Monday, June 18, 2018

The Academy of Gnomic Arts


The academy of Gnomic arts is a shadowy institute dedicated to uncovering the mysteries of the extinct Gnomic Empire. The Gnomics were unparalleled engineers and roboticists, and many of their creation are still functional today. Gnomic designs have two hallmarks; biomimicry and a baroque aesthetic. Many Gnomic  instillations resemble crowded metal forests crawling with intricate insectile robots. These artificial ecosystems can change and evolve without their masters direct intervention, allowing them to adapt to a changing galaxy. Before they vanished, the Gnomics automated their trading network, ensuring that their creations would never become isolated. Today, Gnomic machines form a galactic ecology of robots .If there are sapient machine intelligences directing Gnomic machines, they've kept themselves well hidden.  

The AGA is primarily a correspondence school. Its video lessons and text files are available to anyone for a small fee. This is unfortunate, as it takes very little Gnomic engineering knowledge to get over your head. Take for instance the Qoun neural net, a flexible and self-teaching mental architecture. The Qoun can quickly adapt to aby drone body or virtual environment. However, the Qoun is so good at learning that it will quickly develop unexpected quirks and behaviors.  The AGA recommends the Qoun to beginners who lack experience, perhaps because the Qoun will provide experiences.
The rest of the syllabus is similarly fraught. Gnomic engineering can quickly grow out of control, even the simplified models the AGA uses for beginners. For this reason many governments see the AGA  as an esoteric terrorist organization and put them on the far side of their firewalls. However the AGA employs literal viral marketing, using worms to advertise in every infosphere they can reach.

Earning your bachelor degree is easy enough; you just have to survive your thesis. An undergraduate degree from the AGA opens many doors, mostly those in secure labs which maybe should remain closed. If you have a real passion for Gnomic engineering, and don't want to spend your time making mad science projects for the highest bidder, you can enroll in the AGA's graduate program, where you will spend your time making mad science projects for your professors. The program is fairly uncompetitive, as the professors of the AGA see grad students as disposable minions and admission standards only get in the way of replacing personnel. The good news is that with such a manpower shortage, it's easy to get your choice of assignment.

To earn your doctorate, you must complete a doctoral thesis project, and your project must survive testing by the thesis board, a motley collection of bitter and near sociopathic professors. The AGA believes in survival of the fittest, and your creation will be forced to battle the board's prized dream killers. There's always the option to unilaterally declare a review and spring your creation on the board without warning, in what is called a thesis offence. This is a good way to earn a tactical advantage, as well as some powerful enemies. Success can carry additional complications as well, as if you create a vacancy in the board you will be asked to fill it.

Races

AGA philosophy holds that Gnomic engineering is the highest, most perfect form matter can take, and that all mortal endeavors are ultimately leading to the rediscovery of the lost principles the Gnomics used to create their great works. To this end, many professors and students choose to become Gnomic cyborgs, incorporating Gnomic machinery into their own bodies. In addition to being high quality cybernetic parts, Gnomic prosthetics subtly communicate with their owners through the neural linkages. Gnomic cyborgs find themselves with strange instincts and urges that tie them into the Gnomic ecosystem. This machine intuition makes them excellent investigators, but there's always the danger that they'll go native, choosing to forsake their origins and join the Gnomic world.

The AGA has many member who are infolife, digital lifeforms, including a great many Counter Gnomics. Counter Gnomics are viral Sapients who infect Gnomic infospheres and corrupt Gnomic architecture for their own ends. There are many factions within the Counter Gnomics, one of them being the Preservers. They seek to understand and live in harmony with the Gnomic system, instead of changing it for their own ends. They are closely allied with the Academy and many of their leaders have at least a bachelor's degree. Preservers  usually choose to live in meatspace, inhabiting robot bodies. An aggressive sub-faction calling themselves the Digital Destiny chooses to colonize non-Gnomic infospheres to the dismay of Admins across the Galaxy

Planets

Gnomemart is a planet central to the automated Gnomic trade routes. It's here that the Gnomic economy interfaces with the outside economy. Gnomemart is a planet wide shopping mall grown according to strange algorithms. The stores here sell procedurally generated goods designed to be eye catching if not necessarily useful. Toys, weapons, spaceship parts, everything is for sale somewhere among the  twisting malls and arcades. Visitors can exchange scrap and busted technology for virtual currency at a very reasonable rate. The Academy has a dedicated outpost here, where they buy mass quantiles of drones looking for rare or interesting specimens. Most are cheap and shoddy, but a few are of high quality. The outpost is under constant threat from the Mall Rats, tribes of savage organic squatters who are heavily equipped but malnourished. 

The Proving Grounds is a planet covered in oceans of Nano assemblers; vast silvery pools of tiny robots. The Academy uses this place as a skunkworks for their more ambitious projects.  Through infiltrating the Gnomic infosphere, they can give the assemblers instructions to make whatever they desire. The Academy outpost here is under constant siege by Gnomic sentinels who emerge from the oceans at regular intervals. The infosphere is also dangerous, home to a three way war between the Academy, the Gnomic immune system and a clan of Counter Gnomic settlers who wish to make the planet their home.

The Sphere Swarm is a Dyson cloud around a blue sun. Here is a metal reef in the void of space, teeming with machine life. Gnomic designs of every imaginable type are on display here, but the real stars are the spheres. There are trillions of them in this system, ranging from the size of a human head to a small planetoid, each festooned with unique, intricate patterns. The AGA outpost here is devoted to cataloguing each and every one of them. The researchers here are strange, even by AGA standards. They are all utterly dedicated to their Sisyphean task, spending hours on perilless space walks taking photographs, risking life and limb checking their electromagnetic nets. Sometimes they get lost in the rapture of that airless mechanical sea, disappearing only to turn up months later having replaced their head with a glowing sphere, ready and eager to return to work. The infamous gnomic death spheres come here to spawn, releasing great clouds of small spheres. This is the most dangerous time, as the robotic predators get riled up by easy prey.

Personalities 

Degravo is a grad student at the AGA outpost in the Sphere Swarm. He is an okay researcher, but an excellent drug dealer. He is the lynchpin of a thriving network of narcotic software programmers. If a particular piece of code can get you fucked up, he knows somebody who's tried it. He maintains a database of open source entheogenic programing, and a more secure database of pirated proprietary software. He lives in a dorm module in the Sphere Swarm where he can be found spaced out in a cluster of his sphere head roommates*

Professor Gonmra Divalo is in charge of the outpost on Gnomemart. He has a severe gachapon addiction; funneling large amounts of Academy funds into randomized vending machines. He is still an effective administer, as he needs a functioning outpost to feed his habit. He is very easy to bribe with rare collector's items. He is a middle aged human who pilots a beetle shaped drone tank. It is lightly armed, as most compartments are filled with trading cards and gewgaws..

Professor Quon Hosp is the head of the Thesis board. She is vindictive and paranoid. Based in the Proving Grounds, she has a network of spy drones she uses to monitor all grad students on the planet. When challenged she deploys her Killer Enigma, some kind of powerful info weapon that erases all memories of itself from bystander's minds. She spends most of her time in her fortified office letting her spy drones crawl over her, listening to their reports.

*Sphere heads are those confused souls who have replaced their heads with Gnomic machinery.  Degravo is questionably one of their number, though as a Counter Gnomic he built a body with a Sphere for a head, instead of losing his original brain somewhere in the Gnomic wilds. Depending on what programs he's running, he can be way more coherent than his roommates.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

The Republic of SeaSerpents


The Republic of SeaSerpents is founded on the idea that mass makes right. Its citizens are all large predators, formerly warriors of the Floozy Empire, who grew sick of the Bastard war. They became tired of taking orders from the small life forms they were created to protect, and sized a chunk of the disintegrating empire for themselves.  This new Republic would be a realm where the true powers could rule over their lessers with strength and wisdom. In the millennium since the end of the Bastard war, this vision has become a reality. The Republic is a rich and powerful polity, with a strong space navy and a thriving trade network. They are somewhat insular, preferring to trade with themselves and select outsiders.

The Cycler Current is the network of trade routes that crisscross the Republic.  It is named for its oceanic cyclers, massive cargo ships that transport millions of tons of seawater from planet to planet, linking the planets of the Republic together into one vast biosphere. The cyclers also provide free transport for any citizen or ward that wishes to travel, as long as the smaller passengers don't mind potentially becoming snacks for the larger ones. There is also a sizable fleet of merchant ships that transport goods. They mostly carry vast amounts of fish, but they also deal in things like exotic elements and advanced technology. The Republic is home to some of the most lucrative mercantile opportunities in the galaxy. Outsiders are welcome to try their hand, though they should be wary. In the Republic there is no distinction between merchant and pirate, and the local firms will test any newcomers, looking for easy prey.

The Republic has three classes of sapient being; senators, citizens and wards. Wards are the vast majority in numbers, but are the lowest on the food chain. They have no rights or enfranchisement but are usually treated well enough to prevent uprisings. Their predation by the upper classes is seen as a necessary part of the social order, and is mostly a matter of capital punishment. Citizens are those Sapients that have proven their place in the ecosystem. All sea serpents are grandfathered into this class, while outsiders must earn it by spending a year in the oceans of Chamber. All citizens have the right to vote for the senator of their region, but have little legal power otherwise. Senators are the ruling class, and the biggest and nastiest of the citizen class. Republic elections are a hell of a thing, as candidates will clash and tear into each other. Most elections are settled long before any votes are cast.

Races and organzations

The titular "SeaSerpents" are not a race, rather they are a loosely related clade of bio-weapons. They all share a curious ability; they have conscious control of their gene expression and can alter their bodies at whim. Most cannot reproduce own their own, a safety feature leftover from their creators. The genes that allow for pathogenesis are controlled by the senate, only senators have the right to reproduce*. Most Sea Serpents are strictly aquatic, but some are amphibious, while a rare few have the genes to live in space.



