Thursday, October 8, 2015

Factions in SPAAAACE!

    As I stated at the end of my post on The Orphic Protectorate, I've got plenty more factions to put in space, but I didn't want to go into that same level of detail. So today I give you a collection of factions for a Numenera space campaign, presented in short form.
    Rival Groups: My own personal touch, this section will list names of possible other groups who provide a similar function. Why? Space is large, that's why. Does it make any sense for there to be one group of pirates, or one group of ambiguously evil nano-sorcerers? Certainly not. These names can provide a jumping off point for other GMs to flesh out their own galaxy.

The 18th Fleet

    Roughly 200 years ago, the Orphic Protectorate declared war on the silax, a species of tall, black-furred mammals known for their greed and violence. The silax would conquer and enslave less advanced planets and strip them of resources, thus earning the ire of the galactic community. The fleets of the OP challenged them, and after a brief war the silax fleets were destroyed and they were confined to their home planet, forbidden from building FTL drives until further notice.
    Though the Silax War ended uneventfully, not all of their fleets were destroyed. In the chaos of battle, the commander of the 18th Fleet ordered a retreat, and thus they became the only survivors. Angry at the loss of their peoples' freedom, yet without the means for recourse, they turned to piracy to survive. To this day, a few of the remaining 18th Fleet battleships, plus many more acquired since, continue to rob and terrorize remote worlds and trading routes.
    The 18th Fleet does not discriminate on the basis of species. Though originally all silax, the 18th Fleet is now composed of thousands of individuals from dozens of species. Outside of the fleet itself, they have no base of operations and prefer to stay mobile. In keeping with their naval traditions, their leader is Admiral Kism (level 6, military tactics level 8), a hulking male silax who prefers to lead by example, and fights up close with a plasma sword and projector.    
    Member Benefits: The most important skill for a pirate to learn is to not bite off more than you can chew. In place of a skill, a member of the 18th Fleet can gain the ability to tell the level of a ship, as well as a rough idea of its value and offensive capability, as soon as it becomes visible or in range of sensors.
    Rival Groups: The Starbirds, The Kuad Kingdoms' Revolutionary Army, The Void Wreckers

Bandar Labs

    Masquerading as a legitimate scientific research laboratory, Bandar Labs is devoted to circumventing the Orphic Protectorate's bans on technology. Many scientists throughout the galaxy have had their research shut down or impeded thanks to OP legislation, and Bandar Labs's many lawyers work on finding loopholes, sanctuaries, and exploits of OP law to allow scientists to perform their research unfettered.
    Bandar Labs does perform some legitimate research, mostly pertaining to physics and engineering, such as weapons development, electronics, FTL drive optimization and manufacturing, etc. However, time travel, interdimensional travel, reality restructuring, sentient experimentation, and other forbidden areas of research go on behind the scenes. If Bandar Labs can't legally perform this research on an OP controlled world, they will find a remote, hidden world and found a laboratory there.
    As a modern galactically-traded corporation, Bandar Labs has a president and board of directors like any other. However, unbeknownst to the public, these officials answer to Ddoron Bandar (level 4, engineering, knowledge of math and physics level 6), the outlaw scientist and founder of the company, who lives on as a preserved brain connected to the company datasphere network.
    Member Benefits: Being hired by Bandar Labs requires a lengthy background check to weed out moles, not to mention requiring some kind of technical or scientific acumen. A member of Bandar Labs can, in place of a skill, acquire privileges to use a state of the art laboratory in a legally protected zone, along with a housing stipend.
    Rival Groups: The Ohtam-Ka Research Institute, The Enclave, Metatemporal Technologies

