans are socially conditioned to think of themselves as just one part of the larger family as opposed to humans in their own right. Whilst this does not always work, with some Chireans going completely off the rails in order to reject the sometimes stultifying expectations of the family, in general it has led to the creation of a people where loyalty - established through blood and the swearing of oaths - is valued above all else. It has been commented on with surprise that a race of such infamous pirates, criminals and plotters hold honesty in such high esteem!

Piety is similarly important. Chireans see the intervention of their deities as the main reason for their continued survival, and venerate them accordingly. Alochai has ever been their mother-goddess;a riddle-giver who loves the cunning, it is to her that oaths are made. Crudilai, God of Death, and Aeroas, Goddess of Intrigue are equally respected, whilst Binnar is upheld as a popular God to be called upon when in need. Other deities include Thaael, God of Justice; Adaimah, Goddess of Strife; Aneac, God of Spring and Mysteries; and Aelazal "Dusk-bringer", Goddess of Deceit. Sacrifices, varying from small animals to groups of slaves, are offered to the deities on festival days and when children come of age at eighteen - the latter an event historically celebrated because of the low chances of surviving to that point in Chirea's troubled past.

Within society, Chireans are condescendingly tolerant of outsiders, and completely careless with the lives of the Navrin and other slave-groups. Their troubles have made them capricious in regards to everything other than their trust for each other, within their kinship groups; whilst outsiders are there to be tricked, exploited and enslaved, and whilst the Navrin are there to be hunted, abused and ruled over, experience has taught the Chireans that all they have is each other. The genders enjoy completely equal rights with deuens; although rights are few and far between, as each deuen member is charged to put the welfare of the deuen first - and since it is the deuen-marshal, and ultimately the Clan Marshal who decides what this means, every deuen member has to obey a senior in all things. Marriages, careers and even the daily budget are decided by the deuen-marshals; there is no escape from the responsibilities and duties of collective life.

Offline Athos

Re: Diaspora: Building a Universe
« Reply #16 on: February 26, 2011, 09:48:25 PM »
I like what you've got there Don, very cool.

Offline Ironwolf85

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Re: Diaspora: Building a Universe
« Reply #17 on: February 26, 2011, 11:59:27 PM »
I'd like to give making a planet a try if that's okay

Offline NotoriusBENTopic starter

Re: Diaspora: Building a Universe
« Reply #18 on: February 27, 2011, 01:21:51 AM »
Very nice indeed.

Amazon space nazi's huh?
Never saw it coming :P

If Wraith and Ironwolf get their planets up and going, we can get to linking everyone together.

Offline Polymorph

Re: Diaspora: Building a Universe
« Reply #19 on: February 27, 2011, 01:50:53 AM »
Very nice indeed.

Amazon space nazi's huh?
Never saw it coming :P

If Wraith and Ironwolf get their planets up and going, we can get to linking everyone together.

How will the linking be worked, randomly or by mutual agreement?

Offline NotoriusBENTopic starter

Re: Diaspora: Building a Universe
« Reply #20 on: February 27, 2011, 01:54:11 AM »
it'll be randomly with some die rolls

first i'll roll our positions on the chart in my first post to jumble up our order.
then on a
1-2, you link to the person below you
3-4, you link with two people below you
5-6, you link to three people below you
« Last Edit: February 27, 2011, 01:56:29 AM by NotoriusBEN »

Offline Ironwolf85

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Re: Diaspora: Building a Universe
« Reply #21 on: February 27, 2011, 03:45:03 PM »
my rolls
4d3-8 → [3,2,1,3,-8] = (1)
4d3-8 → [3,2,2,2,-8] = (1)
4d3-8 → [1,2,2,2,-8] = (-1)
4d3-8=1, 4d3-8=1, 4d3-8=-1



Effecent Buracratic Government
Freemarket captialists
masters of Genetic engineering

Comunnication: officer 773 mining outpost 3972, we’ve had an outbreak of Redline, seven have been injured, three more laid low by friendly fire when redline caused their weapons to act up. Order has been restored with minimal causalities. Inform the senate to scour our bas with Bloodtox just in case, before lifting quarantine.
The Solarius system has always been a harsh and barren place, twelve planets orbiting the blue sun, solar radiation bursts scour all but the fifth planet clean of life on a regular basis. The system is unique in that it has only gas giant, the rest of the planets being solid. The Solariun humans dominate the system through FTL travel and have mining bases, probes, stations, and posts thought the system.
The farther away you get from the sun the more habitable the planets become, but are too far away to keep from freezing, the outer planets have atmosphere, but no life. Though solarus 8 has the genetic soup nessary it is too cold to burst into life.