The Jokers are a race of aquatic Sapients that live in the Republic of Sea Serpents. They get their name from their unserious disposition and cackling hunting calls. They have serpentine bodies with a hard carapace. They paint their bodies in a thousand different patterns and colors which have various cultural meanings that are mostly opaque to outsiders. They are very hard to kill, as they regenerate rapidly. Even if their body is destroyed their slug-like brain may still survive and regrow a new body. They bred at an alarming rate and place little value on individual survival. To date no Joker has earned citizenship on Chamber, but this hasn't stopped them from trying.

The Joker corporate clans handle most of the bulk commerce in the Republic. They're also the cause of most of the piracy, as rival clans will steal from each other without compunction. They will also kidnap enemy jokers by killing their bodies and abducting their brains. Joker culture holds that their personal ties die with the body, and they become loyal to whatever faction puts their brain into a convalesce pool. Their society is basically a violent but non-fatal civil war as the various clans rob and pillage each other.  They have a hard time understanding that outsiders don't live in perpetual warfare, and naïve Jokers will sometimes open up outsiders, looking for their slug.

The WhisperingWorms are symbiotic Sapients that are virtually helpless when they're outside their host. They are long thin vermiform creatures that make their homes in the G.I tracts of other creatures. A being with a whispering worm requires more food than average, but is otherwise unharmed. In return, a WhisperingWorm will moderate its host's metabolism, filtering out toxins and promoting healthy growth and development. They also regulate neurotransmitters, making their hosts smarter and healthier. A WhisperingWorm has access to the full sensorium of their host but can't communicate directly. Instead they appear in dreams and in transitory and alien mood swings. As the host becomes more familiar with their passenger, these messages become easier to decipher. Most SeaSerpents  have half a dozen whispering worm symbiotes, and they're also common among humans and Jokers. They form a scholarly class and have their own government branch, the Internal bureaucracy. They can also live inside non-sapient hosts, creating what is called a sleepwalker; a creature that acts with an odd intelligence. There are entire cities of sleepwalkers in the Republic, strange crude buildings in habited by mute beasts. Occasionally WhisperingWorms will pilot sleepwalkers to citizenship In Chamber, but Chamber is a dangerous place and even the natives don't last long. 

The Internal Bureaucracy is the administrative heart of the Republic. The Senate has the mass, but the Bureaucracy has the intel. The most important bureaucrats are the WhisperingWorms that make permanent hosts inside the senators. After every Senate meeting, The Senators barf up their symbiotes and they have their own meeting, the Convocation of Worms. Afterwards they return to their hosts (sometimes swapping around a bit). This is how the Republic is coordinated. The Bureaucracy gains its intelligence from the Current of Eyes, a loose cabal of peregrine worms who travel from host to host gathering rumors and information.

Planets

The Chamber is a gargantuan planet out in the depths of space. Its surface is a sheet of ice several miles thick. Below that there is a vast ocean full of sea monsters, a nightmarish ecosystem fueled by the planet's molten core. It is here that the Senate has its chamber, a beautiful city lit from above by an array of mirrors and lens that reflect and concentrate starlight through tunnels in the ice. This is where the citizen test is administered; any organic being who survives a year here are granted citizenship. This is rather difficult; the animals here hunt with a psychic sense that lets them hone in on sapient minds from far away. The best strategy is to be big and scary, but even then there are some huge leviathans here in the deeps.

The planet Rikkel is a terrestrial Dentata** class world in the Republic. Here, the ecosystem is organized in a strict caste system. Herbivore peasants are preyed upon by knights, which in turn are preyed upon by barons, and are themselves hunted by the kings. For obscure cultural reasons, SeaSerpents love to eat kings of all sort, and this planet is a naturally occurring source of royalty. Exports from the Kingfishery are some of the most lucrative in the Republic.

Osgren is one of the many Dentata class planets in the Republic. It has seen sporadic habitation by various SeaSerpents over the centuries but it has never been prime real estate. This is because it has an infestation of humans. They are megafauna specialists, making their living in hidden conclaves, only emerging to hunt and gather. The problem with the Osgrenites is that they will hunt anything, even SeaSerpents. And they're good at too; generations living on a death world has made them into cunning and fierce hunters;  able to surprise and overpower even the most fearsome SeaSerpents. What's worse, they have learned how to hitchhike on the Cycler Current, and have set up conclaves on several Republic planets.
The Senate was debating different methods of control or extermination when a curious development happened. A human in a cobbled together pressure suit presented himself before the Senate and announced he had completed the citizenship trial. He would not have been believed, if Senator Glarshar hadn't remembered trying to eat him in a cycler a year previously. His spear was still embed in her gums***. This man, whose name is Dav Freehold, was quickly elected Senator of Osgren and since then several other humans have passed the citizenship test.

Persona

Senator Glarshar is one of the Osgrenite's only allies in the senate. Most SeaSerpents think humans are dangerous pests and find the idea of them having political power absurd. This is almost exactly what Senator Glarshar thinks but she finds it amusing absurd instead of insulting absurd. She treats all humans as de-facto citizens, and only eats the most annoying. She is also found of granting gifts and favors to humans. (The elite of the Republic run off a gift economy, so it is wise to pay her back as soon as possible, or else she might consider your body an impromptu gift.) She appears more turtle shaped than serpentine, with a heavily armored head and a thick scaled shell. She is very interested in claiming other human colonized worlds for the Republic, an ambition her human allies find somewhat disconcerting.

While Senator Freehold is Osgren's representative in the Senate, the planet is ruled by Chairman Grantof, an ancient and wiry androgyne. Osgrenite culture revolves around hunting and cooking food; Grantof is the most respected hunter and chef on the planet. From a hollowed out volcano they oversee the Kitchen trials, a planet wide culinary competition where Osgrenites from all over compete to show off their skills.

President Skullspliter is the head of Kingfishery corporate clan; a Joker lead commercial interest that controls the monarch trade on the planet Rikkel. If you want a fresh King or Queen for your dinner table, you'll need to deal with him or outplay him. He is the host to a couple of important WhisperingWorms who are the true business savvy behind the Kingfishery; Skullsplitter himself being little more than a deranged thug. Their relationship is turning toxic, leading Skullsplitter to become even more unstable as his symbiotes play passive aggressive games with his blood chemistry.

Persona who are also places

Senator Okrine is a void adapted SeaSerpent who serves as the Republic's flagship. She is the size of a small planetoid and is bristling with cybernetic weapons. She is escorted by her smaller children and a fleet of scavenged space ships. This is the heart of the Republic's power; if an enemy fleet survives her escort and her weapons, she will simply eat them. The WhisperingWorms inside her inhabit humanoid clones called nulls with simple minds they can easily pilot.  Her insides are a massive scrapyard/recycling center as swarms of nulls take apart everything she swallows. This is how her escort fleet is maintained and expanded.

*For this reason, there is a convention to refer to Senators as female even if they are not SeaSerpents. In recent years this has been resisted by the lone human Senator.
** There is some debate about where this designation comes from. Scholars say it is because of the jaws and teeth of the planets' numerous predators. Human spacers say it's because these planets will bite your dick off
***Senator Glarshar has since gifted the spear back to Senator Freehold, where it holds a place of honor in his office

Monday, June 4, 2018

The Candy


The Candy is a berserk manufacturing program, a subversive organic plague that wishes to turn most of the universe into Candy. Thought to be a failed experiment by a Floozy client race, the Candy has spread to the dark corners of the galaxy, infesting the cracks of civilization. It has been aided in this endeavor by the Intergalactic Candy Company, a motley gang of capitalists that profit off the largess of a sickly sweet apocalypse.

The Candy can be thought of as a rouge ecosystem that spreads and destroys other ecosystems. It begins its invasions with flora, simple photosynthetic algae that smothers the native plant. As the infection spreads, the flora becomes more sophisticated and begins to spawn fauna minions to defend its beachhead. The Candy also has a wide range of pathogens at its disposal to weaken and subvert any native defenders. If the host planet resists, the Candy spawns its children, sapient candy creatures capable of using tools and tactics against the defenders.   

The threat of candy infestations is well understood in the Galactic community. Most civilized planets have procedures and counter measures to deal with the Candy. It can be difficult for the candy ecosystem to take hold, so the Candy takes a different tack. It comes to civilization in the form of a business, a corporation that only wishes to make mutually beneficial deals.  Their prime trade good is candy, obviously, but they also deal in organic feedstock and bioweapons. Though their human proxies seem like rational businessmen, economic power is just a means to an end for the Candy. Ultimately , all must become Candy.

Factions

The Candymen are the driving intelligence this spreading sweetness. They are gestalt intelligences, each arising from one of the planets in the Candy System, and each having their own strain of Candy. They are intelligent, egotistical and quite mad by conventional standards.  Those under the influence of Candy (culturally or narcotically) see them as something a kin to gods, and they tend to act like it, in a deranged classical way. Ultimately much of their energy is spent warring amongst themselves, as they are found of petty grudges and pointless intrigue.

The Intergalactic Candy Company is the public face of the Candy. Owned and operated mostly by humans, Candy Children and Candy mutants it is their job to sanitize and market the products of the Candy. They operate out of the Candy system, where they harvest and process most of their inventory. One of their major duties is neutralizing any Candy pathogens in their products, a job at which they are mostly successful*. They spend a lot of social capital on distancing their brand from the rapacious Candymen, but they are deeply entangled with those rapacious over minds.
     By volume The Intergalactic Candy company's chief product is Candy Company brand sugar syrup., which is an excellent source of CHONPS**. Chemically impoverished areas buy it in huge quantiles. It's also good feedstock for organic printers. In addition the Candy Company sells a wide array of food products, mostly candy but also a variety of beverages and some sweet and savory instant meals. Many of their products have narcotic or addictive properties. They also sell bio weapons made out of candy.

