Monday, August 29, 2005


by Brian York (briany @ uvic . ca)

There is fire among the stars.

The soulless machines of war which humanity unleashed upon itself have been extinguished. Yet still, there is fire among the stars. Colony clashes with colony. Alliance rebels against empire. The age old struggle of wills continues on, to build empires, or to defend freedoms, to take what you want, or to keep what you have. There is fire among the stars, and it is the fire of Humanity, its evils and its hopes. Its dreams of what may come.

Politician, trader, diplomat, warrior. Whatever fate may hold in store, may your fire burn brightly. Welcome to the universe of Jumpstrike.


The Jumpstrike setting is a semi-hard science fiction setting. While there are no aliens, there are a wide variety of human cultures, with plenty of room for customization. The overall feel of the setting might best be described as "classical Greece in space", but the setting is more than a direct translation of ancient Greece. Politically, there are four major powers and many other minor powers and independent colonies. Diplomacy and international relations are critical to the setting, and even a simple merchant might be called upon to represent his or her home colony, simply by being in the right place at the right (or wrong) time. This article contains a brief history of the Jumpstrike setting, an overview of the technology and society that has grown up in the Jumpstrike universe, and a description of the major (and a few minor) powers, along with possible themes based around them.


  • Pre-Burn
    • Late 21st Century: Jump drive discovered. First colonies founded.
    • Most colonies are left to themselves, and try to develop a primitive, but self-sustaining, technology base.
    • Advances in artificial intelligence lead to the use of unmanned intelligent warships by the Earth and the most advanced colonies.
  • The Burn
    • April 17, 2341: A war starts (for unknown reasons), and, with the combination of AI-controlled warships and couriers, quickly devastates the Earth and spreads to the nearby colonies.
    • The use of autonomous artificial intelligence becomes forbidden as the knowledge of the Burn spreads through the colonies.
  • The Reconstruction
    • Most colonies are completely cut off, without the ability to repair their starships or build new ships.
    • The New Earth Empire and the Core Worlds Alliance are formed around colonies with shipbuilding capabilities.
    • Colonies begin to re-discover shipbuilding.
  • The Present Day
    • Interstellar travel and trade once again becomes fairly common.
    • The Far Stars Republic begins to expand.
    • The Hellenikan League is formed.


The setting was designed as a deliberate homage to classical Greece, with its proudly independent and constantly squabbling city-states (poleis). The reference is particularly appropriate because star travel makes the universe much like a group of islands -- there are no restrictions on where you go except for the distance involved, and the time required to cross that distance. Governments resemble Athens' League of Delos far more than Sparta's Peloponnesian League, although only the Far Stars Republic and the New Earth Empire are especially close to the League of Delos, and even they are not especially close. The diversity of governments was also taken from classical Greece, mostly because it provides an opportunity to be creative when making up your own colonies.

The society of the Jumpstrike universe centers around the colony, the planet, and (for a few colonies) the government. Even for members of one of the great powers, the local planet is more important than the central government, and the colony itself vastly more important than either. Although millions of people live and work in space, most people never leave their home colony, much less their home planet. Colonies prize their independence, and the members of the major powers usually see themselves either as "allies" or "conquered," rather than as members of a larger group.

Every inhabitable planet discovered, except for the Earth and Magna Gaia (BD+05 3993-IV) has isolated island chains and subcontinents, with an independent colony on each island chain or subcontinent. The center of a colony is its Akropolis, usually a defensible site which holds the colony's spaceport and center of government. Colonies also tend to have a few smaller villages, and plenty of wilderness. Most colonies have a population somewhere between 75,000 and 10 million, with an average of about 5 million.

Colonies tend to be governed by some form of representational government. At one extreme are colonies like Eire (24 Iota Pegasi-II), with a direct democracy including every citizen and resident of the colony. At the other end are colonies like Cordova (BD+61 195-III), where citizenship is limited to the descendants of the first settlers, and only 175 people, out of a population of over five million, have voting rights. Colonies may or may not have a head of state or council supplementing their citizen body.