   Before Genetics, you could not plunge more than a mile without your lungs exploding in a brilliant display, with Genetic Modification, you can see things we never imagined.
Solarius 5 is the seat of the Grand Senate, the planet’s aquatic atmosphere protect it, until the development of GM the Humans were confined to archipelegos, Island chains, and small rocky Volcanos, taking what they needed from these islands. The waters of the planet reach straight down through the mantle, most materals are forced to come from the seabed or the oceans directly. Another unique feature is that the water, while full of minerals, is fresh.
The ecosystem is heavily predatory, The average Solariun shark, measures twenty feet long.

   Island to island, Bay to Bay, harbor to harbor, we are the senate, we speak for the people, move aside or be swept aside by the tides of history and destiny.
The original human colonists expected a tropical world of beaches and sand, they were horrificly mistaken, Solarius proved to be a brutal opponent, it’s creatures hostile, their first written tale was the “Tales of Kronepsus” that describe their ancestors trying to survive against the many monsters, recorded by the man who they are named after. Many have moral lesions that are taught to this day. Solarians worked their way back up from barbarity going through all the stages to get to where they are today. The land did not provide enough hard metals, nor did they have access to non-plant oil before they were able to reach the sea floor. This slowed down their technological development in these areas, so they became inventive in creating and minuplating energies.
The solarians broke free from their earthy home about a hundred years ago, Genetic Manipulation allowed them to access the riches they could not before,
Solarians have become masters of their environment, their cities sprawl across the land and down into the sea, with the wealthy important districts above the waterline.
This boom pushed them towards the stars, and now they are on the cusp of interstellar travel.
The Great Senate arose from the various island dictators that broke down, were over thrown, their successors overthrown, and so on until centuries later people were basically sick of dealing with them and began electing leaders instead. Cultures varies widely, but the senate united the Solarians through force and diplomacy, Island by Island, bay by bay, it is a sprawling, effective, and surprisingly responsive buracracy.
In general petty empires and Island kingdoms were the norm, now the Great Imperial Senate runs things with a light hand, Imperial and Liberalist (the old fashioned meaning, not the modern one, meaning “state serves the people”) agenda.

   “The body is a container, the mind is liquid, and can take any shape it desires why should we not play with the shape of the container?”
   Solarian culture is based upon adaptation and self expression, their old warrior/survivalist culture persists as a devotion to community service, and drive to succeed in one’s goals at almost any cost. Supplemented with a free market based on credit, the Senate encourages the economy, and spending. Ensuring the flow of goods and services up and down the class system. That said there are four classes in Solarian socity, Poor, Middle Class, Public Servant, Wealthy, upward and downward mobility is at a blinding pace in less than a year a solarian can be rich, become poor, work as a public servant till his debt is paid, and stay middle class. For a few years before the process starts all over again.
   Solarians are on the verge of being a different species, they modify their bodies quite a bit, though always remain humanoid, and it is considered bad form and humiliating to have grotesque mutations to appearance is a major factor in some circles.
   Other than that they tend to be culturally chaotic, and artistic, hard to tie one of them down with an idea or the Status quo, and always pushing ideas as far as they will go. Even the senate changes constantly, though it’s mission never does.
« Last Edit: March 08, 2011, 03:32:53 PM by Ironwolf85 »

Offline Wraith

Re: Diaspora: Building a Universe
« Reply #22 on: March 08, 2011, 02:02:16 PM »


High Culture
Strong central government

Sheng is a system of a single yellow dwarf star (I'm tinkering with making it a red giant instead) with six orbiting planets. Jie is the fourth world from the sun and the most Earth-like of them all, two of them being barren planets and two being gas giants, with the third from the sun having some potential for life.

Tian: The planet closest to Sheng, it is bereft of any atmosphere and simply a floating piece of rock. A few religious sects of the Qiu empire believe that Tian is the original homeworld of the Sheng people. This is condemnded as heresy as part of offical Imperial policy.

Xing: The second planet away from Sheng. Xing is a death world, by human standards. It has a thin atmosphere, enough to form clouds and cause acid rain, but not enough to stop major meteorite strikes. As a result, Xing is a collection of high mountains and deep acid oceans. Qiu astronomers believe Xing to be an ocean world where water elementals live. Xing is officially designanted to be the resting place of the Water Dragon.

Xing has one moon. It is thought to be the Water Dragon's child, who will one day take her mother's place and usher in an age of floods.

Huo: The largest of the rocky planets, Huo was originally a lush and verdant world. Some ten thousand years before the starship Xingguo crash-landed on Jie, Huo was hit by two massive meteors and underwent a worldwide extinction event. Nearly all traces of life were completely destroyed, leaving only the oceans with some plant-like organisms and some bacteria alive. In the time since, life has slowly began to stretch its feelers out once more. Perhaps, if left undisturbed, in a few hundred million years, Huo can again become the paradise it once was.