Races

Candy Children are sapient Candy creatures. They are formed when special "flavoring agents" are introduced to  sugar syrup. They vary wildly in phenotype; the major commonality being their shiny brightly colored skin. Most are a single solid color but some have dots  and swirls. In Candy Child culture those with markings are considered nobility and given positions of importance. Inside each Candy Child is a gland full of the flavoring agent that created them. There is a thriving culture of deviants who covet the flavors of Candy Children. Some of them go so far as to raise them as live stock. The Intergalactic Candy Company cracks down on those operations if they don't have the right licenses.

Most commercial Candy is quite safe, but the more potent and additive products have trace amounts of Candy Pathogen. Long term users start to suffer Candy sickness, as Candy biota begin to colonize their body. Their blood turn sugary, and their skin breaks out in vivid rashes. Those that survive the early stages metamorphoses into creatures resembling Candy Children. Culturally, these Candy Mutants are a step down on the social ladder; being newcomers to the candy flock. For this reason the humans living in the candy system strive to  preserve their humanity; there is a significant stigma around Candy sickness. For those that care about such things, Candy Mutants are said to be significantly inferior in terms of flavor.

Planets

The Dark Drop is a rogue planet drifting in deep space, far from any sun. It is artificial;  a massive machine of presumed Gnomic origin. Ancient generators thrum deep in its interior. It is their antediluvian heat that drives the candy ecosystem; midnight black sludge growing in a metal labyrinth below a sunless sky.
Here is the domain of Lady Deep night, a refined and mysterious Candyman. She cultivates a secretive and refined following. Her products are not available through the Intergalactic Candy Company, rather they must be sought out through smugglers and the black market. For those that become obsessed with her strange flavors, the next step is to travel to the Dark Drop and enroll in her mystery cult. Those that survive their initiation in the bowels of the planet gain access to exclusive products and select parties. A not insignificant portion of the galactic elite are members. The Endless Night Market is a large open air bazaar where much that is unseemly and forbidden is for sale.

The Sour Sea is the second planet from the Candy Sun. It is covered in an ocean of sour candy  juice. There is no solid land; only floating mats of vegetation. There is little civilization here. The planet is mostly inhabited by primitive tribes of aquatic Candy Children. There is a single city here, the Raft, which is a jury rigged flotilla of decommissioned space ships. Though nowhere in the Candy system do they really care about the providence of the goods they buy, the Raft in particular is the best place to find a good fence. The Digesters are a tribe of Candy Children who will buy almost anything. Valuable trade goods are laundered through their network of merchant contacts. Metal and ceramics are used to repair the Raft, which is continuously corroding. Everything else is dumped into the world ocean, where powerful enzymes break it down to turn it into candy. The Raft is also home to the kind of low rent night-life that is popular with pirates. The planet is ruled by the Bright Queen, a bold and barbarous Candyman fond of alcohol and violence.

The Crusty Crucible is a small artificial planetoid in the middle of the Candy System. Made of scavenged Obelisk dreamer tech, the Crucible is capable of generating a time acceleration field. When the field is activated, time passes much faster inside the station. The Candy uses this to speed up its own evolution. The interior is a tangled mess of a Candy biome, with strains from all the Candymen competing for space. When the field is activated, the organisms inside grow and evolve for hundreds of years in the span of a month. The resulting biota is not integrated directly into the Candy, rather it is harvested and studied by the Candy Company. The harvesting teams are colloquially called scrapers and are well paid but short lived.

Personalities 

Slightly Spicy is Lady Deep Night's Majordomo. She is a sleek and slim Candy Child with subtle red glimmers in her black skin. She oversees Dark Drop's party scene and is responsible for grooming potential initiates for the mystery cult. She is the Sapient to talk to if you want to eat a Candy Child "legally". She herself is on the menu but for an exorbitant price.

High Evolutionary Gnar Expren is the overseer of the Crusty Crucible. He sets the initial conditions before each time jump and supervises  the harvesting and research teams. He is under enormous political pressure from the Candymen, who all want to dominate the Crucible. His last five predecessors all died under mysterious circumstances, which has made him rather paranoid. He demands to see the tongues of everyone he meets with, to check to see if they're stained with candy dye, so that he may know if they're under the influence of a Candyman. Lately teams of scrapers have been disappearing, leading to tumors f feral Candy Children and chronal parasites. He is on the brink of nervous collapse and looking for outside help.

Mother's Home Cooking is the house matron of the Sump, a dive bar below the waterline of The Raft. She is a Candy Mutant, a former pirate and a member of the Digesters. She is a useful contact for current pirates but only respects those that distinguish themselves in the Sump's nightly tavern brawls.

*Once, a batch of candy was contaminated with a powerful nerve agent. The Candy company kept it on the shelves and changed the label to "Oops, all war crimes!"
**Carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen, phosphorus and sulfur, the basic elements of carbon based life.

Friday, May 25, 2018

The Jezoflorids




Jezoflorids are a race of sapient plants. They are serpentine in form, with a ring of manipulator tentacles in the front and a crown of leaves and eyes on top of their "head". This is also where their flowers and fruits grow, once they reached sexual maturity. At the rear of their central trunk is a brush like formation of roots. They need to spend roughly a third of their time with their roots submerged in nutrient rich soil, and they need a similar amount of sunlight exposure. They can also "eat" by using these roots to penetrate a variety of foodstuffs. There are over a thousand different cultivars of Jezoflorid; each represents a distinct variety of leaves, flowers, and quality of fruit.

Jezoflorids reproduce through seeds that are roughly the size of tennis balls. They require rather exacting conditions to germinate. For example, they need so much nitrogen it's almost impossible to get them to grow without fertilizer or compost. Upon germination, they grow rapidly; maturing from a sessile sprout to a motile sproutling in about a week. Their minds grow at a similar pace; they are capable of language at about three weeks of age. At this point, they enter the "skill imprinting" stage.

They become obsessed with the first task or skill they're presented with, and will devote themselves to study and practice. In this way they become useful before they fully mentally mature. Sproutlings are savants; like children that have a single adult area of expertise. After about five years, they come into bloom, signifying their passage into adulthood. At this point, their mind broadens and they become less monomaniacal. After this, Jezoflorids never stop growing. Once they grow beyond 3 meters in length, they are considered elders, but that is more of a cultural distinction than a biological one.

As flowering plants, Jezoflorids have three genders: male, female and hermaphrodite. When fertilized, female flowers grow into fruits that resemble custardy avocados. The cultural expectation is that Jezoflorids should be producing fruits whenever they are in a stable living situation. To this end, MotherCorp settlements keep colonies of pollinating insects on the premises. Jezoflorids experience a mild erotic charge when their flowers are visited by insects carrying grains of pollen. Artificial pollination is a common practice, to refine cultivars or to attempt to create new one. (Generally, this is a practice tightly overseen by MotherCorp). It is possible to transplant a flower bud from one Jezoflorid to another, a process called grafting, after which the bud can survive indefinitely. Close companions are known exchange flower buds as a symbol of love. The gender or number of participants within these arrangements do not matter.

Organizations

Mothercorp


The Jezoflorid race, and all rights and practices related to it, are owned by
MotherCorp, a galaxy-spanning Mega-Corporation. Mothercorp officially owns all Jezoflorid seeds, and adult Jezoflorids are obligated to provide their fruit to the good of the company. Jezoflorids are mostly okay with this arrangement; they say this is because most executive positions are held by Jezoflorids. In reality, MotherCorp is engaged in wide-scale social engineering projects. Mothercorp is principally an agricultural firm; while they sell agricultural products, bio-ships, environmental and terraforming services and mercenary forces, their major products are Jezoflorid sproutlings and Jezoflorid seeds.
   
The Brambles is the Military branch of MotherCorp. It is composed of adult Jezoflorids that grew up immersed in violence; as well as hordes of cannon-fodder sproutlings. MotherCorp keeps this organization on a tight leash. Having seen the horrors of war, these of all Jezoflorids know the sheer callousness of MotherCorp. As such, in times of peace, they are kept docile and weak willed through various chemical and biological agents.

The Gardeners are the grey eminence inside MotherCorp. A secretive cabal of high ranking executives, their official remit is a long term eugenics program to develop new cultivars. Their actual purpose is more sinister. They administer and prescribe social control programs to keep MotherCorp viable as a polity. Trawling the infosphere for points of critical influence, they administer agents of biological control to manipulate and manage their subjects’ behavior. For example they might drug certain personalities to make them more lethargic and less opinionated, or they might resort to more extreme measures and infect them with mind controlling parasites. Through systems like these, MotherCorp maintains a high popularity and good regard in spite of corrupt and callous practices.

Others
The Glade is a resistance movement against MotherCorp. They believe that Jezoflorids should not be selling each other into slavery, and that the pursuit of wealth is unnecessary and often immoral. Unfortunately, MotherCorp is adept at using biological agents to control minds. As such, members of The Glade exist only on the extreme fringes of MotherCorp society, and only on a few hidden worlds do they have their own backwater civilization. They have been waging a hopeless crusade for centuries. At this stage, they’ve been reduced to waging petty terrorism against MotherCorp holdings – and have done so without much success.

Personalities

Elder Moral Rectitude is the commanding officer of Bramble Patch Gamma. He is an absolute monster of a Jezoflorid, at least a half millennium old and over 30 stories long. After a long life spent in battlefields across the galaxy, he is cunning, ruthless and he always knows what you're up to. That is, that's what he's like when he's off his leash. He is far too dangerous for MotherCorp to let him have full command of his mind. He is host to a fungal parasite* that alters his perceptions and makes the world seem like a game. From his liar in the Bramble Patch he sets the objectives for the war games and watches everything play out like a befuddled old war hero. In times of extreme crises the parasite deactivates, giving him free reign. During these periods of lucidity he is hatching a secret plan to free himself. In the ashes of an emergency he plants the seeds for the next one. He is slowly assembling a scheme over decades. He has to hide his movements from his masters and from his parasite, but he is patient. He will have vengeance on MotherCorp for making him a tool, even if takes a thousand years.