Colonies tend to have fairly large militaries specialized in defensive operations. Warfare is much more common than it was in the 20th century, although "total war" is rare. Instead, wars tend to be fought to gain specific advantages or concessions. A colony is likely to fight most of its wars against neighbors on the same planet, since transporting large numbers of troops is difficult even for the major powers. Since space warfare is uncommon, most colonies have only a few warships, usually purchased used from one of the major powers.

Small alliances are common, but don't tend to last very long. Only four major powers exist, the New Earth Empire, the Core Worlds Alliance, the Hellenikan League, and the Far Stars Republic. The Empire is essentially a group of close allies led by New Earth (Iota Persei-V). The Alliance is a group of large independent colonies who have interests in common. The League is a diverse group of allied colonies with a central government that delegates most of its authority locally. The Republic is a central world (Magna Gaia) which has conquered a number of colonies and rules them by force.


The Jump Drive

Starships are able to exceed the speed of light by means of "jumps" during which the ship disappears from one location and appears at another. Jumps must be calculated precisely, and longer jumps take longer to calculate. The effective speed of a ship depends on how far it jumps and how fast it can calculate its jumps, and the change in gravitational potential between the starting and ending points (jumps must be shorter near stars and planets). Merchant ships take somewhere around two days to travel one light-year, generally in either one or two large jumps. Military ships are about twice as fast. The most that almost any merchant can travel without resupply is five parsecs, which works out to around a month's worth of travel.

Military ships are also built to make tactical jumps, which happen on the order of seconds instead of minutes. Each jump is shorter, and the overall speed is less, but tactical jumps allow ships to avoid incoming fire. Ship-to-ship weapons are also based around jump drives, and any ship without a military jump drive is essentially helpless in combat. As a result of a recent rise in piracy, most commercial ships have at least some tactical jump capability.

Mass Conversion

Military starships generate power using the direct conversion of matter to energy. This process is exceptionally efficient, but each jump still requires a considerable amount of power. Conversion chambers carry the danger of a runaway reaction (where part or all of the mass of the ship is converted into energy, with obvious negative consequences for the crew), but runaway reactions are extremely rare, and the few that have happened have all been the result of battle damage. Mass conversion is also at the heart of most ships' normal-space drives, albeit in a less potentially dangerous form.

Gravity Manipulation

Gravity manipulation allows ships to reduce their effective mass, especially when near planets. The overall effect of this is to allow starships to land and take off from planets without requiring specialized equipment, and also to allow interstellar shipping costs to be low enough to support large-scale trade (even if only in luxuries).


Nanotechnology allows stronger materials to be built, although the construction times are increased. Nanoassemblers, while unable to replicate, do allow the quick construction of small items, if given the proper raw materials. Medical nanotechnology allows drugs to be tailored to the individual metabolism, and microscopic robots capable of limited surgical operations. In general, nanotechnology allows better quality, whether in manufacturing or in medicine, but at the cost of increased time, money, or both.


Space combat occurs at incredible speeds, with battles often lost or won within seconds of the initial engagement. With ships operating at faster-than-light speeds, conventional weapons, even lasers, are too slow to use against military ships, although pirates do use them against merchants (and, sometimes, merchants against pirates). Instead, military weapons are equipped with their own jump drives.

Lances were the first form of space weapon able to attack a ship capable of tactical jumps. With a specially designed jump drive, a lance will jump thousands of times in its two-second lifespan. If it approaches close enough to a ship, the lance detonates, either damaging or destroying the ship. While lances are seldom used now, a smaller version, known as Interceptors, are used to attack approaching Strike Pods before they can detonate.

Strike Pods use the same tactical drive found on ships. They have the same jump distance but a somewhat higher cycle rate, thus allowing them to move approximately twice as fast as ships in combat. Strike Pods are sent out from the firing ship in an attempt to get close enough to a target ship to attack. Pods attack by deliberately overloading their conversion chamber in order to damage nearby ships with the blast. Some strike pods even carry small lances, potentially allowing them to make multiple attacks.

Ground combat has changed much less than space combat, although the tools used are different. With the high cost of interstellar transport, the large-scale warfare of the past is almost entirely gone. Instead, the attacking force tends to be a small, high-quality force intended to fight in urban environments and take over important targets, such as space ports.

