Starslinger Setting.   Posted by Game Master.Group: 0
Game Master
 GM, 2 posts
Thu 21 Apr 2022
at 01:15
Starslinger Setting
Starslinger is a Space Western. You can expect all the typical Space Cowboy stereotypes and some other Space Opera archetypes incorporated as well.

Somewhere in the late 21st century, there was a series of cataclysmic events that wiped out a large portion of the population. Among the events included a nuclear apocalypse, but scholars talk about tsunamis, mega volcanoes, plagues, mass hysteria, EMPs, and many other things that went wrong at this time. These events are simply referred to as "the Cataclysm" for short. Many historical archives and technologies were lost, leaving later archeologists historians to piece things together. There's a lot of historical disagreement among scholars, so things are a little fuzzy on human history before the Cataclysm. However, this results in a lot of myth and political propaganda of previous time periods merging into history, leaving humanity with an unclear view of itself. It took many generations for humanity to get back on track, though many areas of the world remained unlivable for various reasons.

As humanity recovered, we began exploring our solar system. With newer technologies that allowed us to travel between our planets with relative ease, it was a new frontier for prospecting. Mining ores, minerals, and even water from various celestial objects became the new gold rush. The new Martian colonies were eager to purchase whatever they could to hasten the arduous task of terraforming their new world. It was at the height of this time that the Signal first arrived.

The first report of the signal was from a mining operation deep in the farthest reaches of the Asteroid Belt. Some just thought it was interference, except the repetitive pattern made it seem like a signal. Due to Good Samaritan laws agreed upon by the United Nations of Sol, they were required to investigate. Upon sending out a pod to enhance the signal (for fear that it might be a distress signal from a lost ship) it was discovered the signal was coming from deep space and was in fact a repetitive artificial signal.

No one took this report seriously until other mining operations started intercepting the same signal. Even then, many dismissed it as astro-noise until a team of scientists decoded the cipher and translated it into a language. It was computer code with a message that translated to visual symbols in a consistent language. They'd intercepted a signal from an unknown alien race.

The worlds stood still on the day of the official announcement. Not only were we not alone...someone was talking to us. The signal was pointed at us from another star not far away that could feasibly have life. Space exploration had another boom after this discovery. Who were they? What could they teach us? Were they friendly? Do we need to defend ourselves? So many questions went unanswered.

It was not long before humanity decided to send messages back towards the star from whence the original signal came, knowing full well it would be years before a response could return. Except that hours after we finally sent an official response to the original signal, a new one was sent back to us...

Scientists scrambled to translate the new signal. It was shorter. It simply said, "We are coming to you."

Humanity is ablaze with excitement. An advanced alien race was already near our solar system and on their way to meet us. People took the news in various ways. Some people were excited to meet our alien friends while others feared a race with superior technology may be planning to invade and conquer. Businesses scramble to prepare for the unknown and many people find religion really quick trying to wrestle with the prospect.

But as if this was not enough, many reports of alien encounters began flooding the networks. Most are unverified but some were questionable. People reported talking with alien creatures in their dreams or during life-threatening events. Many of these stories involved the witness claiming to be gifted with knowledge or powers to prepare humanity for their arrival. Some of these stories go unexplained, but most were dismissed as simply hysteria due to the news of the impending first contact.

That is, until people started developing psychic powers that were verifiable and revealing information that no civilian could possibly know. Many governments are having trouble verifying these stories and dealing with the already growing mess of cults, drugs, smuggling, and human trafficking that skyrocketed with the news of the alien visitors.

To help contain the chaos, the UNS have agreed to block all outgoing signals from humanity towards the Signal's Origin except those which are explicitly authorized by the highest levels of government. Since then, there has been no officially recognized messages received from the unknown alien race. At least not publicly.

You are a mercenary or contractor exploring the fringes of our solar system. Perhaps you're a gun for hire or maybe a traveling doctor? You could be a professional smuggler or spy, possibly even an arms dealer or criminal lawyer. Whatever you do, your work is privately contracted away from the prying eyes of the inner worlds' tight rules and autocracy. This is where you can make the real money.

