Monday, May 11, 2020

things to do in Bastard Galaxy (part two)


In the Glade

It's raiding season on Inejoi. The harvest is over and it's time for war against Mothercorp. Every year the Glade hires hundreds of off world mercenaries for the Green War. The pay isn't great but it's offset by free supplies and all the plunder you can carry. Make your way through the tall brown grass and try to find a weak point in Mothercorp's defenses. Be wary however, as the local predators also recognize raiding season.

The Glade needs someone to make an emergency delivery. The cargo is a hundred tons of premium farm grade dirt from the depths of the heap and the recipient is a struggling human agri colony. The Glade uses charity to expand their influence network to polities that might otherwise fall under the shadow of Mother Corp. The problem is that the dirt is hot and needs to be smuggled out from under the Mother Corp customs officers. Also it turns out to be more bioactive than you were lead to believe. Something has hatched and is now loose in your ship.

A small detachment of Glade elders needs an honor guard. They are making a pilgrimage to a unity shrine deep within the marsh lands of Feast, where they will merge, body and mind, with the planetary overmind. This is the price the Glade pays for it's alliance with Feast. In addition to the deadly flora of Feast, a Mothercorp assassin is hunting the party, hoping to stop the ritual with carnivorous caterpillars. 


Your gang is being paid to be part of a focus group for a new desert fresh from the Vault. It's white  and creamy and smells delicious but before you can eat it, it eats the test proctor. Now the facility is in lockdown and you need to find a way out before the failsafe worms are released.

Mothercorp has issued a recall on Kinder Garden brand neogenic companions. The're even offering a bounty on them, dead or alive. The issue is that the pets are much more intelligent than advertised and dangerously communalist. A small pack has taken over a local creche and has recruited the children. The pack's leader, Fussy Bottom Little Britches has a counter offer for you. It knows where the local Mothercorp outpost keeps its cash box.

The Scion of a wealthy mega corp has been lost deep in the depths of Forward Garden. This normally wouldn't be a problem; scions come and go while the corp remains. The issue is they had a crucial encyrtion pad on them at the time. The corp is paying big money to have someone go and fish the pad out of whatever insect nest it's resting in.


State sponsored pre-cogs and clairvoyants have been dropping dead all across the local galactic region. The disturbance has been traced to the storm covered Agredeem colony of Gotlong. The Seeder Initiative has hired you to investigate. Gotlong is home to an ancient tribe of Maskforms that worship the Agredeem Emperor as a God. One of their priests must be behind the phenomenon. The priest hood spend their time in the local dreamscape, which is inside a giant eye. The trick to finding them is shrinking yourself down to the scale of the temples carved out of motes of dust.

The upper class of the Empire demands entertainment. Your team has been scouted as the main event in a death battle/orgy (don't worry, you're a participant, not  a participant). You'll be facing down other teams and assorted mosnters in a custom half-submerged stadium reef painstakingly grown in the belly of That Most Elusive and Sacred Glory, the capital ship of the Emperor's Huntmaster, the Great Star Orthano. At the climax of the event the Agredeem nobles will climax, releasing their gametes into the water. You'll probably want to be on dry land for that bit.   

Emphrina is a constant temptation for the Orphan's Guild. An Agredeem Emperor once mysteriously died after visiting the planet and the guild has been tantalized ever since. You have been hired by one of their operatives to go on an oneironautic expedition. The dream world of Emphrina is a massive flooded office block. It's clear that the oppressive tedium of the place is a defensive measure. There is a hidden layer beneath the endless paper work and sodden carpets.   

Tuesday, May 5, 2020

things to do in bastard Galaxy (part one)



After their hosts dies in a tavern brawl, a whispering worm scholar is looking for a temporary host and a ride back to the planet Sargos. Sargos is home to vast trackless kelp forests and hidden deep within them is the Academy of Eels. In return for carring the Whispering Worm all the way to the Academy, they will use the orrey of Eels to give you coordinates to catch up to one of the Cosmic Eels in their vast circuit of the Galaxy. Harvesting the lesser Eels that swarm around them can be quite profitable. Just be aware of the memetic eels.