The Galactic Army of Vigilance

    Feared and reviled by criminals all over the galaxy, the Galactic Army of Vigilance is the long arm of interplanetary law. Though technically a private military contractor, the GAV was envisioned as a paramilitary force to coordinate disparate planetary law enforcement groups. Governments pay the GAV to enforce their laws, capture and extradite criminals, and work as an intermediary between their local law enforcement and that of other governments. Nevertheless, most view the GAV as the enforcers of the OP, as the OP hold the GAV's largest outstanding contract that comprises nearly half of their funding.
    The GAV has an unorthodox system of leadership. Rather than a president or director, the GAV is run by Shalobo (level 10), a machine intelligence designed to be the perfect judge and enforcer. GAV officers all wear suits of intelligent nanites that appear as a skin-tight black film. When activated, these suits increase the wearer's physical abilities, and also allow Shalobo a modicum of control over the wearer's nervous system. Officers are expected to use their personal judgment, but when they are in over their head or making bad descisions, Shalobo can influence them or briefly take control.
    Typical GAV Officer: Level 4 (12), 20 hp, Armor 2. Attacks, detects lies, as level 6.
    Member Benefits: Joining the GAV requires a lengthy background check, rigorous physical and psychological evaluation, and months of intensive training. Those who graduate, however, are issued a black suit and given a full-time schedule of duties. Further, in lieu of a skill, a GAV officer can gain the ability to observe a person for a full minute and make an Intellect check. If successful, using a combination of profiling and instinct, the officer can determine if the individual is guilty of a major crime.
    Rival Groups: The Citizens' Agency, The League of Discriminators, The Outer Bureau

The Kaemor-Threx Group

    The Kaemor-Threx Group are a galaxy-renowned guild of assassins. They were founded on planet Leriek, home of the kudiv, a race of humanoid black-shelled insects. The kudiv are organized into houses, which are powerful extended families that control all aspects of society and are ruled by Queens. Internecine warfare is commonplace between Houses, but House Kaemor and House Threx decided to pool their resources and sell their best assassins' services to the galaxy.
    The Kaemor-Threx Group has grown since then, and trains assassins of all species. Kaemor-Threx likes to have readily available assassins in a wide variety of places, so their assassins typically live double lives, working normal jobs until called upon with a mission. This policy is especially useful on planets where their services are illegal.
    Queen Aarab Nul Kaemor (level 2, Intellect tasks as level 7) is the current leader of the Kaemor-Threx group. She is an old, bloated kudiv queen who rarely leaves her computer-filled royal chambers.
    Member Benefits: A Kaemor-Threx assassin can, in place of a skill, take the Surprise Attack ability (Numenera corebook, page 70), the tier 1 ability for the Murders focus. If they already have this ability, they can choose to have their Surprise Attack deal 2 extra damage or reduce the difficulty by an additional level.
    Rival Groups: The School of Imyo, The Tenebrous Oath, The Galactic Murder Company

The Sorcerers of Drune

    The Sorcerers of Drune are a mystical sect of nano-sorcerers and long time enemies of the Vin Karu Order (see below). The drune, according to the Sorcerers, were a race of aliens who achieved the highest levels of technological and societal evolution, capable of traveling between planes of existence with ease, and even engineered new realities to their specifications. They call this technology the Primal Flame, and they seek to recreate it through a combination of technology and mysticism, thus becoming more like the quasi-mythical drune who they revere.
    An extremely old organization, the Sorcerers of Drune are alleged to have been founded by the vishtaal, a race of psychically-endowed reptiles, following contact with the drune themselves. Either way, the Sorcerers have been around in some form or another for millennia, despite attempts to stomp them out. The Sorcerers are widely regarded as terrorists and criminals, for their philosophy puts an extreme emphasis on the individual, to the point where they do not respect non-Sorcerers' rights or laws when they become inconvenient to their goals.
    The Sorcerers of Drune have secret enclaves all throughout the galaxy, usually composed of local intellectuals and scientists. They frequently have dealings with the criminal underworld, and may be contacted through those channels. Prospective members must all have some profound technological or psychic ability.
    Member Benefits: All Sorcerers of Drune are taught the Azure Flame technique, which is essentially the Onslaught esotery (Numenera corebook page 35), except that it explicitly deals fire damage, in the form of a blue flame that needs no air to burn. If the character already knows the Onslaught esotery, they learn the Azure Flame technique and are also trained in attacks with it, specifically.
    Rival Groups: The Evening Cabal, The Rohane, The Fraternity of Ruthlessness

