Sunday, February 21, 2021

Chunky Space

 Chunky Space is a region of space that was the site of a terrible battle in the Bastard War. The use of ontological weapons has left permanent scars in the fabric of spacetime. Hyperspace itself is warped, making it difficult to navigate. Ordinary hyperdrives require laborious calculations  in order to make simple jumps. As a result, Chunky Space is relatively unexplored. In recent ages the Chunky Space Compact has formed, leading to a new era of exploration and exploitation in the uncharted depths of Chunky Space.


The astral plane - A dimensional complex that exists alongside conventional reality. When sentient creatures dream they reflexively create dreamscapes within astral space. Certain technologies and psychic powers allow for the manipulation of these spaces. The astral plane is “closer” in Chunky Space, meaning it is easier to influence and in turn has more influence on the real world.

Astral Currents - Most dreamscapes, even large permanent ones are only accessible from a small corresponding area in real space. The exceptions are the astral currents, which are massive dreamscapes that touch many points in conventional reality.  They are believed to be artificial structures made by the ancient Bastards. With the right technology they can be traversed as an alternative to hyperspace.

Astral Null - Conceptual nothingness. It is often thought of as the astral equivalent of vacuum. The Astral Null makes up the majority of the Astral plane but it isn’t truly empty. Strange astral lifeforms have adapted to live in the extreme low energy environment.

Shades and shadestone - Shades are known as the “invented people”. Non biological entities dreamed into existence by shade stone. They were used as servitors by their creators, the Phantsmagorics. Shades are not truly sapient, and without clear direction they create pantomime civilizations. Shadestone is an organic mineral that slowly grows into humanoid shapes. Where there is shade stone, there are shades.

Cosmic Eels - Massive organisms involved in a galactic migration between dreamscapes and astral currents. Each Eel is unique and home to its own astral ecosystem. Sometimes the Eels will breach into real space for unknown reasons, bringing with them a tide of surreal astral lifeforms.

Triple Crop

Chunky Space was created during the Bastard War, as the first Bastards used reality warping weapons on each other. After the dust settled, Chunky Space was first settled by the triple crop, a group of three civilizations with a complicated pattern of cooperation and war. They are all long gone, but the remote nature of chunky space has preserved their works. 

Soft Bodies - Master terraformers and bio-engineers. Their feral engineered ecosystems are found across chunky space. Early pioneers in the realm of kaiju manufacture. It is said they predicted the kaiju wars and nullified their own sapience, to spare themselves the horror of what was to come.

Noetic Alchemists - Machine intelligences obsessed with perfecting intelligence. Their esoteric industry processed billions of egos into a variety of strange and novel forms. They were destroyed by the Digital Devils, powerful beings that arose out of the dross

Phantasmagorics - A coalition of powerful psychics. They led early colonization efforts into astral space. Their fate is uncertain; some say they ascended to a higher plane, others say they were sealed away in some astral oblelette. 

Player factions

The Chunky Space Compact. A treaty between six polities with interests within Chunky Space. The treaty covers non-aggression, environmental standards for colonies and outposts and the issuing of privateering titles. The member polities are as follows:

Black Rainbow Destroyers Arts Council - The BRDs are a clade of autonomous weapons made by the ancient Gnomics to fight in the Bastard wars. These conflicts have long since ended and the BRD have had to evolve past their original mission. Now they seek to foster arts and culture within Chunky Space.

Maskform federation - Maskforms are a human subspecies that have evolved to live in astral environments. The Federation is a loose coalition of tribes that has recently formed to protect Chunky Space Maskforms from the predations of Father Corp. 

Seeder Initiative - A human polity from the human homeworld of Dirt. Formed after the old technocrat kings were overthrown in a violent revolution. They seek to promote human settlements and to create a pan-galactic human polity.

Republic of Sea Serpents - A ancient, eco-conservative polity founded by sapient bio-weapons. The Republic is a collection of far flung ocean worlds, each ruled by a monstrous senator. The polity is connected by a massive mercantile network of corporate clans.