The editor of the Pan Galactic poetry journal has a problem; they keep sending correspondents to cover a poetry festival on the backwater planet of Jorgu but they keep winding up dead. The Fesitival is held during the peak of planetary summer in a fishing community right on the edge of polar zone. Generally unguessed by the inhabitants or the editor, the contest is for the benefit of the Sea Serpent Jurgumurgo. She has been collecting poems this way for thousands of years. The villagers paddle out of the harbor in small canoes and kayaks and recite their poems over the open water. Everyone is expected to give a poem, even outsiders. After all poems are given, there is moment of stillness where everyone closes their eyes and Jurgumurgo eats the worst poet. She is heavily biased towards the traditional ballads favored by the locals, which is what lead to the editor's problem. A transcript of all the poems said at the festival is worth quite a lot of credits to them.

The leaders of Osgren wish to learn new techniques of cooking from across the Galaxy. However, they need to make sure any new innovations are practical for the unforgiving wilds of Osgren. To these ends, they have created the kitchen trials, where chefs from off world compete with locals to see who's cuisine reigns supreme. Before the main event contestants are expected to acquire their own native ingredients. Off planet ingredients can be used but the whole dish must be at least half native. This can be challenging as the locals are generally unhelpful. The economy is barter based and shopkeepers will demand outrageous trades (like a whole plasma rifle for a basket of half dead wrigglers). The best way to get anything is to volunteer on hunting missions, but even then expect to get stuck with the worst roles, such as sword ape bait. After the preparation is complete 2-4 chefs go head to head in a burned out caldera. Contestants may not interfere with each other beyond throwing 3 projectiles chosen before hand. The judges are a rotating board of native experts and foreign dignitaries.  The winner earns the favor of the Chairman, which opens a lot of doors in Osgren.


The Counter Gnomic researcher and drug dealer Degravo needs a courier to take an E-drug software program from his base in the Sphere Swarm to a Mu-Boll "business man" in an orbital station above Dirt. The catch is that this program, fire.god has a safety protocol that means it can only run on a single piece of hardware at time, deleting itself as it transfers from system to system. What's more is that it will not restart if the hardware it's running on is reset. If it is left running on a non-sapient machine it will catalyze the birth of sapient software agents. If it runs on a Sapient machine it causes widespread sensory glitches and the delsuion of divine contact. Long term users report nootropic effects.

A remote island lab in the nano machine sea of the Proving Grounds has gone dark. This lab was a breeding facility for Gnomic prosthetics. The last transmission suggests that the prosthetics have gone feral somehow. It is believed that the limbs, eyes and prosthetic organs now have the run of the facility. A high ranking doctor needs you to retrieve a secret project; a rare Gnomic cyberbrain. They are unaware that the cyberbrain is the source of the disturbance.

A rare cyber fairy has been spotted in Gnome Mart. The fairy of sudden ends has the power to trigger massive shutdowns of Gnomic ecology. This followed by a feeding frenzy as the dead sections are eaten and rebuilt. The fairy is quite valuable, both as a research subject and as a collector's item. Some of the AGA personnel also searching for the fairy can no longer be described as sane. They will react badly to anyone they think is trying to steal "their" fairy.


Mistress Deep Night has been teasing a new product launch for her mystery cult/subscription service. Molsheen the Deviant planetoid is feeling excluded so it has furnished you with fake aristo identities. Your mission is to infiltrate Dark Drop and surreptitiously record your sensoriums as you experience the new product. This is directly contradicted by the terms of service, so you're going to need to dodge the Mistresses' counter intel forces.

The Candyman Lord Whimsy is distraught. Human privateers have hijacked a shipment, that along with candy weapons and food, also happened to contain his latest project. He will pay dearly for the return of "the egg". He won't say what it is, only that it will bring smiles to the whole galaxy. The privateers have been eating the shipment and they already show the first signs of candy psychosis. Also, you aren't the only team Lord Whimsy has hired and they won't see the Egg as recovered until its in their possession.

