Coriolis Archive.   Posted by The Dark Between the Stars.Group: 0
The Dark Between the Stars
 GM, 3 posts
Sat 1 Dec 2018
at 01:31
Coriolis Archive
1. About the Game

The Setting

Coriolis - The Third Horizon has been described by its creators (Swedish published Fria Ligan) as "The Arabian Nights in Space," and like Firefly, but influenced by Middle Eastern instead of Old West culture, with deep-space horror and retrofuturistic spaceships like Ridley Scott's Alien.

It is set in a remote cluster of star systems called The Third Horizon, a place ravaged by conflicts and war, but also home to proud civilisations, both new and old. The "First Come" colonists of old worship the Icons, while the newly arrived Zenithians pursue an aggressive imperialistic agenda through trade and military power.

In this game, you will crew a space ship and travel the Horizon. From the Monolith in the jungles of Kua to the floating temples of Mira, the Horizon is yours to explore. You can be traders, explorers, mercenaries, pilgrims or agents. Whatever your calling is, together you will make your own fate. You will explore the ancient ruins of the Portal Builders, undertake missions for the powerful factions and partake in the game of political intrigue on Coriolis station – the centre of power in the Third Horizon. You might even encounter strange beings from the Dark Between the Stars. In the end you might even discover the truth about the mysterious Emissaries and the threat of the Dark Between the Stars.

My hope is to present the world so that it's easy to understand, as a unique science fiction setting with characters that have names, looks, and a culture that is just a little bit different than what we experience in most media. If you're new to the setting or unfamiliar with Middle Eastern cultural influences, don't be intimidated. We're all learning it together, including myself.

A good kickoff point is the Coriolis Quickstart. At 74 pages, it is easily the most extensive Quickstart I've seen, and its art and text help set the tone for the game. Again, don't be intimidated, a lot of this is art (p.6-10 Setting Background, p.12-25 basic rules, 27-45 combat rules, and past that is an adventure that I'd rather you not read in case I crib some elements from it).

This Game & My Style

Coriolis is fundamentally about the story of a few individuals and their ship. You'll choose a group concept, choose a ship, build your characters, and explore the world.

  • I'll be running this very much as a Space Opera style game, and while I definitely value a sense of verisimilitude, the experience will give more primacy to the dramatic and cinematic rather than strict realism or exact simulation.
  • I aspire for this game to be a story focused roleplaying experience set in a unique setting, filled with mystery, mysticism, danger, adventure, and romance.
  • As a disclaimer, because I want everyone to have the game they're looking for, this is expressly not a game that will feature simulationist 'hard sci-fi' or a heavy focus on tactical combat. I cast no aspersions on those, they just aren't what I'll be running here. I may eventually replace the game's combat system with something house-ruled which is more narrative in nature.
  • I will attempt to update the game at least twice a week. I'll appreciate it if you can do the same.

2. Group Concept

Characters in Coriolis are the crew of their own (well, mostly their own) ship based around one of the following five group concepts:
  1. Free Traders
  2. Mercenaries
  3. Explorers
  4. Agents
  5. Pilgrims

Your group can consist of all kinds of individuals – the group concept only outlines your most basic reason for sticking together in the Third Horizon. The group concept will also tell you what type of ship you will begin play with, what group talent you will have, and who your patron and nemesis will be.

The information below describe what each group concept is and what you might expect from a game based around them. It doesn't limit your future decisions in character, but just helps provide an initial structure for the game.


Commerce is what greases the wheels of the Third Horizon,
and the hub of trade in the region is the space station Coriolis.
The free traders are the entrepreneurs and innovators of the
Horizon, embracers of the new order – with a few exceptions.
Tariffs, tolls, and bureaucrats looking to make a quick buck
abusing the trade system are all things despised by any free
trader. As Free Traders, you will portal jump between the
different systems of the Third Horizon, hauling everything
from goats on ice or farm machinery to candied Kabra bugs
and illegal Vulcan carbines. In small freighters or enormous
bulk haulers, you travel silent routes in an ocean of cold
starlight. Slipping past corrupt toll collectors, blockade ships
and corsairs is all part of your thrilling lives.

The Free Traders group concept can also be used for:
  •   Smugglers carrying illegal cargo to the highest bidder.
  •   Bulk haulers on lonely routes with heavy loads.
  •   Couriers delivering valuable information.


Not all can enjoy the peace and prosperity of the new era. Old
wounds fester in the dark, and the absence of peace means
plenty of job opportunities for people like you: Mercenaries.
As such, you are often both feared and scorned, yet valuable
pawns in the power plays of the factions. Mercenaries can be
anything from Legionnaires to hired guns for the Consortium.
Typical jobs for you would be crushing rebels on Uharu-9, hunting
corsairs in the Border Space, or toppling Dabaran pashas.