Reclaimer Alliance - The Alliance is a mutual aid and defence pact of freeholds. The farmers and scavengers of the Alliance specialize in settling ruin worlds. 

Sophonic Advent - A theocratic machine polity that seeks to create and enrich minds. They take their ideology from “the final machine” , an alleged super being that will come into existence at the end of time. They are expanding in Chunky Space in order to study the works of the Noetic Alchemists.


Dirt human - A human from the homeworld of Dirt. You remember a time when the Technocrat Kings ruled.

Mu-boll - Presumed Terran species that lost and regained sapiance while isolated in a large space station 

Flesh 7 - Gregarious machine intelligences with organic bodies. Close allies of humans.

Rune form - A digitized human subspecies. They use robotic bodies outside their digital homes.

Machine uplift - A regular digital device modified to be sapient.


Flesh 7 - A small minority Flesh 7 follow the Advent. They are marginalized due to their organic bodies.

Mycophile - A human subspecies with symbiotic yeast colonies in their fingernails.

Orn - The name of a Gestalt intelligence formed by several related species of fungal sapient 

Scolopendrites - Carnivorous insectile sapients. Mildly venomous 

Yonger Sky Clan - sapients evolved from the Ger, an organic machine ecology

Osgrenites - Monster hunting humans from the Dentata planet Osgren

Clowners - Amphibious crustacean sapients. They have an outer armoured shell that protects their vulnerable true body 

Whispering Worms - Sapient symbiotes that live in their hosts digestive tracts. They host in both sapient and non-sapient creatures

Black Rainbow Destroyer -Created long ago by the Gnomics to destroy their enemies, these machine lifeforms have a evolved a sophisticated culture

Maskforms - Dream beings evolved from humans who colonized astral realms

Mallhemian - Human from the free spirited culture of Mall Town. 

Pirate factions

Oth - Oth was an arcology back on Dirt. Unbeknownst to all the other arcologies (save for their sister city of Esk), Oth had off planet colonies. During the revolution, the Arcology itself was abandoned and the center of the kingdom shifted to their colony in Chunk Space. Now Oth raiders plague the region, seeking materials for their cold war with Seeder Initiative


Father Corp - A astral factory complex the size of a small world. The Prime Strain is race of clones that serves the factory. Their raiding and exploitation parties are a constant scourge in Chunky Space

Reborn - The Reborn come from the Undersphere, a galactic breakaway region under the galactic plane. The Reborn resemble monsters from myths and legends. Their corsairs ply the galaxy, looking for wealth and glory.

Clowner Pirate Clans  - The Clowner corporate clans make their living shipping goods and people across the galaxy. At least that’s the official story. In reality, almost every corporate clan engages in piracy, under a fake clan name. These fake clans are known as the pirate clans, and their existence and activities are officially denied.

XEV - The XEV are machine intelligence corporations. Their culture is strongly machine chauvinist. XEV pirates active in Chunky Space do not respect the property rights of organic life.

Unique planets 

1 Syberite’s garden - This world was once a pleasure garden for the Softbody elite. The lifeforms here were engineered for luxury; soft hides, beautiful feathers, delicate flavors and powerful intoxicants. In the millennium since the world was left fallow the Red Queen’s Race has bent these living artworks into stange and novel forms.

2 Slug temple - A sweltering gaian world. There are five massive stone temples across the planet. Each temple is home to a kaiju guardian that arises from the native flora in an endless cycle of death and rebirth.

3 Cloister - This world is a massive organism of unknown purpose and potency. The ice choked surface hides a massive system of nacreous caverns. Inside there is a hidden ecosystem of planetary parasites and symbiotes.

4 Hell Bloom - A hothouse world that hosts a machine ecosystem supporting a single massive worldframe. Inside is a digital paradise of flowers and water features. Digital Devils lounge in bathhouses, unwinding their tortured psyches. This is the best place to make a deal with a Digital Devil. 