The Crusty Crucible is a time acceleration device  used by the Intergalactic Candy Company to evolve new products. The advanced candy biome is harvested by workers called scrapers. Lately they have been disappearing, which is troubling as the crucible is sealed. The higher ups are looking to hire a trouble shooting team to investigate.

Saturday, May 2, 2020

Things to do in the Reclaimer Alliance




The leader of a warband In Erst-Va lost their child to a pack of ganglemen and now they're offering a bounty on every pair of gangleman thumbs that is brought to them. Ganglemen are dangerous and disturbing near-sapient  primates found on many ruin worlds. At night pairs and trios set up ambushes in abandoned buildings, using bits of shiny scavenge as bait. During the day they whole 30+ pack of them sleep in a hidden lair, protected by noise traps. The walls of the lair are marked in crude charcoal art. The spoils of their victims are kept in piles in separate rooms. There are rooms with weapons, dolls and widgets. In the widget room is the heirloom data slab that used to belong to the chief's child.

On the petrified wood planet of Ugon-Zal a clan of herdsmen has put out a call for help. They need extra security for their herds of Wool Worms, cow sized invertebrate hebrivores covered in long wool . A nearby bandit clan has begun acting erratically and stealing dozens of worms. They have begun fighting in the nude while screaming about "the lord under the skin". There's also the fact that they couldn't have possibly eaten all the Worms they stole. The village elders suspect One Who is Not Orn. Someone needs to track down the bandits and learn the truth of their strange behavior.

The planet Erst Va has a persistent creep problem. The Church of Holy Vermin is looking for a crew to take a shipment of creep eater worms from the Orn Market on Shran Ga and deliver it to a front line outpost deep in the concrete labyrinth. The Reborn Corsairs behind the creep infestation have learned about the shipment and are eager to derail the churches plans.

Main Reclaimer Alliance article here

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

The Grand Prix Alliance


Long ago in the Bastard Age the Obelisk Dreamers saw fit to reward their servitors for excellence. For each gift there was a test. The impossible spear was given to the best fighter and the staff of control was given to the most obedient. Most gifts and trials were lost in the Bastard war or the chaos that followed. Only one is still known, the Galactic Prix. It is a gift given to the fastest.

The qualifying races happen all across the galaxy. They are announced by strange lights in the sky. These apparitions are known as the Omens of Speed and they are projected into our reality by something outside it. This being is known as the Patron. Little about them is certain but there is much speculation and myth making. The Omens mark out the race courses and it seems clear there is some guiding intelligence. Omens appear in interesting areas like twisting ruins, giant storms and sometimes active battlefronts. The Omens indicate starting positions; once they're all filled, the race begins. The Omens change into glowing hoops that indicate waypoints, and they're arranged in such a way to test the skill of the pilots. The winner is given a psychic tattoo or brand called a crown that appears as brilliant pattern on their aura. Crowns fade over the course of years. When there are 13 sapients with at least 3 crowns each in the entire galaxy, they are given visions of where the finale will be held. The winner disappears across the finish line, having been transported to a the Trophy Realm. Sometimes they return, wielding strange powers and impossible insights. Often, they are never heard from again. Regardless, the myth of the trophy realm and the gift of speed continues to drive sapients to seek the Omens of Speed.

Even so, there have been vast spans of Galactic history where the Galactic Prix was unclaimed. Omens of speed appear across the galaxy at irregular intervals, and they only last a few weeks before they vanish. Even if a racer finds one, they only activate if there are 13 racers. Then the winner of the crown most find and win two more races to be eligible. Even then, they need 12 other sapients to complete the same feat. For millennium seekers of the prize wandered the galaxy hoping to get lucky and find the omen before they disappeared in desperate, lonely quests.