The Mercenaries group concept can also be used for:
  • Corsairs plundering careless free traders on lonely routes.
  • Rebels fighting to free their people from oppression.
  • Tactical teams performing whatever military operations the
  • factions might require.


The Horizon is full of mysteries to uncover. You are truth seekers
who refuse to settle for the Bulletin’s oversimplified version
of reality. It’s all there, if you just scratch the surface a little.
Explorers not only delve into the past, they also push beyond the
frontiers of the Horizon – as colonists, curious anthropologists
or traveling journalists. As Explorers, you dig through the frozen
ruins on Surha, the remnants of the Portal Builders in the jungles
of Kua, or search for forgotten colonies along the Enau Arm.

The Explorers group concept can also be used for:
  • Prospectors seeking valuable minerals in dangerous asteroid belts.
  • Colonists valiantly claiming new settlements for the peoples
  • of the Horizon.
  • Correspondents reporting the news no one else dares to.


Birr and Legionnaires are not always the best tools for a
faction – sometimes, more subtle means are required. This
is where the Agent cells come in. Typical jobs for a group of
Agents might be infiltrating Dabaran courts, assassinating
dignitaries, tracking down lost relatives, or just keeping the
scum on Coriolis in check.

The Agents group concept can also be used for:
  • Judicators keeping the Coriolis station free from criminals.
  • Assassins making sure that troublemakers disappear.
  • Detectives for hire.


The Pilgrimage is an important rite for everyone in the
Horizon, and for some it is their calling. Other pilgrims
travel for different reasons than to visit the holy sites: looking
for work, searching for wisdom, or spreading joy to the
Horizon as traveling circuses. Lastly, there are the nomads
of the Horizon. They usually remain in one system or one
sector, but sometimes they also travel through the dangerous
portal fields. Regardless of why you travel, your lives will be
hard and painful. Getting to visit the Dome of the Icons on
Coriolis, the Leaning Prayer Tower on Algol, Mira’s Icon City,
or the temple city of Lotus on Dabaran is achieved only by the
truly dedicated – as is experiencing the joy of the audience as
Kassar the Nimble performs his triple salto mortale.

The Pilgrims group concept can also be used for:
  • “Hands” – traveling workers taking jobs where they are to be
  • found.
  • Traveling circuses made up of entertainers and performers.
  • Space nomads, perpetually trudging the starry void.

3. Character Creation

Roll for Origin
Choose your Upbringing (Include chart)
Choose a Concept (Include List)
Determine your Reputation Score
Choose a Name
Choose an Appearance
Distribute your Attribute Points.
Determine Hit Points and Mind Points.
Distribute Skill Levels.
Choose a Talent.
Randomly Determine Icon & Icon Talent
Choose a Personal Problem
Choose your Relationship to the other PCs
Choose your Gear
Choose your Crew Position

  • Roll a d6 to determine your character's place of Origin.
  • Decide whether you want to be a human or a biosculpted Humanite (lower reputation, but start with an additional Talent).
  • Roll a d66 (2d6, but the first digit is the tens place and second is the one's place) to determine your Icon and Icon Talent.

1      ALGOL – a planet of rebels, ruined by heavy
       industry and under draconian Consortium
2      MIRA – the cradle of Firstcome culture, filled
       with temples, churches and cloister palaces.
3      KUA – the center of the Horizon, home to the
       space station Coriolis.
4      DABARAN – a barren desert with ravine seraglios,
       oasis gardens, and domed palaces.
5      ZALOS – deeply devoted to the Icon the Martyr
       (an incarnation of the Judge), locked in constant
       civil war with the heathens.
6      Choose Above or ask GM to choose

B. Choose a Name

Character names in this setting are Middle Eastern inspired. There's no requirement that the names be authentic ones that might be used in the real world, as long as they fit the general 'feel' or soundscape, they should be fine.

If you're having a little trouble coming up with a name or need a little inspiration, feel free to use one of the following generators for either a name straight up, or some ideas of character combinations that could recreate that feel for a name in this setting:

C. Choose your Character CONCEPT & Subconcept

If you don't own a copy of the Coriolis Core book, I can explain any of the concepts and subconcepts to you, and after you choose one I will provide you the relevant details.