The Starry Eye

    An organization ancient beyond reckoning, it is rumored that The Starry Eye was founded by the first species to achieve TL 9, and indeed, its upper echelons are populated solely by such species. The Starry Eye is devoted to information, both collecting and cataloging. The amount of data they have collected far exceeds the storage capacity of the physical universe, and they have engineered several realities solely for the purpose of data storage.
    Any and all information is collected. The life story of every living thing, the history of every atom, every word ever spoken, etc. What purpose this information serves is known only to the upper echelons. The lesser species who serve as agents for The Starry Eye are ordered to visit various worlds and record information, often with no discernible pattern. They are only ordered to intervene when they are prevented from gathering their assigned information. Such agents are rewarded with access to this valuable information, and most persist in a bid to become more like their god-like masters.
    The Starry Eye can operate covertly or overtly. Most governments tolerate their presence, however, because of the immense value of their information, which can sometimes be persuaded to sell. They never sell to those who have obstructed their mission, however.
    Member Benefits: Agents of The Starry Eye are rewarded with information. In place of a skill, an agent can learn the following esotery.
    Dossier Search (2 Intellect points). You mentally access The Starry Eye's exhaustive personnel database. Using this power, you can learn all the basic facts (species, age, occupation, history, etc.) about one creature you can see in short range.
    Rival Groups: The Scribes Eternal, The Savant Legion, The Yenth Information Group

The Third Horizon Group

    In the vastness of space, no commodity is quite as valuable as an uninhabited world ripe for settling. Exploring the galaxy, finding and surveying new worlds is the job of a locator. The Third Horizon Group is one of the largest and most prestigious locator companies. They maintain a fleet of thousands of locator vessels, and have staked their claim on hundreds of thousands of worlds. These worlds are bought and sold by the ultra-wealthy and government organizations at special auctions.
    Third Horizon is always hiring new locators. Teams of locators should be tough, capable, and willing to spend months if not years on end alone in the void. Special preference is given to those who already have their own ship. However, Third Horizon cannot abide by pirates or claim jumpers, and aside from locators they also hire plenty of mercenaries to chase off unlicensed settlers.
    Member Benefits: All locators are automatically trained in galactic lore (the history, location, and significance of known worlds), as well as determining the habitability and value of a planet.
    Rival Groups: Planetary Stock and Trade, Dezorom World Holdings, Cosmographics

The Veiled Circle

    One of the largest and most powerful criminal organizations in the galaxy, The Veiled Circle has operations on countless worlds. The bulk of their funds come from the usual illegal gambling, narcotics, and slave trading, but they also specialize in smuggling proscribed technology and art theft.
    The Veiled Circle is known for its skill at integrating disparate groups of criminals and its frustrating ability to avoid law enforcement. The Veiled Circle uses a cell-type structure, with officers knowing only the members directly below them and a single contact above. Further, members wishing to achieve a rank of officer must spend a month in one of the Veiled Circle's infamous Lodges, built in the middle of the wilderness on a backwater planet where prospective officers must rely on each other to survive. At the very top of the organization is the Circle itself, a council of a dozen or so gang leaders, all of whom answer to a single leader: a mysterious entity known only as the Engineer (level 10).
    The Engineer understands the importance of public relations, as well. Whenever the Veiled Circle sets up operations on a new planet, they start off by introducing much-desired proscribed technology on the cheap, before ramping up prices. Getting the population hooked on advanced technology makes them less likely to cooperate with law enforcement. They also use cloaking technology extensively, to hide their grislier crimes from the public eye.
    Member Benefits: All members of the Veiled Syndicate get an asset on intimidation tasks with those who know they are members. Those who have survived the Lodge get an asset on all social interaction tasks with other criminals, and a level 5 artifact that can hide the user or every creature in a short radius from all sensory detection. Depletion 1 in 100, roll every minute of use.
    Rival Groups: The Needle Syndicate, The Disciples, The Kihoshichi Family