Infantry weapons are more advanced than in the past, but still based on the same principles. Projectile weapons are more likely to use linear accelerators than chemical propellants and lasers are used in specialized capacities, but any member of the infantry from the 20th century onwards would be able to pick up and use even the most modern weapons with only minimal instruction. The main improvement in weaponry is in non-lethal weapons, now used by most police departments and, in special circumstances, by military forces.


The New Earth Empire

The New Earth Empire is located between the core worlds and the Far Stars cluster. Because New Earth, the home of the Empire, was far away from the core colonies, it was able to survive the Burn with only minimal disruption. As one of the only colonies with shipbuilding capabilities, New Earth was attacked from all sides by colonies hoping to seize its shipyards. The Commonwealth won these battles, and conquered a number of its former attackers.

The New Earth Commonwealth was always dominated by a small aristocracy, and its expansion concentrated the power further. By the time Susan Northwald was elected coordinator of the New Earth Commonwealth in 2402, it was effectively a hereditary monarchy. In 2580, John Northwald, the fourth ruler of the dynasty, was officially granted the title of Emperor by the General Assembly of the New Earth Commonwealth, now the New Earth Empire.

The current emperor is John Northwald II, who ascended to the throne in 2613 at the age of 32. The emperor serves until his or her resignation, usually at around the age of 100, although some past emperors have ruled for life. Advising the emperor is an elected body, the Imperial General Assembly, and presiding over the Assembly is the Imperial Executive, a hereditary aristocracy. Members of the Executive also serve as representatives of the emperor in the Empire's other settlements.

Adventures and Themes

The New Earth Empire is a group of allies dominated by New Earth. Although most of its member colonies were originally conquered, the Empire's expansion has been based on diplomacy for centuries now, and all of its colonies have full citizenship, with their aristocracies integrated into the Imperial Executive. The Empire is home to diplomats, merchants, soldiers, courtiers, and any other type of character imaginable. The Empire currently has two major problems: the lack of an heir to the throne, and the threat of the Far Stars Republic.

Since John Northwald II (see below) is childless, various factions have arisen in the Imperial Executive attempting to get their own candidates declared as the heir. Northwald has recently married a second wife in an attempt to produce a legitimate heir, but the future of the Northwald dynasty is in doubt. PCs could be involved in this struggle either as members of the Imperial Executive, employees or members of one of the Executive households (or the Imperial household), or as employees of the government or the military. While the intrigue in the Executive has so far remained strictly an internal matter, the situation could become a civil war at any time.

Since its founding, the Far Stars Republic has expanded rapidly. With the Hellenikan League apparently too strong to attack at the moment, the Republic has begun testing the Empire's frontiers. While the Empire has managed to retain control over its colonies so far, the Republic has shown no sign of giving up. PCs could become involved in the tension between the Empire and the Republic either as soldiers, diplomats, or merchants, or even as citizens of either side caught up in a border war.

Aspect Level
Dedicated [ ] (Fair)
Getting Old [ ] (Fair)
No Heir [ ][ ] (Good)
Emperor [ ][ ] (Good)

Emperor John Northwald II

Emperor Northwald was born Christopher John Northwald in 2581. He took the throne when his mother, Susan Northwald IV, retired in 2613 at age 83. Since his accession, he has attempted to maintain the Empire's position through diplomacy, although the Empire has fought several times against the Far Stars Republic. Now 72, John Northwald II is struggling to maintain control over the Empire. None of his wives have produced children, and the Imperial Executive is pressing him to name an heir from another family. Emperor Northwald is unlikely to be encountered in person unless the PCs are members of the Imperial Executive, but his influence is felt throughout the Empire.

Aspect Level
Bureaucrat [ ][ ] (Good)
Drives a Hard Bargain [ ] (Fair)
Likes his power [ ] (Fair)
Annoying Voice [ ] (Fair)

Paul Roberts

Paul Roberts is a staff member at the Imperial Trade Representative on Alphonse (Gl 436-III), the Empire's major contact point with both the Hellenikan League and the Core Worlds Alliance. His job is to make arrangements with small traders to allow them to bring goods into the Empire. Any group of merchant PCs who wish to trade with the Empire, or Imperial PCs who wish to trade beyond its borders, might need to negotiate with Roberts to get their cargo into, or out of, the Empire.