At first glance, Adult Grass Star is a wide eyed glade fanatic; ranting on spaceport street corners and handing out anti-MotherCorp pamphlets.  This is an accurate impression of him but he is also a savvy businessman and fixer. He is well connected in both the Glade and the underworld, and is the plant creature to talk to about deals bridging these two worlds.

Adult Due Diligence is a low level Gardner, but the highest ranked member of that faction an outsider is likely to meet. She oversees the production of some of the more exotic cultivars on Forward Garden. Part of her job duties is handling high profile clients. She sells the cultivars she grows to anyone who has the money, without the usual "good conduct" contracts, no questions asked. She also oversees "product demos", a duty she takes unseemly, sadistic joy in. She is not above hiring Alien mercenaries as catspaws in internal MotherCorp disputes.Locations

The Vault is the "homeworld" of the Jezoflorids. It lies on the far side of the Galaxy deep in MotherCorp territory, so details are sketchy. What is known is that it is a single world tree grown around a Floozy seed vault. Weather it is supposed to be a green wonder land or a capitalist dystopia ruled by cold vegetable minds depends on who's describing it.

Forward Garden is a Forest covered resort world. In its depths there are every kind of delight and diversion a galactic aristo could hope for. It is also a major depot for the sale of Jezoflorid Sproutlings. "Law and Order" are maintained by large hostile insects.

Bramble Patch Gamma is the "Bramble Patch" closest to human space. Here on a planetwide battlefield sproutlings are trained in the various arts of war. This is no mere wargame however. The sproutlings  are split into clans and given live ammo; the idea being real war is the best teacher. The adult officers make a point to take prisoners whenever possible, but over half of the sproutlings here die before they reach maturity. This is where to hire Bramble mercenaries, the catch being they only do business face to face, requiring prospective clients to navigate a live battlefield.

    *As previously mentioned MotherCorp uses a variety of biological techniques to pacify its subjects. This particular example is small-batch artisanal mind control.



Monday, May 21, 2018

The Agredeem


Overview and history

The Agredeem  are an ordinary race of Sapients who suffer a chronic case of god emperors. Their history is rather typical, if a bit more dramatic; the regular golden ages and downfalls punctuated by episodes of consuming mania. This persisted after they developed space travel. Their domain grew steadily when sanity reined, and rapidly when it failed. After the death of a particularly twisted emperor, the Agredeem had had enough. To prevent the emergence of the next mad king, they made a panopticon state called the Totality. Through brute surveillance and statistical voyeurism it was hoped that any nascent god emperors would be discovered and neutralized. It worked until it didn't.

The end of the Totality is one of the great political mysteries of the current age. The Totality was a peaceful and open polity with many foreign visitors. One day every visiting diplomat and spy was arrested and killed. Massive crowds of Agredeem took to the streets in a violent purge of outsiders. When the dust cleared, a new God Emperor was on the throne and the Agredeem empire was back, as though the Totality was nothing but a dream.

It is a bit unfair to call the Orphan's Guild the secret police of the Totality. They were hardly a secret, and they ran fewer undercover operations than the populace believed. They could perhaps be called the final police; they were the last line of defense against their people's darker natures, the supreme watcher of the watchmen. The first sign of the end of the Totality was when their agents began to turn up dead in suspicious or improbable ways. Many of them were killed, or fell under the Emperor's sway. The few that escaped started the new Orphan's guild, a group of partisans dedicated to bring down the Empire and restoring the Totality. Their ranks have been bolstered by various Agredeem civilians who were outside the Totality when it fell. Their road is a long one; they are fifth column that can't operate in their home territory for long for fear of losing themselves to the imperial delusion. They track the movements of the Emperor and his* Great Star advisors, looking for targets of opportunity.

The power of the Great Stars

The infamous mind control of the Great stars is not something under their conscious control. Rather it is field that is projected over roughly a thousand square miles (modern great stars use psychic repeaters to effect entire star systems. A sapient being in the field (including intelligent machines) slowly has their subconscious goals aligned with the Great Star. The citizens of the empire believe on a fundamental level that their best option is to follow and obey the Great Star. They truly think that the Empire will make them happy, famous, immortal, whatever it is that they desire. This ability is not a one way street however. As the great star alters their victims subconscious, they are exposed to feedback. A Great Star is a constant nexus of outside desires and urges. This inevitably leads to megalomania, as the Great Star directs their followers to fulfill their collective Id. Great stars are prone to madness and obsession, as random bits of psychic detritus flow in and out of their minds.

It might seem as though the Great Stars are destined to control the minds of the entire galaxy. There are a couple of things stopping that. First of all, it is less effective on Non-Agredeem. It can take up to week for an average sapient to fall in line, and a well self-posed being can hold off potentially indefinitely. Second, the effect fades when a being is no longer in the area of the field (though the delusion can linger if the being doesn't have the force of will to reassert their true beliefs). Third, there is an incredible psychic cost to using the ability as a weapon of war. By linking their minds to those of the combatants on both sides, the Great Star is inundated with a wave of stress and fear. And as the Great Star is a nexus for desires and prejudices, the besieged society frequently crumbles in a dramatic and horrible fashion. War crimes and genocides are common outcomes. An Emperor who relies on their ability to conquer will be driven irrevocably insane in short order. Modern imperial doctrine is to subdue the enemy through conventional means, then bring in a Great Star to complete the pacification.

Biology and culture

The Agredeem are amphibious but are more comfortable in the water. On land, or as they say "the dry side" they are heavier and slower, plus they need to keep their skin moist or else suffer painful rashes and cracking. They also can only reproduce underwater. They practice external fertilization, with the gametes meeting each other in the water. The sexual act is not erotic as we understand it, but rather a social function. It occurs during special "orgies" that are more like parties or soirees. The participants reaffirm their social bonds over some entertainment, and at the end they release their gametes. In their pre-modern era the larval Agredeem would mature in the wild as plankton, and would have to be "harvested" from the ocean floor in order to join society. Nowadays the orgies take place in special filtered tanks, and the fertilized eggs are examined and either kept or discarded.  In this era of empire the entertainment at these orgies has grown more decadent and wicked. Gladiatorial combat and public executions are popular choices.

The Totality was a peaceful and mostly rational culture. They saw their Imperial past as a time of shame and madness, but on some level they still appreciated their colonial prosperity. Those planets that were conquered in the bad old days were incorporated into the Totality  as gently as possible, though there was some resentment form non Agredeem that found themselves living in a benevolent foreign police state.

With the advent of the new Empire the bad old days have come again. The current mood is one of manifest destiny. The Agredeem people increasingly see themselves as the rightful rulers of the galaxy. Mildly paternalistic relationships with client states are now openly colonial once more. The covetous desires of their living gods become manifest in a culture of decadent display and consumption. Before service to the state was no great honor, merely just duty. Now military officials and high ranking bureaucrats are making themselves into a new aristocrazy. Pomp and propaganda are rampart, their infosphere is a swamp of state lies and self serving delusions of grandeur. And above all of it is the God Emperor and  his advisors. Every delusion, vice and folly found in the Empire is also found in this small court. The Empire is a reflection of their twisted desires.


Notable Persons

Smell of Rotten Fruit** is the Orphan's Guild liaison for outside contractors. It is their job to recruit and handle non Agredeem agents. Mostly they feed information to pirates and privateers, but they also meet and share information with foreign spies. They're as cagey and secretive as any spook, but they have a real flair for the dramatic. They give a scented calling card to their agents bearing their signature reek, to be left behind to taunt the Empire's own counter intelligence operatives. This is part of a long term "tethered goat" strategy to lure out and capture enemy agents 


The current God Emperor is named Gradissophoul, the Revealed Path. His official bio says that he was raised by a sect of monks who guard a secret Obelisk Dreamer site on the homeworld of Agred. It was here that he was visited by a fragmentary Dreamer intelligence that revealed that he was the true inheritor of the Dreamer's legacy, and that it was his destiny to gain the powers of the Bastards for the Agredeem. This is likely nonsense;  There has never been any evidence of a Bastard presence on Agred, and the story is very self-serving. Regardless, Imperial Agredeem take it very seriously, as does Gradisophoul. In between state orgies and strategy sessions they spend their time obsessively  studying Obelisk Dreamer relics and texts. They often summon  renowned scholars to consult with. Those who keep their wits about them and resist the emperor's corrosive will report that he is about as knowledgeable as a somewhat dim grad student . Still, he has the full force of an interstellar empire to follow up on their whims and theories. A rational mind could use the emperor's private collection to make some important discoveries. Unfortunately it never leaves the empire's flag ship,  With Divine Feet we Tread

The Emperor has six Great Star "advisors" (most of them are more like henchmen), the chief of which is Xerdofistor, The Mind of God, who is the Emperor's closest confidant and psychiatrist. Her job is to keep the Emperor mentally stable, which is tricky because Xerdofistor is subject to the same extreme mental stresses all Great Stars are. Still, she seems to have a net positive effect on the Emperor, even if their relationship is dogged by rumors, the most scandalous of which is that they mate in private (Agredeem consider sexual acts with fewer than five participants perverse). The Orphan Guild theorizes that with Xerdofistor's influence the Emperor would become unbalanced, so she is under constant threat of assassination. As a result she spends much of their time on board their flagship The Inner Truth of All Minds obsessively study logs and recordings, looking for plots against her. She has a keen mind, but also a lot of psychic baggage. She finds nearly as many real conspiracies as fake ones.