The Vin Karu Order

    The Vin Karu Order are another mystical sect of nano-sorcerers. They were also originally created by the vishtaal, but much later than the Sorcerers of Drune. After a prominent Sorcerer detonated an experimental super weapon and wiped out the population of the world Sathay, the Vin Karu Order was founded first to exterminate the Sorcerers, and second to be their utter antithesis.
    While the Sorcerers of Drune focus on individuality and knowledge, the Vin Karu Order focuses on community and simplicity. Every member of their order, called Karulists, must choose a "karu," which is a sort of higher purpose to which they will devote their lives. Karulists are usually selected at birth and raised in isolation, being taught only that which is necessary to fulfill their karu, so as to ensure purity of purpose.
    Though not formally recognized as a law enforcement organization, the Vin Karu Order is sworn to serve the Orphic Protectorate. As such, Karulists can be seen throughout the galaxy mediating disputes, hunting down rebels and terrorists, and confiscating proscribed technology.
    Member Benefits: It is extremely unusual that the Vin Karu Order will accept an adult into their ranks, as they prefer to raise Karulists from birth. All Karulists possess a ceramic short-sword which is their iconic weapon. This sword is a level 8 artifact with no depletion roll. It counts as a medium weapon, deals 5 damage, and the wielder can use their Intellect pool for applying effort.
    Rival Groups: The Victims of Darkness, The World Tower Fellowship, The Ziu-Moh-Oro

Vyre and Associates

    Given the sheer vastness of the Orphic Protectorate's territory, economic unity is impossible. Experts agree that there is no good way to unify all the galaxy's disparate economies under a single currency. Enter Vyre and Associates. A financial consultation and banking conglomerate, Vyre and Associates is based on Octis, the homeworld of the lexeguar, though they have successfully established branches on almost every world in the Orphic Protectorate.
    They invented and maintain the Orphic Protectorate Trading Chip, or just "T-chip," which allows users to instantly and digitally convert funds in their account to the local currency to effortlessly conduct transactions. T-chips are free to acquire and use and are accepted practically everywhere.
    The true purpose for Vyre and Associates, however, is more sinister. The lexeguar are known for their sadistic invention, "the lifebottle," which is a device that stores a living creature in an extradimensional space where time flows more quickly, allowing years to pass from the perspective of the creature within, but only moments in the rest of the universe. These devices somehow "siphon off" years of a person's life, which provide the lexeguar with nourishment and pleasure in a manner not well understood. Though it is illegal for lexeguar to purchase the life of others, they can offer it as an alternative to paying off debt.
    Member Benefits: The organization you represent is wealth incarnate. On any world with a V&A branch, you need never pay for middle-grade food or lodgings. You also get an asset to intimidation, assuming the subject cares about money.
    Rival Groups: OP Financial, Qalah-Shemaz Intergalactic, Meroda Capital

Friday, October 2, 2015

Into the Night Faction - The Orphic Protectorate

    Hey, everyone. In response to a notable lack in Into the Night, I said that I would write up some information about a galactic federation or some such organization to liven up space. Here's my take on it, and I only hope that it lives up to the standard. With that, I give you the Orphic Protectorate.

The Orphic Protectorate

Flag and insignia of the Orphic Protectorate.

    One of many interplanetary governments, the Orphic Protectorate is the largest such organization in the Milky Way Galaxy. They are dedicated to protecting galactic civilization and ensuring that the disparate alien civilizations can live as they choose without resorting to violence. To this end, the OP arbitrates disputes between governments, legislates galactic law, and occasionally uses force to diffuse conflict or protect against outside threats.
    Above all, the OP holds to the doctrine of non-intervention, believing that all civilizations must be allowed to follow their own natural course of evolution without upsetting outside influence. The OP monitors the activity of ships, bars landing on underdeveloped planets, and imposes sanctions against certain technologies on planets deemed unworthy.
    The OP is a democratic organization, but a tiered one. Government organizations throughout the galaxy may officially join the OP for the chance to send ambassadors to argue and vote on their behalf. However, in keeping with its doctrine of non-interference, the OP only accepts governments who have advanced beyond a certain level.
    Furthermore, different societies are given different rights and responsibilities based on their level of technological advancement. Less technologically advanced societies have a lesser say in deciding policy than more advanced ones, but are also asked to contribute fewer resources to the OP. Likewise, higher-tech civilizations have more decision making power, but are responsible for more of the funding and staffing of the organization.
    The OP has countless enemies and far more critics. These critics accuse the OP of opposing arbitrary restrictions on member worlds for the sake of socio-economic engineering and preserving the status quo, all to exploit lower-tech civilizations in favor of the higher-tech ones. Further, they claim that advancement to higher tiers in the organization has less to do with technological development and more with political maneuvering. Many of these critics are ambassadors or member-governments of the OP itself, but fortunately the OP protects all forms of speech.