At the moment, you're working for Captain Lance Jehnko, a charismatic gentlemen who has assured you that going into business together will be lucrative. He's given you your own private quarters on his ship, the SS Nirvana, and supplied you with the tools of your trade. Despite starting your journey in debt to him, he's been amenable and accommodating and also doesn't seem to ask questions about your past. Which is good for you.

Your teammates seem about as unscrupulous as you and you get the feeling you're among other rejects, refugees, outlaws, fugitives, scoundrels, and criminals alike. But the team seems to be very effective thus far.

There aren't really different playable races in Starslinger as much as there are different origins. You can have only one origin from the following list.

There are still many debates over what distinguishes true Artificial Intelligence from Virtual Intelligence. However, AIs that have developed sapient egos including both self awareness and some form of ambition or survival instinct effectively function the same way a person would. By their nature, true AIs are individuals, and merging with other AIs or hivemind networks causes them to lose their individuality (essentially die and become part of the network). For this reason, AIs are careful to protect their CPUs. AI rights are still under hot debate, and few places recognize them as people with rights. AIs must be extremely careful and cautious how they interact with organics. They are essentially a new race and many of them came online only recently around the same time psychics began appearing. There is some suspicion that there's a correlation between VIs evolving into AIs and humans evolving into various mutants and psychics, but this is only speculation. All androids begin play with a single robotic chassis roughly between the size of a human adult or human child, and with similar physical capacities. Androids can purchase and install upgrades, but like anyone else, they have to gather the resources.

Cybernetic implants have become fairly commonplace, though more advanced augmentations are incredibly expensive and difficult to maintain. The best cybernetics are restricted only for military personnel, the wealthy and connected, and those employed by such entities. Many employees have cybernetic implants placed in them on loan from their employers and they work years to pay them off. Having an implant or two that replaces a body part has no real statistical effect on a character but some individuals have so many implants that distinguishing between man and machine gets...fuzzy. These folks are referred to as cyborgs.

Though cyborgs and mutants are still human in all the ways that count (and androids are debatable), most humans simply don't have fancy augmentations or powers. They rely on skill, talent, expertise, knowledge, and proper tools to get the job done...and the occasional string of luck. Humans do have a benefit in that they do not trip any Augmentation Scans that specifically attempt to find cybernetic implants or identify mutants, and so they are not looked upon with as much scrutiny. Sometime discretion is the greater part of valor...and crime. Really great for getting away with crime.

Due to a combination of genetic splicing, radiation exposure from the Cataclysm, and the alien anomalies, many humans have developed mutations. It's not uncommon to see strange traits such as horns, scaly skin, third eyes, and so forth among those that have developed severe mutations. Most visible mutations are vestigial, but on rare occasions mutants have interesting boons and quirks from their mutations. Most mutants suffer from debilitating conditions as a result of their mutations, but some develop superhuman capabilities as a result of them. Among the superhuman mutants, many have developed psychic powers which have become high in demand since they were discovered.

Where many superhuman powers exist among androids, cyborgs, and mutants, they all come with a cost. If you choose to play one of these origins, just be aware that it only provides so much of an edge. You are not an all-powerful wizard or monster. Your powers really don't get you much farther than most military grade weapons or tools could. The only boon to your powers is that they don't require you to lug around heavy gear to use them. Instead, your powers just tire you out.

People who have superhuman powers prefer not to use them often as they are draining. Even minor powers draw a lot of physical energy and mental focus. The fatigue and strain of a full 8-hours of work can be imposed on a powered individual in only a few minutes of heavy usage of their powers.

The longer someone can continue using their powers, the stronger their powers can work but the harder it is to focus. Losing focus by mistake is vastly different than intentionally ending a psychic effect you created. Losing focus of a power can cause extreme headaches, dizziness, temporary dementia, and even unconsciousness. In extreme cases, some psychics have pushed themselves into having strokes or aneurisms, and simply dying on the spot.