5 Deep hole - An empty planet hiding a subterranean bunker. In this silent and corpse-littered facility there is a deep hole. Fall down far enough, and you’ll find yourself in the digital abyss.

6 Alembic - The Gnomic machine ecology is still performing the esoteric industry of the Noetic Alchemists. Bizarre antennas channel cosmic energy into condensers that convert into astral fluids which are pumped through tangles of pipes into transparent  holding tanks. These secrets are guarded by notably hostile guardian drones

7 Idol Grounds -  A world covered in ancient shrines in regular intervals. Haunted by feral godlings.

8 Scuzz center - This planet is covered in huge strands of pink Scuzz in exotic formations. Long rumored to be home to the laboratories where Scuzz was first created.

9 Shade city - This planet is a massive chunk of shade stone in the shape of a skull. The planet is home to a mega city of shades. Their strange automatic society is riven by conflict between the humanoid, surfacing dwelling Homonoids and the divergent, subterranean Hetronoids.

10 Frozen Battle - Time was frozen during a battle between Noetic Alchemists and primitive Black Rainbow Destroyers. This planet is a famous sightseeing destination, but it is also rumored to be very cursed.

11 Eel Grass -  Not a planet but a mass of liquid water in a ring around the star. Home to lush kelp forests. A creche for young cosmic eels. According to legend, this is where the Phantsmagorics created the Eel Aborhorant .

12 Rapacious child - A fragment of the mountrous factory complex Father. It serves as a base of operations for the Father Corp raiders that have been plaguing the region.

13 Oth Base - This planet is only known by reports from Esk nobles that visited before the revolution. Nothing is known about the surface but there are continent sized caverns full of living carpets of maggots. The Oth are thought to be using this planet as a base for their activities in Chunky Space. 

14 C R A W L - An Astral singularity that has created a dense knot of recursive dreamscapes, all centered around symbiosis and parasitism. Currently being exploited by Father Corp.

15 Ten Thousand lonely Watchtowers - A Black Rainbow Destroyer art installation planet. The eponymous towers are built into the ruins of vanished civilization. Home to a spaceport built into an abandoned shopping mall. Mall Town is famous for its bohemian atmosphere.

16 Dreamwashed Ortellion - This planet is orbited by a thousand phantasmal astral moons. Astral currents wash over the planet in regular intervals, making a dreamlike ecosystem. This planet is home to the Maskform city of Graz Throne.

17 Far Sea - This frigid ocean world is home to an Esk colony built into an ancient stone megalith. It serves as the Seeder base in Chunky Space. The oceans and the skies are home to great Softbody leviathans

18 Urgo Lux - A Gnomic world built by the Noetic Alchemists. Home to the Sophonic Adent research facility and starport of Stil Port.

19 Ungan Zal - This planet used to be a floral superorganism, then it died. Now it is a vast expense of dead wood and moss. Home to thousands of Reclaimer Alliance homesteads.

20 Sea of Mazes - This ocean bound planet is home to massive formations of shade stone that form into labyrinths. A recent addition to the Republic of Sea Serpents, having been colonized in the last thousand years by Senator Orthon, who lives in the underwater caves beneath the spaceport Rynthtop 

Port Towns

Mall Town - A city built into an ancient subterranean shopping mall complex. Famous for its bohemian art culture. Below the mall is an abandoned military bunker that has been taken over by the Squeeze. The phantom farms down there are a source of both resources and danger for the city.

Stil Port - One of three massive floating disks above a major geothermal power complex. The other disks are defend by attack drones but not this one, allowing the Sophonic Advent to build their research complex there.

Stump Town - Built atop a massive wooden mesa. On the surface there is a quaint little herding village. Below is a sprawling metroplex carved out of the rotting wood.

Breaktide - A circular megalith shelters this city from the frigid world ocean. Founded half a century ago by Esk nobles, who came here to hunt Kaiju.

Rynthtop - A tropical village built across a network of atolls and lagoons. Under the city, senator Orthon makes her lair in the complex of aquatic shadestone caves. 