The Core Worlds Alliance

Although most of the older colonies were affected by the Burn, a few were far enough away to shut down their AI fleets, or primitive enough to be still relying on crewed ships. These colonies depended on their trade lines with the rest of the core worlds, and the Burn threw their economies into disarray. In response, most of these surviving colonies began to trade with one another, eventually uniting into the Core Worlds Alliance.

The Alliance now includes fifteen colonies, of which twelve were founding members. These colonies have mature economies based around interstellar trade. The colonies that make up the Core Worlds Alliance retain a great amount of independence, with the Alliance providing little more than an internal free-trade zone and an agreement on military cooperation. The Alliance is formally governed by the Advisory Council, which includes a single member appointed from each colony, along with representatives of the major shipping guilds and corporate interests in the Alliance.

The Alliance's emphasis on interstellar commerce makes it the New Earth Empire's major competitor, while the Alliance's status as the "protector" of the worlds devastated by the Burn has sometimes led to conflict between the Alliance and the Hellenikan League. The Far Stars Republic is too far away to seriously threaten any of the Alliance's territory, and no independent colony is powerful enough to threaten the Alliance.

Adventures and Themes

The Core Worlds Alliance is intended as a trading power, and as a remnant of the old pre-Burn society. On good terms with all the major powers (except, occasionally, the Hellenikan League), the Alliance's merchants travel everywhere, and the power of the Alliance keeps them relatively safe from piracy along the way. The Alliance is also a very conservative society, with a voting age of 45 and a constitution that gives the founding members almost complete control over Alliance policy.

For characters interested in making a living through trade, the Alliance is fighting an economic war with the Hellenikan League over access to the colonies devastated by the Burn. While the Alliance sees itself as the protector of these colonies, it also sees them as captive markets, and a number of recent attempts by Hellenikan traders to establish direct agreements with these colonies has prompted the Alliance to subsidize its own merchants to offer better deals to colonies in the core stars. Since the core stars also have one of the highest piracy rates in known space, the combination of armed traders, pirates, commerce raiders, and the occasional warship makes the area an exciting place.

Aspect Level
Loyal [ ] (Fair)
Idealist [ ] (Fair)
Stubborn [ ][ ] (Good)
Politician [ ][ ] (Good)

Coordinator Natalie Dumont

A native of Alphonse, Dumont was first elected as the Alliance's coordinator in 2641. Coordinator Dumont is currently sponsoring legislation aimed at giving the Advisory Council the ability to tax Alliance citizens directly, something which was last tried (unsuccessfully) eighty years ago. Dumont is an idealist who believes that the Alliance will slowly lose influence unless it is able to unite together, and that the Advisory Council is the only body that can hope to overcome the desire of the Alliance's member colonies to retain as much independence as possible. Characters might encounter Dumont if they are active in Alliance politics, either trying to unite the colonies or maintain their current autonomy.

Aspect Level
Devious [ ][ ] (Good)
Tactician [ ] (Fair)
Leadership [ ] (Fair)
Arrogant [ ] (Fair)

Fleetmaster Robert Johnson

A native of Stracher (BD+36 2219-IV), Johnson was an early supporter of Coordinator Dumont, and she has rewarded him by putting him in charge of the Alliance's military presence in the core worlds. Due to the high incidence of piracy there, most of the Alliance's merchant shipping is armed, which places it under Johnson's extended command (although he seldom exercises this authority). Johnson is also in charge of anti-piracy patrols, which he combines with some discreet commerce raiding against the Hellenikan League. Any character who spends time on a starship in the core worlds will likely be affected by Fleetmaster Johnson, and any Alliance character could encounter him directly.