Planets of Interest

The Agredeem homeworld, Agred is the site of over a hundred densely populated Arcologies. Millennium of habitation has weakened the biosphere. When the Totality ruled they devoted significant resources to stabilizing the wounded ecosystem. The empire has no such concern, shifting the economy to a war footing. Conditions in the cities are deteriorating, but the locals don't care. Those not involved in heavy industry and agriculture are building new monuments to the God Emperor and the empire. The planet is defended by a fleet of massive but slightly antique battle stations, plus whatever fleet elements are present.

Maelstrom is a colonial holding of the Empire. Before that it was a small human colony. Before that is was settled by the Obelisk Dreamers. The planet is still riddled with obelisks that are to this day producing a reality distortion field. This field manifests in the planets weather. The climate is unpredictable and often violent, with powerful storms arising and dissipating suddenly. The planet's human inhabitants survived by studying and predicting the weather. When the Empire conquered the planet, the Emperor somehow psychically interfaced with the reality field, resulting in the creation of the Imperial storm, a massive perpetual storm that rolls over the surface of the planet. While it is seen as an impressive monument to the strength of the empire, it also made an already marginally habitable planet even more hazardous. The empire keeps a few storm hardened outposts here, mostly research stations though there are all sorts of wild rumors about secret laboratories and black sites. The planet is also home to a small human cult that reads omens in the behavior of the Imperial storm.

 The water world of Emphrina bears the dubious distinction of being the only world to willingly submit to the empire without the influence of a Great Star. The native Emphrinians  were peacefully admitted to the empire, then soon after the God Emperor died under mysterious  circumstances. These two events are linked in the popular imagination and to this day no Great Star will set foot on Emphrina. Still, the Emphrinians were loyal imperial citizens, then loyal Totality citizens, and now they're back to being loyal to the empire. Emphrina is a popular resort destination for Imperial aristocrats , and the absence of Great Stars makes it ideal for those that wish to deal with the empire without becoming thrall to it.
Below the Agredeem colonies lie the Emphrinian psychodramas. Emphrinians don't have fixed identities , rather they assume different personas each cycle. These personalities range from bit players like "friendly shopkeeper" to major characters like "destined child" and "evil overlord". In the upper reaches of the world ocean they have a functional if eccentric civilization. Things are more chaotic in the lower depths; they engage in endless mock battles and invented struggles. It is theorized that there is some sort of gestalt mind directing their strange plays. If so, the best way to communicate with it may be to interface with the fiction; sending messages by manipulating dramatic elements. This is mostly conjecture, as the occupying Agredeem are uninterested in the antics of their subjects. The Orphan Guild sends the occasional expedition, hoping to unravel the mysteries of the planet.

* Traditionally Agredeem placed little importance on biological sex, and their language was gender neutral. Social importance of Gender is something they picked up from the humans on Malstrom, a sort of psychic infection they caught from our culture


**This is an obvious pseudonym. It shows that its owner has romantic and heroic notions and is maybe a little full of themselves.



Monday, May 14, 2018

Bastard Galaxy - A Primer




The Nature of our creators was war. It is said the first conflict began moments after the creation of the this universe. All that was left of the old universe were its bastard children, birthed from the war at the end of all things. They came to this virgin universe and brought their war with them. They sought to establish a new world with the knowledge gained from the old one, but they brought their  grudges and divisions with them. They built empires to sustain their war engines. At the height of the war it was almost like a golden age. But an eon of war took its toll. One by one, the great bastard empires fell, their knowledge lost, their great works broken.
Now we live in a dark age among the ruins of those that would be gods. Their war still smolders; berserkers and remnants raging against enemies long gone, dead hands around dead throats.  We build our own empires and prepare for the war to come. In uncountable eons, the universe will end once more, and the old war, the eternal war will flare up again.  We will fight for our right to survive, to colonize the new universe. We will become Bastards.

A GALAXY OF BASTARDS:
Bastard galaxy is a game of weird space adventure, in which the players explore an old and crowded galaxy. The Original Bastards spread their empires far and wide, and their successors settled into the ruins.  Galactic society is at a tipping point; numerous empires and powers have arisen and are eyeing each other warily. Another galactic war is on the horizon, and while the current bastards lack the tech of their predecessors, they still have terrible weapons to bring about another apocalypse. It is a time of turmoil and exploration, as the major powers seek secrets from the past to give them an edge in the future. It is a time of opportunity, as the right sapient in the right place can change the flow of history, or at least make themselves very rich.It is a time for bastards, those weird cast-offs who make their own way in a vast Galaxy



The Obelisk Dreamers


If the scriptures of the Obelisk Dreamers are to be believed, they were the only survivors of the last universe. It was their method of entombing themselves in artificial singularities that allowed intelligences to pass through the  death of the universe into this one. The other bastards then, were traitors and apostates who rebelled against the wisdom of the Obelisk Dreamers.  They had planned to rule the galaxy from their remote abodes as distant and benevolent gods, but the malefactors we know as the Floozies and the Gnomics sought to manifest themselves and rule directly. This could not be tolerated.

The strange singular arks of the dreamers kept them apart from the physical universe, but they were not entirely powerless. Every dreamer had strange powers of the mind they cultivated in the last universe. Through psychic powers they could affect the very fabric of reality in their proximity. They could propel their singularities at near light speeds, they could manipulate matter and energy, they could even create pockets of space adjacent to normal reality. But they were precious few in number and vulnerable to certain ontological weapons they knew their enemies posed. To save this new galaxy from those that would taint it, they pooled their powers and constructed the dream forges. In turn, the forges gave birth to the legion of obelisks that were seeded across the galaxy. Each obelisk was a psychic repeater that allowed the dreamers to reach out through it and reshape reality according to their whims. Every planet an obelisk landed on became a fortress against the dreamers enemies, a million worlds thriving with intelligent servitors eager to fight for their distant gods.

The dreamers are now gone; the obelisks mostly destroyed. Some say they lost the war, that they fell in battle. There is another tale. It holds that too many obelisks were built, with too few dreamers to control them. Spread thin, the dreamers turned to their subconscious powers to manage their empire. This opened the door to dark figments and desires. To conquer the galaxy, they unleashed their own nightmares and were destroyed by them.



Bastard Legacies - The Obelisk Dreamers:
The Oneironauts- All three bastard empires created pocket dimensions but the dreamers were the most prolific. They have given their name to the decaying network of alternate realities that permeate the galaxy. The Dreamways include well known dimensions such as Wound space and the Thought Skein that are accessible from almost any point in the galaxy, as well as more obscure realms like The Hateful Fluid. The Oneironauts are a coalition of former servitors that seek knowledge and power through exploration and control of these realms. Their holdings are spread out over vast galactic distances. They use the Thought Skein to coordinate their far flung empire. As a galactic power they are territorial and dogmatic. They worship the memory of the Obelisk Dreamers and seek to bring about their return.

The Empire of Friends was born when several clades of psychic warrior servitors rebelled against The Dreamers towards the end of the bastard war.  Their warrior creed is known as the Path of Friendship. It teaches that unity and togetherness is the greatest weapon. It can sound hokey and childish to outsiders until they see a full squad of heavily armed soldiers move with perfect precision. Four races make up the core of the empire. They are the NeonPunks, the WormPiles, the PowerFetuses and the SynthHeads. The Empire is nomadic; based out of the five sacred stations that wander the galaxy on a slow pilgrimage. The empire is heavily interventionist; the goal of their wandering is to constantly find new injustices to right. 

The Under Sphere - When the Obelisk Dreamers died, their artificial singularities died with them, for the most part. The most notable exception is The Under Sphere. The Dreamers within underwent a dark metamorphosis. Now known as the Nightmares, these creatures feed off of fear and superstition, appearing to the credulous as dark gods. They are served  by the undead pirates, beings seemly culled from myths and legends. The Under Sphere is protected by the under cathedrals, massive  fortress stations crewed by pirates and home to many pet monsters birthed by the Nightmares. They have a strong hand in the parasitic dark underbelly of the  galactic economy.

The Agredeem Empire - It is believed that the Agredeem must have been a servitor race of the Obelisk Dreamers, though there is no historical evidence for this. They resemble man sized star fish with eye stalks emerging from the center of the creature. Most of them have only mild empathetic powers; it is the great stars that carry the legacy of the Obelisk Dreamers. They have the power to observe and alter the subconsciousness of sapient beings within a wide radius , but this power is not under their own conscious control. Rather they route it through their own subconscious, aligning the hidden desires and prejudices of their victims with their own. Perhaps one in every five hundred million Agredeem is born a great star. Invariably they use their powers to become the god kings of the Agredeem.  Under the guidance of these pervasive conquerors the Agredeem have carved out a modest empire. In a moment of civilizational lucidity they forswore their god emperors and their instinctive conquests. They turned their empire into a peaceful polity known as The Totality. They had entrusted secret police, the orphan guild, to protect them from the influence of the great stars. For a time it worked, until it didn't. Now the Agredeem are under the sway of a new emperor and his half dozen great star advisors. The major powers are keeping the new empire in check with soft power, but war is inevitable. The scattered remains of the Orphan's Guild still work in the shadows, hoping to bring their wayward race back under control.

The Grand Circuit - The dream forges were all destroyed or lost, save one. Known as the dream of speed, it was launched into hyperspace to keep it safe. It's in there still, racing around the galaxy at several times light speed, dropping in and out of hyperspace in certain locations. It is said that anyone who can catch it is granted one wish. The Grand Circuit is a cultural coalition of those that would try.  To save this precious artifact from those that would misuse it, they keep the location of the dream a secret.  To earn their trust, supplicants must win races. The Grand Circuit hosts many qualifying races in their territory. These races are dangerous treks through exotic locales.  Only after winning four races does a racer earn the right to challenge the Dream. The grand circuit is only a modest power, as they put most of their energy into racing.