The Protectorate Scale of Technological Advancement

    This is the scale by which the OP measures technological advancement of a civilization. Any time that an alien civilization is discovered, the OP sends a team of surveyors to profile all of the planet’s governments and civilizations. Then, according to a dizzying array of criteria, the surveyors assign 
the planet a “tech level,” and file a report to the OP. Though arcane, the tech levels assigned by the OP follow this general format:
  • TL 0 – Stone Age. Hunter gatherers with no agriculture. Little to no metal tools.
  • TL 1 – Agrarian Age. Agriculture discovered, permanent civilization and metal tools common.
  • TL 2 – Industrial Age. Steam powered automation discovered. Mass production begins.
  • TL 3 – Electrical Age. Electricity discovered and widely used for lighting, machines, etc.
  • TL 4 – Information Age. Large scale use of computation. Global telecommunications network present.
  • TL 5 – Space Age. Slower-than-light space travel common. Other planets and moons in the star system colonized.
  • TL 6 – Interstellar Age. Faster-than-light space travel common. Multiple star systems explored/colonized.
  • TL 7 – Immortal Age. Biological immortality discovered and all disease eradicated. Unlimited free access to physical needs.
  • TL 8 – Cosmic Age. Travel between galaxies common. Matter and energy harvested on a cosmic scale. Society free of all material want.
  • TL 9 – Transcendent Age. Travel between realities and through time well-established, if not common. Engineering new universes and altering the laws of physics possible.
    Only civilizations of TL 4 or higher are permitted to join the OP. If the society is assigned at least TL 4, the OP sends a team of ambassadors to greet the alien leaders, welcome them into the galactic community, and offer them OP membership.
    If the civilization’s TL is 3 or lower, then the OP does not reveal its presence and instead sets up an automated monitoring system to watch for further development. The OP’s doctrine of non-intervention is binding, and all member societies are forbidden from approaching OP designated TL 3 or lower planets. The OP has also been known to evacuate or rescue planets bearing sentient species in the event of global catastrophes, so as to prevent extinction, but otherwise they do not interfere.

The Orphs

    Though the OP contains many TL 9+ species, among them the devas, the ahrmen, the isiri, et al., the enigmatic orphs are the masters of the organization. The OP was the brainchild of the orphs, and it bears their name to this day. Though officially the orphs have no more authority than any other TL 9 species, it is impossible to verify, as lesser races find the actions of TL 9 species incomprehensible. From the enigmatic comments of other, comparable species, it is inferred that the orphs wield special privileges.
    In fact, some doubt the existence of the orphs altogether, as they have thus far concealed themselves from the rest of galactic society. Their claim is that any contact with a lesser race, even allowing themselves to be seen, would unbalance their societal evolution, violating their doctrine of non-intervention.
    When an orph needs to convey a message to another species, they usually appear in the form of a roughly humanoid robotic body, or as a holographic projection of a member of the observer’s own species. Given their extreme advancement, orphs are practically incomprehensible by lesser races, and many of their instructions, orders, and suggestions make no sense.
    Orph (Robotic Body): Level 8 (24). 40 hp. 5 Armor. Can fly Long distance per round. Intellect tasks at level 10.