This is what lead to the creation of the Grand Prix Alliance. The Alliance is three major polities together with hundreds of small race teams that work together to find Omens of Speed. The Alliance is technically one of the most widespread polities in the galaxy; Omens can appear anywhere so they have to search everywhere. The reality is they spend so much time zooming from one race to the next that they are only a tangential power throughout the Galaxy. Still, Omens can appear anywhere, which means the Alliance can suddenly become a huge part of local affairs. Most polities aren't thrilled to see a bunch of speed junkies show up and swarm over their planet. For their part, the Alliance needs to race and they don't care how many toes they trample on. They'll try diplomacy, but afterwards they will carry it on by other means.

Pertanguans are grub like sapients with internal skeletons and soft bodies. Most Pertanguans get cybernetic exoskeletons that allow them to curl into armored balls. The dominant cultural force in their society is the cult of Velocity. Motion is the highest virtue and stillness is sin and death. The Grand Prix must be won, not for the reward, but because it is a sacred quest. Pertangauns have a higher than average incidence of psychic power. The Cult is considered one of the strongest schools of telekinetic technique in the Galaxy. They are served by several companies of mercenary paladins. These military orders are loyal to the cult but take on side contracts to keep in fighting shape. They specialize in dogfighting in both atmosphere and in vacuum. 

The Scaltor are marine arthropod sapients. They are sessile, bonding to underwater surfaces for their entire lives. Those with telekinetic powers can propel themselves through the water if they are bonded to something free floating. They are split between a motionless peasant class and a free moving knight class. They are ruled by the Monarch Groth, who returned from the trophy realm hundreds of years ago. Rank in the knight class is determined by racing; to the fastest go the spoils. Winning a crown is a great honor, and the greatest honor is winning the Galactic Prix itself. There is a small minority of anti-monarchist knights. Known as the fool knights, they also race in order to gain clout for their cause.

The Axtr are avian sapients. They are a psychically empowered race; most of them are either precognitive or telepathic or both. They are a strict theocracy based around ancestor worship. They recognize three hierarchical levels of ancestor. First are the dispersed. These are Axtr who's consciousnesses were not persevered after death. The Axtr believe that their minds have joined with the cosmic background radiation. Above them are the crystal mummies, those Axtr who have had their minds transferred to special crystal vessels. The priesthood uses them as libraries and psionic focuses. The most honored "dead" are those that have made it to the trophy realm (this is point of contention within the alliance, as the other races don't view the trophy realm as an afterlife). They form the ruling class of the Axtr from beyond reality, making their wishes known through visions. Sometimes an Axtr will return from the trophy realm. These are the most sacred beings in Axtr mythos, living martyrs.

The Alliance races together sponsor a fleet of carrier ships, each with dozens of berths for racing craft. There is a saying in the alliance, The Pertanguan push, The Scaltor fly and the Axtr guide. At the heart of each carrier there is a power plant where Pertanguan use telekinesis to generate incredible energy. Traditionally the pilot of a carrier will be a Scaltor knight and Axtr oracles scan the galaxy for Omens of Speed. While not at an Omen or in route to one the race teams hold endless sub qualifiers. Each Omen race has 13 racers but a typical carrier will have twice that number of teams. They compete to secure their place when the time comes.

The Atomic Mantras

If you have a basic understanding of nuclear physics and atomic level telekinesis, creating a fusion reaction with your mind is easy enough. Surviving the process requires a bit more theory and either protective shielding or distance.  It is a generally recognized truth that individuals capable of creating nuclear explosions with their minds are existential threats so telekinetics are vigorously discouraged from studying particle physics. Still, Psychically moderated fusion reactors are a great source of energy so the Cult of Speed has found a workaround. Students are taught the Atomic Mantras, a route series of frequency shifts. When combined with specially designed reactor  shell the result is a nuclear reaction. The initiate does not understand the wider picture and they are not capable of replicating the effect without the reactor. The church keeps the mantras secret, but they aren't as careful as they could be. If a third party had both the reactor and the mantra, they could replicate it.