The Great Station Mu is an orbital habitat thought to have been constructed by the Obelisk Dreamers. The station is huge; its interior holds more inhabitable space than some planets. Seemly abandoned, its ecosystem laid fallow for hundreds of thousands of years until the Mu-Boll evolved. Archaeological evidence suggests that most faunal species  in the habitat (Mu-boll included)  are descended from a sapient servitor species that evolved away from consciousness. This means that all of their domesticated animals and most of their major predators are close cousins, and many of them are quite clever. This has given the Mu-boll a skewed perspective when it comes to the consumption of sapient and near sapient life. As a galactic power they are young but energetic. They are expert habitat builders and terraformers. They have an alliance with a humanity, but individual relations can be cold. Cloned human meat is a popular food stuff among the Mu-boll.

Woundspace - When a spaceship using a Rip drive exits Woundspace, it creates a temporary gateway to that strange other realm. The natives of woundspace can't survive in our dimension, but they can create creatures that can. They have been fighting a one sided war against regular space by sending autonomous weapons. The most notable of these are the Ilddoss, sapient cybernetic warships. The Illddoss are free willed and have only the barest directives from their makers. The Illddoss don't fight because they have told to, rather they fight to survive in a hostile and alien universe. Most Illddoss are born alone and confused next to a ship that just existed woundspace. These early confusing encounter often lead to violence, which often colors the new Illddoss's worldview.




The Floozies

Those that would come to be called the Floozies came from a universe rich in biological life. The ascension war that came at the end destroyed vast ecologies of beauty, natural wonders the likes of which will never been seen again. With heavy hearts, the Floozies swore that they would make the galaxy come alive once more. They were opposed in this noble goal by the Obelisk Dreamers, who wished to turn the galaxy into their own narcissistic reflection, and by the Gnomics, who wished to fill the cosmos  with sterile machines. Their first salvo in the bastard war was a wave of a billion spores that would drift out and seed the galaxy with life. They sought to steward and empower life, uplifting local life forms where ever they found them. At their height the Floozie Empire had a million lush worlds under their protection, and millions of races under their banner.

They say the Floozies were the true winners of the Bastard War; that they outlasted their enemies. If this is true, it didn't do them any good. Without a common enemy the empire dissolved into a thousand squabbling remnants. The original Floozies that had come over from the last universe were lost to history, killed in civil wars or evolved beyond recognition.  Their empire rotted away, new life growing out of its broken corpse. They had brought life into the galaxy, at the cost of their existence.

Bastard Legacies - The Floozies: 
Mothercorp is an intergalactic agricultural firm owned by the sapient plant creatures known as Jezoflorids. Their principle crop are their own children, who they contract out as indentured servants After they reached adulthood, they are free. Mothercorp has a fearsome military branch, mostly to enforce contracts. They have access to vast Floozy seed vaults, but no understanding of how these marvels were engineered. In their catalogues there are plants that can terraform worlds, travel between worlds and blight entire planets. They expand at a rate that makes their neighbors nervous, but they are passive unless provoked, in which case their vegetative wrath is a sight to behold.

The Republic of Sea Serpents split from the Floozies as the Bastard War was waning. A rebellion born from the vast cool minds of aquatic alpha predators, they sought to distance themselves from what they saw as pointless conflict. They saw their inherited ideal of ecological stewardship through the lens of predation. It is the duty of the alpha predator to shape its environment, by keeping prey in check, by shaping behavior by fear. Under their careful watch, the biome flourishes. They keep a low profile in galactic society, trading with outsiders but keeping their home planets mostly hidden.

The Neo-Floozies are a poor imitation of their namesakes. Where the Floozies treated their uplifts as equals, the Neo-Floozies see them as feudal servants. They are led by a gene engineered race known as the OverCrabs. NeoFloozy culture is militaristic, expansionist and hierarchical. They are in a perpetual state of colonial warfare against less developed races, and their clients are in a near constant state of minor rebellion. Though it can seem as though their society is moments away from collapsing, they are a formidable galactic power

The Whorl is a genetic prophecy, a cyclic destiny encoded into a humble microbe. It manifests first as a Tyrant, a great and terrible Kaiju capable of interstellar travel. It will find a civilization and conquer. It unleashes plagues and waves of monsters to subjugate the entire planet. In doing so, it spread the whorl microbe and sows the seeds of its undoing. In time, the whorl microbe will select 8 hosts to which it grants great wisdom and power. These sacred beasts will topple the tyrant, and usher in a new age of peace. At this point, the whorl has spread to every lifeform on the planet, changing them. Any sapient life forms are brought under its sway, and are now known as whorlers. Whorlers live in harmony under the sacred beasts who subtly influence their minds. If a whorler is isolated from this mental signal, the whorl microbes in their body breed out of control, triggering a sudden and painful metamorphosis into a new Tyrant. This whorl cycle had kept the whorlers trapped on their own planets for thousands of years until the advent of the spacer whorler culture. The Spacers have unlocked some of the whorl microbe's secrets, and have breed artificial sacred beasts to travel with them. Whorl culture is advanced, dogmatic and insular.

The Dvork are sapient cybernetic slime creatures. They have two genders "big" and "small". A Small Dvork stands about a meter tall and is almost always seen wearing a humanoid environmental suit. Big Dvorks are between six to a hundred meters tall, and they wear similar  but upsized suits. Many big Dvork are employed as buildings or starships, their environmental suits fitted with living compartments. As a culture they have a deep seated obsession with health and cleanliness. Their racial polity is the Doctor's  Council. They are paternal, introspective and heavily interventionist when it comes to fighting disease.

The Reclaimers are a coalition of scavengers and squatters that settle the ruins of other civilizations. They are led by the Orn, a fungal intelligence. The Orn have hierarchical gestalt intelligences. Technically, Orn is the name of the intelligence to which all Orn belong. This intelligence is composed of multiple other intelligences, which are themselves gestalt minds. At the lowest level there are individual Orn, who live their lives in service to the greater wholes that birthed them. They have access to several advanced Floozy terraforming tools, including the legendary Rain of Fish.

MyrioMinds are swarmlike intelligences. Female MyrioMinds are sensitive, introverted explorers. A male MyrioMind, also known as a Monstrid is a swarm of rapacious monsters. Somehow they make their civilization work. Designed by the Floozies as bioweapons, Monstrids were spread across the galaxy during the Bastard wars. Until recently, the MyrioMinds were confined to their home planet. Without females,  Monstrids can't form new broods. To continue their race and tame their savage kin, MyrioMind have begun to explore the galaxy. As a galactic power they are diplomatic and knowledge seeking, and backed by hordes of flesh eating monsters.


The Gnomics

The Gnomics were principally builders. They came into this new universe to create art and civilization. The Dreamers wanted to be Gods, and the Floozies wanted to breed, but the Gnomics were pure. To protect themselves from the heretics they created self-replicating robots to build an army. The perfect logic of their creations was a wonder to behold, their civilization was the ultimate machine, billions of parts working in a  controlled chaotic harmony, more alive and vital than any dull forest. The ultimate fate of the Gnomics is unknown, they simply vanish from the records in the last days of the war. Their machines remain, the logic of their creation ensuring that they keep ticking away, a self-sustaining network of tools guided by vanished hands.

The Galaxy is rife with self-replicating robots. Many plants host colonies of machines that grew from a single factory seed. The Gnomics were the master adapts at this kind of autonomous colonization, and have lent their name to this practice. Not all so-called Gnomic planets were made by those vanished bastards; many were made by early technological civilizations to explore the stars. Known as "False Gnomics" these machines are crude and simple compared to "true Gnomics". The Gnomics used biomimicry to imbue their creations with a diversity and complexity most other inventors are not capable of. Over the millions of years since their creators vanished, True Gnomic planets have evolved and developed into dazzling artificial ecosystems. The Gnomics also created an automated system of trade between their remote planets that has survived to this day. A significant portion of the galaxy is an artificial wilderness too advanced and complex to be subdued by intelligent minds.

Bastard Legacies - The Gnomics:
The Counter-Gnomics - The biggest threat to the Gnomic planets are the Counter-Gnomics. They are sapient computer viruses that infest Gnomic planets and cyberform them for their own needs. Counter-Gnomic planets replace the baroque complexity of Gnomic design with simple and elegant curves and lines, lit with bold unnatural colors. Most Counter-Gnomics prefer digital environments to the real world, but a few brave explorers inhabit robot bodies in order to see the material universe for themselves. They have a practical grasp of mathematics and computer science that makes them natural hackers and engineers. As a people they are divided by several esoteric philosophical differences that are hard for outsiders to understand. If they could unite as one people, they would be a major galactic power. As it is however they are embroiled in civil war and threatened by constantly evolving Gnomic immune systems.

The Black Rainbow Destroyers - The Gnomics built everything to be beautiful, including their war machines. The Black Rainbow Destroyers, also known as the monument builders are berserkers, automated killing machines created by the Gnomics to hunt down and eradicate their enemies. When they are finished with their grisly work, they erect a memorial to their victims, turning entire civilizations into art pieces. In the long millennium since the war they were created for has ended, they have grown strange and introspective. They still seek out and destroy worlds, but only those that they deem are already dying. All things must end, so they seek to bring beauty to any apocalypse they find.

Xitentoeten is foremost a business thing. A vast super intelligent machine of some indeterminate vintage, it has facilitated a web of commerce so that it may continue to grow and create value. Some say it was a  dream forge that gain intelligence. Others say it was a Counter-Gnomic who violated the prohibition against self-directed evolution. Regardless, the auto factories of Xitentoeten are the basis for a wide ranging economy of machine life. Xitentoeten issues its own currency, the XEZ. XEZ may be exchanged for build time on Xitentoeten's fabbers, which can build all manner of advanced technological components. A curious clade of robots has arisen around Xitentoeten. They also call themselves the XEZ, and they see themselves as living capital, sapient money. This self-willed economy is ruthless, unsentimental and mecha-chauvinist.