◆◆ ARTIST – Courtesan, Musician, Poet
◆◆ DATA SPIDER – Analyst, Correspondent, Data Djinn
◆◆ FUGITIVE – Criminal, Mystic, Revolutionary
◆◆ NEGOTIATOR – Agitator, Diplomat, Peddler
◆◆ OPERATIVE – Assassin, Guardsman/-woman, Spy
◆◆ PILOT – Driver, Fighter Pilot, Freighter Pilot
◆◆ TRAILBLAZER – Colonist, Prospector, Scout
◆◆ PREACHER – Ascetic, Missionary, Prophet
◆◆ SCIENTIST – Archaeologist, Medicurg, Technician
◆◆ SHIP WORKER – Deckhand, Dock Worker, Engineer
◆◆ SOLDIER – Legionnaire, Mercenary, Officer

D. Choose your Upbringing

ATTRIBUTE POINTS               15            14             13
SKILL POINTS                    8            10             12
REPUTATION                      2             4              6
STARTING CAPITAL            500 birr     1000 birr      5000 birr

E. Determine your Reputation.

This is determined by your Upbringing. It is halved if you've chosen to be a biosculpted Humanite, and can get some bonuses from your Concept/Subconcept choices.

F. Distribute your Attribute Points and Skill Points.



Origin:                        Upbringing:
Concept:                       Group Concept:
Icon:                          Reputation:
Personal Problem:

Attribute  Score
Strength     0
Agility      0
Wits         0
Empathy      0

Hit Points (STR+AGI)
- Initial:
- Current:

Critical Injuries:

Mind Points (WIT+EMP)
- Initial:
- Current:


General       Attribute   Level
Dexterity     (Agility)     0
Force         (Strength)    0
Infiltration  (Agility)     0
Manipulation  (Empathy)     0
Melee Combat  (Strength)    0
Observation   (Wits)        0
Ranged Combat (Agility)     0
Survival      (Wits)        0
Advanced      Attribute   Level
Command       (Empathy)     0
Culture       (Empathy)     0
Data Djinn    (Wits)        0
Medicurgy     (Wits)        0
Mystic Powers (Empathy)     0
Pilot         (Agility)     0
Science       (Wits)        0
Technology (Wits)           0


Relationships (Choose Buddy)
  • PC 1
  • PC 2
  • PC 3
  • PC 4
  • PC 5






Begin assuming a Group Scenario, but start in Flashbacks to a critical moment in the character's development.

As part of the RTJ, ask the question:

What set your character on the path of being part of this ship's crew?
Use a similar character creation from another games with life events, secrets, etc. The life events should build toward a flashback point. Each character will have an individual flashback scene at some point - maybe to start the game.


We can create a situation with a few elements that might have appeal to the different group concept types. I think that Free Trader/Explorer/Pilgrim and Mercenary/Agent are good groupings for two primary hook situations. We can build around this.

Free Trader - Given a job to move a shipment for X amount of money.
Explorer -


1. For each Concept, create an opening scenario that leads the PC down a variety of paths, each of which are tailored to one of the particular concepts and subconcepts. There will be some light rails here; let them know ahead of time.

2. Once characters are created, each PC will have their own 1v1 story arc with the GM. They will get to explore the concept, setting, and system during this time (and prove out its viability).

3. Create a common endpoint for the aforementioned scenarios, so that the PCs reunite. They should then have some reason to band together, choose a group concept, and select a patron (nemesis selection should come with this together). This should have been predetermined based on RTJ choices (in which they rank their preferences for Group Concept). Basically need to create one short scenario for each of the different endpoints.

4. There should be a mission then on how they will go about getting a ship.


Artist - Tasked with persuading someone of something.
Data Spider - Tasked with gathering a particular piece of information.
Fugitive - You've made contact with a fence that is promising to get you something you need.
Negotiator - An information broker is promising to provide you with a secret that could aid you in your negotiation or a trade you're about to make if you do a favor for him.
Operative - Could vary wildly. If Assassin, take out someone dangerous. If Spy, can be information gathering.
Pilot -
Preacher -
Scientist -
Shipworker -
Soldier -
Trailblazer -

Each of these should be a simple "three act play" in which a character is:

1. Introduced to the setting and a faction they're associated with, begin laying some background and roleplaying.
2. Given a job, then having them do it.
3. Introduced to the patron, who asks them to join him later that day for an interesting proposal.


Welcome, travelers of the Third Horizon. May the blessings of the Icons be upon you.

We're going to begin with a little group formation. Your combined character sheet submissions determined that

In the Third Horizon, having a ship is the means to lifting oneself above a life of subsistence and achieving one's goals. A ship is the means to acquiring freedom, wealth, and the pursuit of one's destiny. To have a ship usually requires having a crew of people who are at least somewhat like-minded, finding someone to provide a loan, and a willingness to work to pay that off.


Choose Group Concept and Refine, come up with story
Choose Group Talent
Identify Patron
Say "We'll need eventually to choose crew positions, but now we're going to move into character creation and come back to that. Just to have something to think about, the following are the crew positions: ..."
Choose Crew Positions
Choose Relationships

This message was last edited by the GM at 22:19, Wed 23 Jan 2019.