Crystal mummies

This technique is used by the Axtr to preserve their conciseness beyond death. The key is a specially forged crystal spike made out of salvaged computronium. The spike is inserted into a still living brain, then metabolic function is slowly decreased until death is achieved. If the procedure is successful the dying mind is shunted into an artifical dreamscape. There the captured ego lives in a solipsistic paradise. Priests know as death speakers manage collections of dead minds. Technically after the procedure only the crystal spike contains the mind but by Axtr tradition the body is persevered as well. When space is an issue, like on a spacecraft, only the skull is kept. Crystal mummies are used in religious rites where the laity is given a chance to visit with the deceased. They can also be used as psychic focuses for any psychic discipline they knew in life.

The Party line is that crystal mummies are not immortal, that they still hear the call of death and after thousands of years in dreams they all choose dreamless sleep eventually. This is half true; most crystal mummies succumb to quietude and self terminate. However, there are those that do not. Their egos are too strong for their thanatotic urge to overcome and without an anchor to the physical world their dream bodies begin to mutate. These deathless ones are a continued threat to the crystal mummy collections. If left to grow too long they can learn how to breach other dream realms to devour the inhabitants. The secret order of the True End searches tirelessly for mummies beginning this dark transformation. Those so pruned are listed as having chosen final death. Within the order there is a rumor of a second, darker deception. They whisper of mortal turncoats who willing serve the Deathless Ones. The truth of these matters is open to speculation.

Thursday, April 16, 2020

Darlarskin the creep forge


Darlarskin is a world in the Undersphere, a break-off cluster of planets below the galactic plane. Like all worlds in the Undersphere it is ruled by the godlings known as the Underminsters and their servants, the Reborn. Darlarskin is a heavy industrial world, buried under a thick blanket of multi-level factories. The atmosphere is a toxic miasma of exhaust. Base line organic life struggles to survive here; only the twisted imaginary life forms known as creeps thrive. Creeps reflect the emotional character of their environment so here they are stunted imp-like creatures  with grotesque biomechanical features. Their instincts drive them to ceaselessly toil without intellect. They are the ones that built the factories  and you can see the limit of their reason in the strange and futile architecture. Most of the work that is done on Darlarskin is pointless and absurd, an endless ouroboros of manufacturing and recycling. Only in the domains of the Reborn nobles do human and Reborn overseers bend the creep thralls into useful labors. Each noble aims to corner a particular market niche, such as infantry weapons or amour.
 Baron Valderash is the most famous sword smith in the Undersphere (though an honest assessment would give the credit to his team of human thralls). He is an ancient vampire, all gaunt with lipless fangs and lidless eyes. His barony is in the upper reaches of Darlarskin, a realm of crooked towers and gothic metal catwalks. Reborn corsairs come here to commission cruel weapons. Valderash and his thralls know the secret of creep smithing, the art of binding creeps into metal. These prison swords weep strange venom and are willful in their owners' hands.
 By Reborn custom a sword can only be given a name after it has taken the life of a worthy opponent. Also by custom duels can only take place with the consent of the local lord. Nobles picking up custom weapons are often wish for a chance to name their weapons. Valderash maintains a stable of aspiring duelists eager to win a noble title by defeating the previous title holder. Which duelists challenges which noble is entirely at the whims of Valderash. The hopeless neonates are thrown in front of valuable customers while he holds the skilled back for nobles he would prefer to see dead. When they aren't training or indulging in the horrible vices of the Reborn, the duelists serve as the Baron's leg breakers.
In the darkness of the lower manufactories is the realm of Baroness Gruvalda the creep smith. She is a luneman. Her human form is overweight and she usually wears a lab coat with a gore and oil stained leather apron. Her bestial tells are her predatory gaze and her massive prehensile tongue. Her beast form is a jowely hellhound. Gruvalda is the foremost creep smith on Darlarskin. She surgically alters the lowly creep thralls  into combat ready forms, often by combining parts from multiple creeps. Her creeps aren't the most deadly, resilient or terrifying but they are cheep. Currently she is trying to challenge her reputation by making a single masterpiece creep. Creatively she is at a dead end and is just stapling more creeps together. She will pay handsomely for better building stock, or even some better ideas.
The ruler of Darlarskin is Underminister Trevfarl. It appears as a verdigrised metal skeleton forty feet tall. Leathery hoses give it veins and viscera. On it's head is a blank rusted mask. It sleeps on a throne of pipes in the heart of a busy factory. When roused two baneful yellow lamps shine out of the mask like eyes and the hoses engorge with steam. Small ruptures bleed steam and slick red oil before knitting back together. Before it attacks it roars like a steam whistle then fixes its gaze on a target, causing their blood to boil. Like all underminister it communicates its wishes through dreams.