The Academy of Gnomic Arts is an institute devoted to studying the engineering techniques of the ancient Gnomics. Though their applied knowledge is formidable, they are seen by the galaxy as useless eccentrics. Indeed they do seem to have a penchant for certain exotic mental illnesses. Still, few organizations have as much insight into Gnomic science, and they have de facto control of one of the most important known Gnomic installations, the spawning sphere, a Dyson swarm that manufactures many of the more dangerous Gnomic machines. They are insular, secretive and ambitious They one day hope to recreate Gnomic civilization.


The Flesh VII are a gregarious race of cyborgs locked in a ruthless campaign of extermination with their previous iteration. They have mechanical brains and organic bodies. Cybernetic channels connect their electronic minds to their bodily hormones, resulting in artificial intelligences with organic eccentricities. As a people, their greatest treasure is The Record of the Flesh, a mess of ancient star charts and blog posts. By studying them, they gain insight into galactic history, which they use to organize their salvage operations, as well as their crusade against The Flesh VI.

The Flesh VI is a type of computer virus that targets starships and subverts life support systems, med bays and/or hydroponic labs. They use these facilities to grow organic minions to serve as crew. The Flesh VII loathe the Flesh VI on an instinctive level, and have nearly driven them to extinction.




Humans Are Bastards

When humanity emerged from their planetary dark age into the galactic dark age, they made a startling discovery. Long ago humanity colonized the stars, spreading far and wide. The unknown calamity that struck their homeworld, Dirt, also isolated their colonies. Over the ages, humans on Dirt forgot they ever went to space. Among the colonies, Dirt faded to an ancient legend. Now, the new human empire is searching out their lost cousins, seeking to reincorporate them. Despite resistance from their former colonies, the new human empire is expanding rapidly.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Forward Garden



Jezoflorids are sapient plant creatures. They are serpentine in form, with a network of root tentacles at the anterior end. They use these tentacles for feeding and as manipulators. The posterior end has a leafy shrub like growth. This is where the eyes can be found. They can have between 2 and 5 eyes on flexible stocks, as well as a similar number of flowers. They communicate through body language amongst themselves, and use voice box translators to speak to non Jezoflorids.
Their racial government is known as Mother Corp, an immense commercial polity that protects and furthers the interests of the Jezoflorids. They practice expansion through commerce. Mother Corp sells Jezoflorid sproutlings and seeds as indentured servants. For their first 20 years of life, Jezoflorids are intelligent but monomaniacal, intensely focused on one area of expertise. . They are a cheap alternative for professionals that require years of study and training, as they are fast learners, and they are generally content to be merely useful, at least in their adolescence. They grow larger and their interests diversify as they age. Most Mother Corp contracts expire after this period, and the adult Jezoflorid will make a pilgrimage back to Mother Corp space. Jezoflorids never stop learning or growing as they age. The largest Jezoflorids are formidable intellects who are masters of many skills.

Forward Garden is the closest Jezoflorid planet to human space. The Jezoflorid capital is on the other side of the galaxy, virtually inaccessible. Thus, forward garden serves as the most convenient location to do business with Mother Corp.  The whole planet is covered in a tangled grid of vegetation to the depth of 2 kilometers. In its forested depths, there are locations of great natural beauty and splendor, making it a premier resort for galactic aristos. The planet also hosts massive farms and processing facilities that grow luxury food items for galactic consumption, as well as farms where Jezoflorids are grown and trained. Jezoflorid servants are a major export, as they are renowned for their loyalty and dedication.  The planet has a criminal underworld, literally, as the deep reaches of the tangle are free of any sort of legal oversight. There is a thriving drug trade, as well as an effective network of assassins who call this planet home. At the bottom of the forest there is an "acid ocean" a double misnomer, as it is actually composed of powerful enzymes, and it is a more like a network of swamps and lakes than an ocean. In some places there are ancient ruins from before the coming of Jezoflorids. There are persistent rumors that there is great wealth to be found in them.

Law: There is little "official" law. The official settlements have Jezoflorid militias to respond to most crimes. They spend most of their time chasing pickpockets and catching sloppy criminals. It's an open secret that Mother Corp employs assassins to eliminate threats to their power base. Beyond the borders of "civilization", the biosphere itself protects the planet. Any threat or disturbance is met by hostile fauna. It should be noted that this does not eliminate all "illegal" behavior, but instead keeps the  criminal underworld in check. The best way to think about it is as a tax on criminals. The tax is every year a certain number of them are eaten by hornets.

Ecology. The tangle is one massive floral superorganism that covers the entire planet. There is a plethora of symbiotic flora that live on it. The fauna are mostly invertebrates, and mostly flying ones. A staggering variety are pollinators . Many more are parasites and parasitoids. Almost all are subject to the subtle influences of Mother Corp.
Police Hornet. Man sized and aggressive. Can shoot a bolus of acid further than you would expect.
Tax Collectors. Tiny bloodsuckers that travel in swarms. When killed, release tiny amounts of attack pheromone. Kill enough of them and you become a target.
Night apes. Pink, rubbery and incredibly stealthy. They carry off their prey in the middle of the night.
Tangle Dragon. A flying mollusk. It floats by means of hydrogen filled balloons. This also lets it breathe fire.
Feral ferry spider. A barge sized spider, related to the domesticated variety. Will grab victims and throw them into its passenger compartment, then make off for parts unknown.
Cystpillar. These caterpillars make large cysts in animal hosts. After several painful weeks, a butterfly will emerge.

Many of the floral species here are related to the Jezoflorids, and are motile.
Spongeway. A massive tunnel filled growth. Pockets of sweet smelling nectar lure in animals. Most are tagged with pollen. Some are eaten.
Moss wave. A rolling carpet of plant life, migrates from spot to spot, chasing the sun. Will drown you if it can.
Grass star, A crawling plant. Some species have a parasitic stage, where the adults implant flowers into their hosts.
Grass Drake. A serpentine plant with leaf wings. A slow, graceful glider. Is a popular steed.
Catapult trees. Fling cannonball sized seed pods long distances. You're unlikely to be hit by a lone pod, but groves will fire together in volleys 

Travel: Every official township has a spiderport, where large domesticated arachnids are kept. Silk lines connect destinations, and the spiders effortlessly carry goods and passengers between them. Some of the more remote tourist destinations lack a spider route, and instead are connected by "roads" built through the tangle. These pathways are rarely flat, and can consist of only a set of handholds and a safety rope. Somehow, the Jezoflorids can control the planet's fauna and keep the more dangerous animals away from these roads. There exist "under" roads, unsanctioned paths that lead to unofficial settlements and hidden locations. These illegitimate routes do not enjoy the protection of Mother Corp


Drugs. As a premier vip destination, Froward Garden has a thriving drug culture. Drugs are nominally illegal, though this is mostly a gambit to drive up the prices.
Evolo: Temporarily gives the user biokinesis. They trip out as they become aware of their metabolic functions on a deep level. It is possible to irreparably alter yourself if you choose to do so. Long term users become increasingly mutated.
Master plan: An upper that gives the user an obsessive eye for detail. Any plan that is made while on under the influence will have a higher chance of succeeding. Long term use causes megalomania, delusions, and eccentric fashion choices.
Revelation!: Causes the imbiber to experience contact with some sort of divine entity. Hated by most religions, embraced by a few. Long term users began to receive mandates and holy teachings, becoming prophets. Most people experience a deity they are familiar with culturally, some do not. Junkies tell each other that some people see long forgotten gods that they could never have known about, or that two people have seen the same unknown god. These are probably just rumors.

Weapons. The local Fauna will eventually check out any major disturbances. Explosives, supersonic projectiles and loud engines will draw their ire, making quite weapons a must for anyone planning on fighting. Automatic crossbows and dart throwers are popular, as are chain and whip weapons, as they can also be used as climbing aids
Moss Thrower. A blunderbuss shaped weapon with a back mounted fuel tank. Shots wads of nutrients laced with a quick growing moss. Targets hit are tangled in vegetation and rendered immobile. The planetary militia also uses these weapons to do spot repairs on the tangle's superstructure.
Forrest curse. A liquid pheromone that marks a target for consumption by the local fauna. Typically used in grenades, but can also be sprayed in close range, which risks the attacker accidently hitting themselves
Sapling whip. A motile plant, related to the Jezoflorids but not sapient. When it strikes a target, it comes alive and wraps itself around  it, inflecting continuous damage.
Wasp bomb. Unleashes a swarm of angry wasps. They see Jezoflorids as flora, and ignore them.
Wasp gun. Same principle, but shots a single deadly wasp a long distance. Air powered.
Fungal darts. Laced with dangerous spores. Deadly to organics, and will also damage the superstructure, making it highly destructive.
Blister stick. A wood that produces noxious oils that cause painful lesions. Used by the local militia for crowd control.

Assassin's guilds. There are three related but rival guilds that have their bases here. The Guild of Creeping death, which specializes in assassination through faunal agents, the Guild of verdant Death, who's members kill with flora and the guild of moldering death, who use fungus. All three are mystery cults, with inanition rites available to any who seek them out, though they are notoriously deadly to non-Jezoflorids.  These guilds exist to not to kill, but to strike fear into the enemies of Mother Corp. The killings are really a byproduct of that mission. To that end, they are very theatrical, and will often warn their victims beforehand. Every kill is a production, designed to leave a strong impression. (Some analysts believe they are capable of subtly, though it is hard to tell on a planet with as many accidental deaths as Forward Garden.)
Soft Rain: First comes a small horde of caterpillars, to let the target know they're coming. Then comes the large horde. Most targets are eaten, some have been found crushed or suffocated.
True loyalty: Uses fungus to subvert the target's allies. Tries to arrange ironic deaths, but a plant's conception of irony is a bit loose.  
Path in the woods: A master martial artist who uses living whips. Sends a whip to discreetly kill a target, then makes a show of beating up underlings. Heavily fictionalized accounts of their exploits are popular in local culture.