Graz Throne -  A cobblestone paved city, home to the planetary Monarch. To protect from the influence of Astral Currents, the city has its own dreamscape projector, casting a lively and celebratory aura over the city

Astral currents

Siren Call - A “layered” astral realm. Visitors begin in a bright and airy seascape. As they spend time in the plane it becomes darker and deeper. Many don’t return from the depths.

The Squeeze - An impossible maze of tunnels and caverns. The walls here are a bit like stone, a bit like flesh. Bottomless holes and gaps lead to Astral Null. Home to uncountable billions of crawling, insectile phobiavores.

The Trail - An infinite, ever changing wilderness. The only constant is a single narrow pathway. If you leave the trail it is almost impossible to find again. You will wander forever until you fall into the Astral Null or you are eaten by a shape-shifting Anybeast.

Neon Speedway - Cracked and scorched day-glow wasteland. Impossible to navigate on foot, only by going fast is it possible to make progress here. At sufficient speed, the realm changes into an awe inspiring vista of chrome and crystal ruins

Digital Abyss - A low energy realm close to Astral Null. A featureless void of eye-searing false color. Broken and abstract wireframes serve as solitary landmarks. The Digital Abyss is notable for being easily accessible by dreaming machines. Even non sapient machines can sometimes connect, forming dangerous abyssal leakages. Home to the digital devils, as well as many dangerous and unsettling astral lifeforms.

Saturday, January 9, 2021

Chunk Net

Due to sub-spacial disruptions, traditional hypernetworks do not

work in Chunky Space. The solution is Chunk Net. Chunk Net is

a communications network run by the six signatories to the

Chunky Space Pact(CSP). Each polity has a repeater station

within Chunky Space itself. This allows the signal to be beamed

around anomalies to the substations within Chunky Space.

It is still a constant struggle to keep the network operational

with spacial disruptions, abyssal leakage* and digital devil attacks

making service sporadic at best. Still, it’s better than nothing. Chunk net can be

found in all six major ports and many of the minor ones.

Glimmeer - One of two video hosting sites on Chunk Net.

Famous for its louche and Capricious fanbase.

Violence, chaos and shanfraude are popular subject matters.

Castr - A video hosting site that caters to explorers.

The user base loves videos of strange creatures, odd phenomena

and new discoveries. 

Gruber - A Site for insect farmers to post pictures of their herds and swap tips.

There is a peer to peer marketplace function that is rumoured to have a robust blackmarket section.

As the story goes, illicit deals are arranged in plain view, obscured by opaque farmer’s argot.

Morbidd - A job posting site for mercenary work

. Used by the CSP to coordinate their privateers.

Currently the CSP is focused on hunting down the house of Oth

raiders that have been plaguing Chunky Space

Travapedia - More formally known as Trav Ulteer, the Wiki Saint.

The site is a post singularity intelligence that correlates user reports

about chunky space into a usable database. Notorious for walling off

forbidden information from users not in the good graces of the Sophonic

Advent. It is still the best source of information about the history and

mysteries of Chunky Space.

AbyssPics - A hobbyist site dedicated to discussing and chronicling

the Digital Abyss intruding into various electronic systems. Despite

the name, the site doesn’t host any actual pictures of the Abyss, as

captured media of Abyssal leakages has a habit of turning into

Abyssal leaks. Instead the site hosts artist interpretations and first hand

accounts. The site is home to many self styled Abyssal experts, including

a number of entities claiming to be digital devils themselves. The’re probably

just role-players

The Storm Cast - A daily broadcast from eccentric human net personality

Hars Homald aboard the Storm Tossed, a dimensional trawler engaged in

a long term research mission. Gives updates and warnings on dimensional

anomalies and the flow of astral currents. Notoriously unreliable due to

dimensional bleed. It’s hard to tell if any given broadcast is actually coming

from your dimension. Still very popular among Spacers working in Chunky space

*The Digital Abyss is an astral current found in Chunky Space. Unlike many

other currents it affects digital and electronic signals. Abyssal leakages allow

dangerous astral life forms access to conventional reality.

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.