Friday, March 20, 2020

Military rations

The human space navy eschews food from the homeworld of Dirt entirely. Until recently Dirt was a patchwork of rival arcology states. In the new multicultural Seeder Navy food can reignite old grudges. Serve Esk-style fermented protein slurry to a group of marines from Esk's ancient nemesis Url and you might have a riot on your hands. The Seeder Navy sources it's rations from its many trading partners; bulk grains from Mother Corp, cheese from Cheese Covered Planet, even human germline clone meats from Mu-Boll meat vats.

The bulk of the Reclaimer Alliance's ground forces are made up by Scollapendrite fighting clans. Scollapendrites are sapient arthropod-like creatures and obligate carnivores. As such their supply chains are entirely dependent on the Church of the Holy Vermin. The church uses its ancient vermin engines to create swarms of bugs which are then killed and made into jerky. Most Scollapendrites prefer live prey, so the clans supplement their rations with aggressive forage. Fighting clan deployment zones become depleted of wildlife, urban scavengers and household pets. One clan, the Maltok or "Cellar Devils" are infamous among their enemies for their grisly resupply practices. They are urban/subterranean specialists and it is said they never pack rations for long term missions. In one storied/officially denied incident a the shell of a high ranking Over Crab officer was found picked clean. The story told in secret by the Neo Floozies is that single commando blew a hole in the carapace then ate the unlucky officer alive from the inside out. This is anatomically impossible when you consider the size of a Scollapendrite stomach relative to an Over Crab. Clearly then it was more than one Scollapendrite. Everyone agrees that is not better.

Clowners are marine arthropod-like sapients. Whispering Worms are sapient endo-symbionts. Together with a human minority they make up the merchant marine firms of the Republic of Sea Serpents. The traditional rations are cans of salted by-catch slurry from the Republic's great fisheries, topped off with a frankly terrify ration of foul kelp grog (Whispering Worm hosts get double). Humans introduced the concept of bread, which became a standardized carb wafer. The sandwich entered into the shared mythology of the Clowners and the Whispering Worms with surprising speed. They now consider half eaten sandwiches as great delicacies. Most claim that the best sandwiches are the ones chewed on by humans, though some violently disagree. This is the one bit of social leverage humans have in merchant marines .

Officially denied by the Intergalactic Candy company, candy pirates operate mostly independently in the void. Their food comes from the carefully tended candy gardens, one in each ship. These tiny patches of the insidious candy ecosystem can digest virtually any biomass and convert it into it into the candy the Candlyling and Candy Mutant crew need to live. The crewman in charger of the garden is known as the granger and they are just below the captain in the chain of command. The granger is honor bound to feed and care for any captives. A steady diet of raw candy will convert into candy mutants over the course of a week.