The Hellenikan League

The Hellenikan League is an amalgamation of a number of smaller alliances, formed mostly in reaction to the growing power of the New Earth Empire and the Far Stars Republic. The founders of the League were determined to prevent the League from becoming another expansionist power, but were unable to keep it from growing quickly as the independent colonies tried to avoid being absorbed into the other major powers. Individual colonies in the League do have a great deal of autonomy, and the League has a wide variety of internal styles of government and codes of law.

The League's government was designed to give its member colonies, and its citizens, as much independence as possible. The head of the League is the Archon, supported by the Boule, which is divided between elected members, hereditary members, members appointed by the Archon, and members appointed by the League's colonies. Although the Archon and his or her representatives are able to wield considerable power in emergencies, for the most part they hold a ceremonial role. The primary exception to this rule is the Strategoi, a group who act as both soldiers and diplomats, holding power in the name of the Archon, but nominated by the member colonies and ratified by the Boule.

The League's society is chaotic and diverse. Although the League has a set of overall legal standards and rights, these apply mostly to League citizens, a position held by only a third of the population. Most League residents are instead citizens (or non-citizens) of one of the member colonies, and are subject to the laws and customs of the colony in which they reside. The only universal laws in the League are that any League resident has the right to apply for League citizenship and, if accepted, must be treated as a citizen in any League member state.

Adventures and Themes

The League is the new blood of the setting. As a new power, the League has very little stability, and even its form of government is still changing as time passes. The only constants during the League's 138-year history have been the Archon, the Strategoi, and the Boule, which were inherited from three of the League's founding members: Albion (GJ 1148-I), Nattara (43 Beta Comae Berenices-III), and Menast (Alphonse, Gl 436-II). Although the League has a fairly short history, it has managed to integrate the traditions of some of its members into its own identity, which has helped to provide some stability.

Like the New Earth Empire, the Hellenikan League offers almost any type of adventure. The League's chief threat is the Far Stars Republic, which has been attempting to eliminate the League since its founding. While the League has fought wars against the Republic in the past, recent history has seen only minor skirmishes, with as much diplomacy as violence involved. Characters could be involved in defending the League, taking the fight to the Republic, negotiations between the two, or convincing independent colonies in the New Stars cluster to ally themselves with the League.

Another source of adventure lies in the core stars, where the League has been trying to secure allies and trade routes. This has brought the League into conflict with the Core Worlds Alliance, although neither side has used military force, at least not officially. Finally, there are many possible adventures inside the League's borders, attempting to turn a loose alliance of diverse colonies into a functioning government. While the League itself is over 100 years old, more than two thirds of its members have joined within the past twenty years, leaving the League's government and military struggling to cope.

Aspect Level
Old and Wise [ ][ ] (Good)
Old and Tired [ ] (Fair)
Leader [ ] (Fair)
Suspicious [ ] (Fair)

Archon Martin Holm

Archon Holm was confirmed as Archon in 2595 at the age of 53. Now 105 years old, Archon Holm is looking forward to his retirement, and the accession of his heir, 38-year-old Ryan Laskell, currently serving the Boule as First Citizen. Over his career, Chancellor Holm has seen great changes to the Hellenikan League. At his accession, the League was strongly isolationist. It was only under Chancellor Holm's direction that the League opened up diplomatic relations with the Core Worlds Alliance and the independent colonies. When the Far Stars Republic attempted to conquer Liberty (GI 793-IV), it was Holm who led the League's military in their defense. Archon Holm does his best to be available to any of his representatives, so any character in the League government, such as a strategos, could encounter Archon Holm, or go to him for assistance.

Aspect Level
Machiavellian [ ] (Fair)
Strategist [ ] (Fair)
Diplomat [ ][ ] (Good)
Lonely [ ][ ] (Good)

Strategos Johann Chengalur

Strategos Chengalur was appointed by Archon Holm to manage the League's network of alliances in the New Stars Cluster. A gifted strategist who made his reputation commanding small fleets of ships, Strategos Chengalur has also shown a talent for political manipulation. Thanks to his efforts, the League has been able to base its military forces with a number of allies, some of whom are on the same planet as Republican colonies. The League's network of alliances has prevented the Republic from directly attacking League territory for the past decade. Any character acting as a League strategos, or other military officer, could encounter Strategos Chengalur, and might end up under his command for a mission.