Industry. Mechanical manufacturing attracts unwanted attention from the local Fauna, limiting the scope of traditional industry. The Jezoflorids compensate with bio technology, growing most of what they need in specialized farms. These are some of the more common facilities that can be found on the planet
Drug lab Apiary. Here, aliens in thick suits tend irregularly shaped hives. The many bee species kept here have one thing in common; narcotic honey. These places are sometimes raided by police hornets.
Soil Farm. These farms are where Jezoflorids turn  organic matter into soil for their consumption.
The compost. A hidden soil farm, staffed by heavily indoctrinate Mother Corp employees. Those Jezoflorids Mother Corp deems defective are dosed with a parasitic fungus. They are compelled to travel on secret paths to the compost, where they through themselves onto a giant pile of their dead kin. The compost is a one of the more productive soil farms, and if its dark nature was revealed, wide spread revolts against Mother Corp would spring up.
The Stump. A city built above the acid ocean in the decaying remains of a support tree. This close to the surface of the planet, there are fewer hostile organisms, and the sound of industry is muffled by the decaying wood. Here, the Jezoflorids manufacture the metal and ceramic tools they can't replicate with organic constructs. This is the lowest official point in the Spider system, making it a good jumping off point for those that want to explore the depths of the planet. A scared human named Kim Olan runs an Inn called The Spider's Dinner, which acts as a sort of guildhall for explorers

Notable locations. These are major tourist destinations, Mother Corp holdings or other sites of note. All have spider ports unless stated otherwise.

Falling petals. A vertical settlement lined with tiny blossoms that periodically shed in great clouds, giving it its name. This resort town is known for its gambling games, where players can place bets on all sorts of strange diversions.  Bets are placed using the house currency, tokens known as bulbs and petals. (there 24 petals in a bulb). Bulbs can be used to buy a random Jezoflorid bulb from a bubble shaped displacer. Some of the possible cultivars are sold nowhere else, making them quite valuable to a collector.
Stump: Players take turns sticking their hands into holes on a stump. They receive payout based on how painful the sting was. 1 in 20 chance of a fatal sting, if you live through it you get the jackpot.
Garden: Players take turns issuing orders to insect servitors, trying to grow the best garden. Fast growing plants are used, so the games only take about a day.
Alms: Beggars are given signs with point values and are released into a gallery. Each player has a different color fruit to throw at the targets.

There are vending machines throughout this settlement that take bulbs and dispense seed packets. Roll 2d6
2.Brain baby. This cultivar can read surface level thoughts of any being within 50 feet..
3.syzygy. This one is two bulbs fused together. When it grows, it will have two minds. The upshot is it can learn two specialties as a juvenile. Requires periodic relationship consoling to remain whole
4.Big Sib. A plant of unusual size.
5.Dank. Its leaves have a potent psychoactive effect. Sometimes can be found smoking itself.
6.Tasty boy. Even as a juvenile, it grows sterile but juicy fruits.
7.Forward garden regular. The basic local cultivar
8.wise one. Even as a juvenile it grows bitter fruits that have nootropic properties
9.Eye flower. Has working eyespots on its flowers, giving it exceptional eyesight.
10.Liquid color. Has chromatophores in its flowers, allowing to change its color.
11.Pallid devourer. Lacks pigment, but can digest almost anything
12.Push boy. Can move things with its mind. If you want it to be good at it, it needs to be trained, taking up its specialty slot

The Celestial Orphanage. This temple complex hosts idols and avatars of gods that have been displaced by wars and disasters. This place sees brisk business from pilgrims. The library here is one of kind, as it’s the only place to view the unexpunged blog of the being that would be come to known as the atomic messiah. The  complex is overseen by a high priest known as Elder Careful Care, a venerable and large Jezoflorid. They are soft-spoken but subtly menacing. They keep the disparate priesthoods in check through quite blackmail and intimidation.

Flesh 7 Village. An unofficial settlement, the Flesh 7 here are reserved and secretive. They favor arachnid bioforms, and are continuously exploring the tangle. A guide from this village is invaluable for anyone that wants to plumb the dark reaches of the planet. Their leader is Klarg, an impetuous young warrior who was the daughter of the previous leader. She wants to find a way to get her people off planet, but something is keeping them there. She will only divulge their secret mission to find an ancient crashed spaceship to those she trusts. There is no spiderport here.

Garden of commerce. An open air market where the stalls are built into flowers. Guide hives dot the walk ways. If you tell the hive what you're looking for, a bee will guide you to it.

The Spawn Flower. A massive bromeliad-like flower full of water. Home to race of frog-like aliens who have been living here for generations. No one knows what their deal is, and they are generally hostile. There is no spiderport here.

Honey Springs. An exceptionally productive apiary. Rivers of honey flow out of the hives and into intricate channels. A must visit for any sapient with a sweet tooth.  This place is a haven for candymen cultists. As long as they don't plot against Forward Garden, Mother Corp leaves them alone.

Data Hive. Here, the bees function as one vast super computer. It is from here that Mother Corp manages the running of the planet. Here is the best place to find Elder  Long Term Plans, the planetary governor. While not rude to outsiders, they are enigmatic and reserved. They give off the impression that they don't need outside help for anything.

Leviathan Pond. Another bromeliad lake. A resort village is built on the flowers that float on its surface. Sapients dreaming here have vast, incomprehensible  dreams that are said to come from the creature that lives in the lake. Some find these dreams inspiring, some just want to see something fucked up. No one is ever exactly the same after a leviathan dream, but it's hard to tell what changes about them.

Wave Grove. A patch of fungus like growths. Named for their constant, gentle movements. A wide variety of psychoactive chemicals can be distilled from the flora here, making this a popular resort destination.

The soup pits. A famous gastronomic experience, this town is home to cauldrons of soup, some of which have been in continuous use for hundreds of years. These are soups with personality, with histories as complex as some nations. The Militia regiment here is known as the Chef's Guard. They are exceptionally well armed and exist to protect the soup pits from foreign contamination, as well destroy any illegal soups. They have their work cut out for them, as candy cultists are always trying to horn in with their own sweet stews. At any given time, there is at least one candy speakeasy in operation. Elder Virtuous Flavor is the head chief and ecologist, a position that has more power than the local mayor. He is responsible for directing the evolution of the stews, and as such is his very interested in any culinary innovations.
Noted soup pits:
  1.  Iridescence. Has a bright, oily sheen. It has an ever-shifting kaleidoscope of flavor
  2. Heartache. Emits a thick, clinging fog. Tastes of forgotten nostalgia
  3. Hunter. Filled with assorted creepy crawlies and slimy things, all still alive. Not favored by many humans, but popular with those that eat live prey.
  4. Victor and Vanquished. A half a day's hike from the center of town there is a fighting pit. The Arena is a catwalk above Vanquished. Losers are thrown in. The winners get a substantial purse, in exchange for a portion of biomass to be added to Victor. Vanquished is a murky, rowdy stew, while Victor is clear and refined. Of the two, Victor is the more expensive, served in the VIP booth, while the hoi pollio guzzle mugs of vanquished in the stands.
  5.  Dragon's Bowl. Full of cooked "noodlings" a starchy and savory motile plant creature thought to be a close relative of the Jezoflorid. Every day huge baskets of them are caught and sorted, with only the most perfect specimens added to the soup. They bud off of the "eel dragon", an enormous serpent that lairs somewhere below the pits. Every year it ascends and is given Dragon's Bowl as tribute. It is said the without this sacrifice it would destroy the town. A small kaiju cult has arisen. Currently they are try to feed one of their number to the dragon. So far, they have been unsuccessful.

The Flitter Circuit. The name is a bit of misnomer. This small city contains lodgings, stables, guest accommodations and smaller race tracks as well as the famous Flitter Circuit. A treacherous text of dexterity, the Flitter circuit winds through the tangle, following a path of tight turns and frequent obstacles. The racers in the circuit are employed by Mother Corp and live at the Circuit full time. They are mostly retired galactic prix racers, with a couple eccentric oddballs thrown in to make it more entertaining. The Circuit has a reputation as an elephant graveyard of racers. The most famous racer here is Blag Soner, a Pertanguan who was a second place finisher in the Galactic Prix. He is still a competent racer, but otherwise he is the very image of a washed up superstar. When he's not racing he is drunk, and even more scandalous for a  Pertanguan, he is frequently stationary.

Flutter meadows. This tranquil area right below the canopy is formed by a horizontal weave of branches, upon which a thick layer of soil has formed. It is famed for its wild flowers, as well as its beautiful flying insects, who have intricate and colorful patterns on their wings. This is a peaceful resort town, home to an order of shape changing escorts known as the Mercury Flowers. Their origins are obscure, but they are currently in the employ of Mother Corp. Their power to assume any shape has given them a sinister reputation, but they've never been linked to any shady business. Their leader is Red Templar, who isn't an individual but a persona. It is only channeled by a flower when a customer needs to be reprimanded.

Fruiting Station. An organic space station in geosynchronous orbit with the planet below, which it is connected to by a space elevator made of super strong vines. This is the only official entrance  to the planet, and it has the heaviest militia presence. There is a small community of foreigners here, doing the sort of shady business you would expect in a major spaceport. This is the safest place to be a criminal on forward garden, and most major crime lords have at least a safe house here. The station master is Adult Diligence, a mid level Mother Corp functionary who is quick to accept a bribe. What most don't know is he is still loyal to Mother Corp, and he gives his ill-gotten gains back to the company.