Huo is revered as the consort of Sheng, as the Mother Goddess, who gave her life in an effort to birth Jie. Some heretical sects believe that Jie was actually born by stealing Huo's life energy.

Huo has two moons, neither of which are exceptional in any way.

Jie: The world where the residents of the starship Xingguo crash landed on. Jie has two major continents and both have major human populations, both from different ethnic and cultural stock. The outlook here is based on the descendants of the colony-ship Xingguo. They called themselves the Sheng people. The Sheng are completely unaware of the other human civilization present on the world and vice versa.

Zhuo: A gas giant 1.2 times the size of Jupiter. It has 23 moons. Zhuo is visible in all its magnificent glory on particularly clear nights. Zhuo is revered as the Prince of Heaven and the Keeper of the World and each of its moons is counted as its consort.

NC-00056: The last planet of the system, Sami is about 5/6th the size of Neptune. It has not yet been discovered by the Qiu astronomers. It's designation is based on the original records on the Xingguo.

The Sheng people/The Qiu Empire

Physiology: The Sheng are the cultural descendants of Earth's East Asian civilizations. They are almost completely human. Genetic engineering on the original colonist stock and adaptations to the peculiar ecology of Jie has meant that there are some distinct differences. The Sheng are a homogeneous race of people. They are on average stronger, faster and smarter than an average 21st century human being, but not superhumanly so.

History: When the colony-ship Xingguo landed on Jie, it was already a life-bearing planet, with the complexity and diversity of the life present roughly analogous to Earth's Cambrian era. The atmoshpere was rich in nitrogen, but not oxygen. However, the soil was biochemically compatible with Earth plants (after some genetic tampering) and a few decades after the ship had landed, forests of Earth plants had taken over sizeable portions of the planet. This coupled with nuclear technology artifically creating and releasing oxygen into the atmosphere meant the process of terraforming and colonization was greatly hastened. This at first meant the widespread destruction of the existing ecology, as the toxic oxygen reacted negatively with existing life. Realizing the impending disaster, the colonists erected sealed domes over the existing forests and worked on producing strains of native life compatible with oxygen-based respiration and set them into the wild. Careful overseeing and accelerated genetic tampering meant the desirable result was achieved within two thousands years or so. Finally, the humans were ready to live in the open.

Ten thousand years have passed since then. Unfortunately, three distinct cataclysms have meant that the technological level of civilization of Jie has been greatly retarded. An outbreak of disease some two hundred years after the settlement of Zhan Xin caused the death of 90% of the population. The colony never really recovered from this. Much specialist knowledge was lost, especially in the hard sciences. The knowledge cores of the Xingguo filled the gap somewhat, but the level of expertise present before the incident was never matched again.

Zhan Xin survived this disaster and expanded. Political fragmentation had not occurred, thanks to an anarchistic model of division of duty and scarcity of resources tackled by limited but effective replication technologies. By modern standards, Zhan Xin was an utopia. Then, the First Ice Age fell upon Jie and the dream was lost.

For three thousand years, ice dominated the world. While Zhan Xin had the technology to cope with this disaster, they no longer had the expertise required to apply and adapt. Zhan Xin died within the first three centuries of the Ice Age and its glory was lost. Humanity retained some technology. But the severity and longevity of the Ice Age meant that at the end of those three thousand years, humanity had effectively gone back to the Stone Age.

It took another three thousand years for 'civilization' to rise again on Jie. The equivalent of the Bronze Age was established. Many petty empires fought against each other and life was brutal and short. But the human thirst of knowledge had not been quenched and science and engineering was born anew. This is when the third, and in hindsight, the least of the cataclysms struck.

The oceans of the world rose up and drowned the lands. A comet, brushing low against the atmosphere, might have been responsible. These same comet caused upheavals on Jie's sister planet Huo, which some claimed later on a sign of divine displeasure. At any rate, two-thirds of the existing empires died and the population was in the hundredths of what it had been before.

It is now approximately four thousand years since the Great Flood. About 150 years ago, the great Qiu crusade began and since then the nations of the Jie have been brought under the banner of the Qiu Emperor, the single greatest empire the world has ever seen. Barbarians lurk at the corners of the nation, but the overwheming majority of human beings on Jie are Qiu citizens and proud to be so. Much of what was lost in the Flood has been regained and far beyond. The pursuit of knowledge, whether the practical or the esoteric, is the noblest of all pursuits in the eyes of the Sheng people and with this outlook, science and technology has advanced greatly. The world is now approximately at the technology level of Classical Greece or Tang Dynasty China.

Culture: The Sheng are a diverse people. The Qiu empire is less than a hundred years old, all told and it has many different tribes and clans under its rule. There are, however, some overarching similarities.