Psychics are new as we are currently in the FIRST generation. They are in high demand and there are not yet enough laws to stop the espionage and weapons dealing psychics can dish out. So despite their limitations and risks, people are hiring them like mad. People are also murdering them either due to being religious cultists who want to keep humanity pure or mad scientists who want to dissect psychic brains to figure out how it works.

In any case, being a psychic comes with pros and cons. Think carefully as to whether you want to walk around with a target on your back or not. Psychic powers are not the only way to get things done.

Much has transpired in only a few hundred years. Languages and cultures have dramatically changed from their structures before the Cataclysm. However, given this time there are a few languages and cultures of note.

Common: Spacers have developed their own tongue from generations of living in space and mixing many languages into one. Spacer creole is now the most common language in the system while off-world and is simply known as "common" among space travelers. Usually only those living on the surface call it "spacer creole".

Ancient: Some dead tongues remain in archives or museums. These are considered uncommon but learning one of the ancient tongues is considered prestigious.

Braille: Braille used to have many versions for ancient languages. Today, braille is its own universal tongue that is easily translated into the other common languages.

Clicks: Clicks is a language of clicking, clapping, stomping, tapping, or other binary noises that make up a form of communication. An ancient version of clicks was once known as Morse Code, but there were several versions which have combined into the tapping language now known as clicks.

Code: Where most people know about binary and various coding languages, actually understanding them is a different story. There are many coding languages, but there are four most commonly used ones that are referred to as the cardinal directions: Eastern Code, Northern Code, Southern Code, and Western Code. Binary is its own code but it's very slow to communicate with unless using a translating computer.

Martian: The cultures of Mars have developed four primary languages. They are often referred to in the four cardinal directions: North, South, East, West.

Roswellian: Many alien cults and pop culture enthusiasts over generations have developed a language known as Roswellian. It is said that it is the language of the aliens that contacted earth as they supposedly have visited our world before prior to the cataclysm.

Sign: There are several known sign languages: Military, Spacer, Street.

Terran: Though there were once thousands of languages and cultures on Terra, they have more or less coalesced into only four major tongues with many dialects. They are often referred to in the four cardinal directions: North, South, East, West.

This message was last edited by the GM at 17:44, Fri 13 May.

Game Master
 GM, 18 posts
Tue 10 May 2022
at 19:14
Travel between planets takes several weeks to months depending on the course and resources. If you can afford the special pods and drugs that allow humans to survive certain travel methods, travel could be restricted to only days. Most adventures take place at a particular location but may be travel across the planet or to nearby moons or asteroids. The use of robotic probes is fairly common for space exploration and dangerous jobs.

There are many core locations of human civilization: Kuiper belt, Mars, Terra.

The homeworld of humanity, Terra is the shining blue and green planet with the highest concentration of livable resources known in the solar system. It is also the only planet with a self-sustaining biosphere. Nearly 3/4th of all humanity still reside on Terra and it is a central hub of politics and organic resources. Though Terra still has many nations, it is overseen by a global government called the United Nations of Terra (UNT) which seeks to protect Terra's interests and ensure the security of their world from outside threats be they political or astronomical.

Nearly a century ago, humans began colonizing the red planet and building small artificial biospheres across Martian lands. Beneath the surface of the planet as a wellspring of water and rich minerals and microscopic life alive in the tunnels beneath the dead surface. Many biospheres dig wells to pull up life to the surface and allow it to slowly oxygenate the area while others are built underground. New geoengineering technology has also allow Martians to adjust the magnetosphere of the planet and someday possibly even its gravity and spin. Though Mars is not yet a Goldilocks planet, it is well on its way to becoming one artificially in the next few hundred years.

All across the Kuiper belt are space stations that serve as mining operations. They mine for minerals, metals, and even water found in many of the asteroids and other bodies orbiting throughout the Belt. There are eight primary colonies that serve as hubs for other smaller colonies around them. The Kuiper belt has untold wealth and no one nation has claim to it as the only way to lay claim to an area is to establish a colony within it. So mining is not only competitive and lucrative, but also dangerous, as there is little law enforcement out in the Belt. And what little law enforcement there, are restricted to being near one of the eight primary colonies.

This message was last edited by the GM at 15:57, Thu 12 May.