The Far Stars Republic

Originally, the Far Stars Republic was the Kingdom of Kharybdis, one of the colonies established on Magna Gaia, but it has now grown far beyond the bounds of a single planet. The Republic's government has three major branches and a complex interchange of powers. The First Minister heads the executive branch and must be a member of the Senate, but is elected by the People's Forum. The Senate controls the judicial branch, serving as magistrates in the court system, and elects its own members for lifetime terms, although the First Minister has the power to veto Senate appointments. The People's Forum is the legislative body and is elected by popular vote every five years, with one member for every electoral district on Magna Gaia. Each Senatorial district includes 20 Forum districts. Laws passed by the People's Forum do not take effect until ratified by either the Senate or the First Minister.

In 2550, the Expansionist party won 154 of the 301 seats in the People's Forum and selected Anastasia Korolov, one of two Expansionists in the Senate, as the First Minister. The Expansionist party began a shipbuilding program and quickly went to war with independent colonies in several nearby systems. Due to their lack of experience with space warfare, the Republic lost most of the space engagements, but, thanks to the skill and experience of their ground forces, was able to conquer Diamant (BD+03 3465-II) and Paradise (BD+05 3409-III). With the success of their initial assaults, the Expansionists entrenched their hold on the Republic. While they have recently lost their majority in the People's Forum, the Expansionists now control the majority of the Senate, and are thus able to control the laws passed by the People's Forum.

The Republic's expansionism caused few problems in their wars against independent colonies in the Far Stars cluster, but their recent attacks on the Hellenikan League and the New Earth Empire were costly and embarrassing failures. Many of the remaining independent colonies in the Far Stars cluster have sought protection from either the League or the Empire, and the Republic's potential for future expansion is limited unless they can defeat one of the great powers. The Republic has also faced rebellions in many of its new conquests, especially since the People's Forum is unwilling to allow voting representatives from any planet other than Magna Gaia.

Adventures and Themes

The Far Stars Republic is caught in a trap. Instead of governing a prosperous and reasonably peaceful planet, it now controls most of the New Stars Cluster, but its conquests are rebellious and the remaining independent colonies are allying against it. The Expansionist party has built its reputation on successful military campaigns, and a recent attempt by First Minister Joyce Laporte to temporarily halt the Republic's expansion cost the Expansionists the 2560 election, and Laporte her position as First Minister. The Expansionists will lose more support if they extend citizenship to conquered colonies, but without some self government the colonies will continue to rebel.

Republican characters might be involved either in working to maintain the status quo or working to reform or undermine the Republic. Reformers might be members of one of the minority parties in the Republic, soldiers convinced that the Republic's military is overextended, or rebels on one of the conquered colonies. Supporters of the Republic might be colonial governors trying to maintain order, Expansionists struggling to retain control of the government, diplomats trying to keep the peace between the Republic and the other major powers, or soldiers fighting against rebels in a conquered colony. Whatever happens to the Republic, it will provide a fertile ground for adventures.

Aspect Level
Patriot [ ][ ] (Good)
Indecisive [ ] (Fair)
Paranoid [ ] (Fair)
Coalition-builder [ ][ ] (Good)

First Minister John Masters

Masters was a compromise candidate, selected to bring the Development party into a coalition with the Expansionists. Since his election, Masters has tried to keep both the Expansionist party and the Republic from falling apart. Masters' attempts to find a diplomatic solution to the rebellions on the conquered colonies have led some of the Expansionists to break away and found a new party promoting a hard-line approach against both the rebels and the Hellenikan League. For now, though, the Expansionist-Development-Populist coalition still has a slight majority in the People's Forum. Masters could be encountered either by conservatives or reformers, either as an ally or an opponent.