The Qiu are at once a very pragmatic and a very spiritual people. They meld the two aspects of life skilfully. They place great value on the intellect, on learning and on imagination. Art and poetry are considered high-minded and worthwhile pursuits, as is theater. Craftsmen are highly respected and many only create pieces for decoration. High and low literature both exists, with the former focusing on philosophical, spiritual and religius dilemmas and the latter existing only to entertation or titillate.

The Qiu place great weight on law and order and the promulgation of Imperial edicts and the formation of a legal bureaucracy that has authority over all citizens has been one of the greatest achievements of the Qiu Empire. The bureaucracy is not hereditary. Instead, nation-wide examination are held to choose the most worthy candidates. Promotions are based on further examinations or the personal patronage of high-ranking officials.

Qiu women, especially in urban areas, have great freedom. Not only can they hold high positions in the bureaucracy or in the clergy, they can be the heads of their houses and can become influential Council members. In fact, the current Emperor's mother had been the Empress and her husband simply the Prince Consort. Women are expected to be highly cultured and educated, to be intelligent and charming, to be able to hold their own at any level of society. Women are, however, expected to marry and marry well.

Women are barred from three professions - They cannot join the military as soldiers. They cannot become tax-collectors. They cannot become scribes. Also, two professions are exclusively for women - Courtesans for high nobility and officialdom and street prostitutes are both expected to be women. Any man offering sex for money, if found, is promptly executed.

Politics: The Qiu Empire is a bureaucratic dictatorship. The greatest power is invested in the Emperor. He is no figurehead. However, his power is held in check by two entities - The Council of Blessed Members and the Ministry of Welfare, Finance and Divine Grace. The Council of Blessed Members is a representative council. The Empire is divided into 72 provinces, each province broken down into smaller units. One province has one Blessed Member. They are elected. All must vote, except for farmers, prostitutes and the untouchables. The Blessed Members have the power to suggest, pass and veto laws, undertake development projects in their provinces and own a personal army. Anyone can legally become a Blessed Member, if enough people vote for him. The Ministry controls finance and trade, co-ordinates cultural activities, oversees military duties and acts as liaison with the religious sects.

Each province also has a Governor, personally appointed by the Emperor, often a family member or close friend. The Governor is primarily a military figure, but he also has every right that a Blessed Member has, other than the ability to pass laws.

Religion: The official religion of the Qiu Empire and that which the majority of the Sheng people practice is the worship of the Heavely Triad. The Sun is Sheng, the Creator and the Fatemaker. Huo, the third planet, is the Mother - now dead, but alive in spirit. The most important deity is represented by Zhuo, known as the Prince of Heaven and the Keeper of the World. The Qiu Emperor is believed to be descended from Zhuo.

Other than this central Trinity, small gods and goddesses and spirits are readily worshipped, as are ancestors. Complex and advanced philosophies exist where, for example, Fate is exalted as the primary motive force of existence or where the human condition is thought to be a chrysalis form.

There are a few heretical sects. One believes that Jie was born by leeching the Mother's energy. The sect believes that the center of the world hides a great evil and that Zhuo's true task is not to keep humanity safe, but to keep this evil from escaping and killing Sheng like it killed the Mother. One other sect believes that Tian is the original homeworld of humanity and that some great sin forced them to be exiled from that world. They seek to return to Tian through meditation and other practices.

Technology: The Qiu Empire is as scientifically and technologically advanced as Bronze Age China, specifically the Sui/Tang Dynasty times. There exist woodblock printing, fairly advanced medicine, advanced mathematics and astronomy, advanced time-keeping, primitive automatons and mechanical devices, advanced construction techniques and chemistry.

Resource Limitations: Unknown to the Sheng people, certain metals are rare on this planet. This includes iron. This limitation is not something they will become aware of for some time.

Arable land, however, is a problem already. The Emperor is keenly aware that most of the arable land in the Empire is already in use. Outside the Empire, there are mountains, deserts, salt flats and jungles, but no clear valleys or forests, where the soil is right for agriculture. This is a great concern as the Empire's population slowly grows.
« Last Edit: March 08, 2011, 02:07:13 PM by Wraith »

Offline Athos

Re: Diaspora: Building a Universe
« Reply #23 on: March 08, 2011, 03:44:52 PM »
it'll be randomly with some die rolls

first i'll roll our positions on the chart in my first post to jumble up our order.
then on a
1-2, you link to the person below you
3-4, you link with two people below you
5-6, you link to three people below you

Rolled on: 2011-03-08 13:42:22.024377

1d6 → [2] = (2)

So based on that, it looks like I link up with TheDon's Chirea system

Offline Tomalak

Re: Diaspora: Building a Universe
« Reply #24 on: March 08, 2011, 03:54:46 PM »
Rolled on: 2011-03-08 13:42:22.024377

1d6 → [2] = (2)

So based on that, it looks like I link up with TheDon's Chirea system
I believe it was BEN's intent that we finish all the systems, and he randomize our 'locations', before determining connections.