The Agredeem are echinoderm-like sapients. They are amphibious omnivore scavengers. Their previous polity, the Agredeem Totality feed their space navy with bio-engineered algae that came in flavors like dead fish, mortally wounded shellfish and moldy fruit medley. The new Agredeem Empire has greatly increased production as part of their general war footing, leading to noticeable drop in quality, which in turn leads to moral problems, especially among human auxiliary units.
Unlike the flat hierarchies of the Totality, the Empire has an aristocratic officer class which has been infected by the decadence of the Emperor. They demand a high level of luxury even while the're campaigning. The average imperial officer has 1d4 hundred credits worth of high end provisions such as expensive wine (severed in marine/terrestrial pairs), exotic caviar and high end rot spice. The Empire's over taxed supply lines have become prime privateer targets. There is also a thriving a black market that stops just short of active treason. If you want to bribe an Agredeem guard, bring fresh fish eggs.
The most tempting targets are the supply freighters heading towards the Emperor and his Great Star advisers. They can be found at the heart of their titanic capital ships on the front lines. Each ship has a fully stocked kitchen with a ladder worth tens of thousands of credits. Of course they are protected by the power of the Imperial war machine and they are well within the psychic influence spheres of the Great Stars


Wednesday, February 12, 2020

setting primer


Setting

Ancient Precursors - The original Bastards were hyper advanced beings who came into the universe when it was created. Their grasp of science was so great they were almost god-like. In their apocalyptic war they shaped the cosmos and set the future of Bastard Galaxy in motion. The modern galaxy lacks the technology of the bastards and must live in their shadow.

A crowded galaxy - Civilization has existed since the beginning of the universe, and has spread throughout it. Truly barren planets are rarities; most have at least simple life or machine ecologies. The galaxy is dotted with cosmopolitan settlements, cities of the cosmos where dozens or even hundreds of different sapients rub shoulders. Even in the remotest worlds you might find indigenous tribes or lost ruins

A multi-polar system - There are dozens of strong polities locked in a delicate d├ętente. Most major states are aligning together against the Agredeem God Emperor and their insidious mind control but old grudges run deep. Rapacious Mega-Corps like Mother Corp and the Intergalactic Candy Company consume all they can in the name of greed while colonial powers like the Neo-Floozies absorb smaller polities. There is a divide between organic and machine life, with some machine nations being extremely mecha-chauvinistic. Living gods like Molsheen the divine tumor lord over their own private theocracies while ancient powers like the Republic of Sea Serpents and the Gas-Bags scheme through the centuries. The nomadic Empire of Friends is pushing into the local region, bringing conflict with it. The pirates of the Under Sphere wish to create their own realm and will plunder others to build it. Only the fear of war keeps the tenuous peace, but even then cold conflicts sometimes boil over.

Humanity Divided - Human beings came into the universe either as servants of the Bastards, or as Bastards themselves. They spread like few other races have, and now humans can be found across the galaxy. In the past the human Empire of Dirt ruled them all but that time has past. The human home world of Dirt has spawned another polity, the Seeder initiative seeks once more to unite humanity. But humanity is no longer interested in being united. Many humans belong to alien polities.  Centuries of isolation have split them into hundreds of sub species. They have adapted to live in extreme and strange environments, like dreams or virtual worlds. Perhaps the most divergent are the Canine-forms, humans who were long ago spliced with dog DNA. Ancient injustice caused them to rebel and to this day there is a grudge between them and the rest of humanity.

Themes

Cosmic - The Bastard Galaxy is full of wonders. There are alien jungles, bustling space ports and crumbling ruins. Space is full of ships, stations and ancient mega structures, each unique and idiosyncratic. Each of the galaxy's millions of worlds offer a different vista. There is always somewhere unexplored and undiscovered, full of mystery and danger.

Psychedelic - The Bastards unleashed the realm of the mind onto the world. Psionic powers, astral realms, living memes, these are just part of the world now. The galaxy has become a place where will and imagination can overwrite reality. Seekers of the psychic world find power, transformation and sometimes madness.

Evolution - The galaxy is an ancient place. It has become strange and gnarled with time. Ecosystems have advanced over millions of years to become intricate and powerful things. The technology of the Bastards has become feral, infusing nature with elements of vanished civilizations, the scars of the past become the fruits of the future. Machine ecologies carry on the work of their vanished masters and new gods are born from the corpses of the old ones. The brutal, elegant logic of evolution carves everything into weird and terrible new forms.