Aspect Level
Diplomatic [ ] (Fair)
Inspires Loyalty [ ][ ][ ] (Great)
Pacifist [ ] (Fair)

Governor Erin Lockhart

Erin Lockhart is the most successful of the Republic's governors. Assigned to the colony of Diamant, which was captured in 2551, she has managed to bring the populace under control without excessive bloodshed. Instead of governing by an appointed council from Magna Gaia, she has given Diamant considerable self-government, and refused to implement some of the harsher penalties in the Rebellion Acts. This has made her popular enough with the coalition government that a recent attempt to recall her was treated as a vote of confidence, and failed by seven votes. Governor Lockhart would make a useful ally for Republican reformers, or an obstacle for natives of Diamant determined to start an open rebellion.

Minor Powers

There are dozens of independent colonies and small coalitions, most of which are either near the solar system or in the fringes of the Far Stars cluster. These powers are a diverse assortment, with almost every imaginable type of society. Most smaller powers are poorly defended, often with only a few obsolete warships sold off by one of the major powers. The powers described here are a sample of the independent colonies in Jumpstrike.

The New Solar Union

The New Solar Union was formed in the wake of the Burn from a number of international relief organizations. After the Burn, the Earth was devastated, and starvation and disease killed many more people than the orbital bombardments. The relief organizations led a global response to the Burn, and eventually formed the nucleus of a planetary government. Since the Burn, the Earth has managed to exist peacefully with a unified government. Although a minor player in most ways, the New Solar Union is the most populous government in existence, with over 1.5 billion citizens spread throughout the solar system.

The New Solar Union has concentrated on the defense of the solar system, and has taken advantage of the recent rivalry between the Core Worlds Alliance and the Hellenikan League. Both sides have contributed ships to the New Solar Union, and the Union's capabilities were recently demonstrated when a strike force from the New Earth Empire, attempting to acquire a base in the Sol system, suffered a humiliating defeat. The New Solar Union has recently begun its own shipbuilding program, and some of the new classes are comparable to the ships of the major powers. The government of the New Solar Union is based on a combination of direct democracy and a representative council. The Council handles urgent problems, but its decisions are subject to a review by the entire citizen body of the Union.


Ephidites, one of four colonies located on Rhodos (BD+45 2505-IV), was one of the last colonies founded before the Burn. Within 5 parsecs of three League colonies, 4 Republican colonies, and one Imperial colony, this strategically important location has led to Ephidites being courted by both the League and the Republic.

Ephidites has a small citizen body and a larger number of residents with limited citizen rights. Most of the citizens support Archon Martin Chengalur, who tends to be sympathetic towards the Hellenikan League. Many of the residents, and a few citizens, support Exarch Brian Smith, who advocates an overthrow of the citizen government for more inclusive franchise. Smith has recently approached the Far Stars Republic for backing in his attempts to take over the government of Ephidites. If both sides gain support from the major powers, Ephidites may become the focus of another war between the Hellenikan League and the Far Stars Republic.


Korkyra is an independent colony on Merrod's World, the same planet that houses Stracher (the current capital of the Core Worlds Alliance). Korkyra was founded fifty years later than Stracher, and was a young colony at the time of the Burn. After the Burn, Korkyra survived only because Stracher and Heritage, another older colony on Merrod's World, were at war with one another but at peace with Korkyra, making Korkyra the only legal trade conduit between the two powers. Since that time, Korkyra has survived as a free port close to the League, the Alliance, and the Empire.

Korkyra's citizenship policy is extremely loose, with both foreigners and citizens eligible for full voting rights. The only distinction is that only citizens may serve on the Legislative Council, and foreigners pay slightly higher taxes. Only those adopted by a citizen or born to two full citizens are eligible for full citizenship, and Korkyra has many foreigners whose families have lived in the colony for hundreds of years.

Map of the Colonies

The starmaps come from the HabHYG database by means of Winchell Chung and his star maps web site. I wrote a script which drew the maps, and I played around with which stars actually had habitable planets until I had a map that I liked. The assumptions that I used are extremely optimistic, but that's the only way that real starmaps can be used for game purposes.

This map shows all known star systems with inhabitable planets as of 2653 (although essentially no new surveying has taken place since the Burn). Lines are drawn between stars 5 parsecs or less from one another (that being the maximum distance that most merchant ships can travel, and the maximum distance that a warship can travel without being stranded at the far end). Although some stars are marked as belonging to a major power, most have many colonies, including some neutral colonies.