The Athraim

    The OP’s central base of operations and a common ground for all member species, the Athraim is a massive embassy and space station. Circling a planet-less white dwarf star called Pergolo, the Athraim takes the form of a spherical object enclosed in clear, hexagonal synth panes. The Athraim is the size of a small moon, about 3000 miles around, and the surface beneath the outer shield is entirely covered in a vast cityscape. Further, the Athraim is built as a series of nested spheres, each with more buildings on it.
    The Athraim is extremely old, and was actually found drifting and derelict before being repurposed for its current function. At the very core of the Athraim, amid its various machinery, is ball of organic brain matter a mile across, fused with layers of optical circuitry and ceramic structure tubes. The brain is alive, but it serves no apparent function. Many speculate that the Athraim was once a single intelligent creature, a cyborg taken to its logical extreme. However, the station predates the OP and even the orphs, so no one truly knows.
    The Athraim features not one, but several debate halls for council meetings, and contains permanent residence for over 10 billion ambassadors and staff. The cityscape of the Athraim is made of nigh-indestructible white synth (level 10), and the individual districts can have their atmospheric and gravity conditions altered to suit the residents. Further, the entirety of the Athraim is covered in a violence-suppression field that makes any violent action require a level 9 Intellect check.
    Important locations are connected by teleport pads, as well as a system of transport-tubes and flying cabs. Getting anywhere from anywhere on the Athraim takes no more than a couple of hours at most.
    Aside from the spaceport, various common-ground offices and meeting halls, the Athraim is also technologically segregated. Fearing ambassadors from low-tech worlds may steal, purchase, or otherwise illegally acquire proscribed technology, all personnel aboard the Athraim are confined to areas of their own tech level.
    Given the violence-suppression field, the restrictions on technology, and the assumed constant surveillance, over half of the Athraim is uninhabited. Almost everyone on the Athraim either works for a member government, the OP, or a business with branches on Athraim.

The Athraim Hearsay
  • The Kaemor-Threx Group, an elite guild of assassins, has developed a device to negate the Athraim’s violence suppression field. The OP denies this, but many ambassadors would pay dearly to hire an assassin equipped with such a device.
  • A coalition force of TL 4 and TL 5 ambassadors is planning a demonstration to picket important OP offices, in protest of the OP’s technology sanctions and inequality.
  • The Arnox, a rival interplanetary government, has infiltrated the Athraim. Security has increased, but with technology equaling the OP, chances are good that the Arnox will succeed in their mission before being caught.

The Weird of The Athraim
  • The ambassador of the ochopi, a race of blue-shelled crustaceans, does nothing but draw bizarre symbols on the walls of buildings, seemingly at random. The cleaner drones can’t seem to get them off, either.
  • Certain districts are subject to recurring temporal weather. Within these districts, time might move several times faster or slower than usual, sometimes for days.
  • Reports describe bizarre, white-skinned five-limbed creatures coming out of the walls and stealing things from the apartments of staff and ambassadors before melding back into the walls. The creatures match no known species, sentient or otherwise, and the most thorough scans reveal nothing.

More Factions

    If you liked that, there's more where that came from. I don't think I'm going to write up another faction in quite this much detail, but I will write up a list of some other important space factions. You can expect a post like that in the next few days. Until then, iadace.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Random Aliens - Examples

    To show off my neat random alien tables, I decided that I would make some sample alien species. Here we have three alien species and options for characters to play them. For each entry, I have included the raw table data as well, which I may have modified slightly to make more sense.

    If you didn't see my random aliens tables, you can find them here:

Random Alien Tables

The Inthiolar

Raw Data
Biology: Biped; Mineral; Large; Swimming; Natural Weapons, Fast; Vulnerability; Parthenogenesis; Moderate life span
Society: TL 6 – Interstellar Age; Plutocracy; Animism, Atheism; Virtues: Material wealth and sexuality; Vices: Charity and chastity; Dozens of star systems; Unknown
Planet: Near Earth-like; Warm, Parched; Supercontinent; Unbreathable; Diverse; Moderate population; Occasional traffic; Virgin

    The inthiolar (singular, inthiol) are a race of aquatic humanoids that are about 10ft tall, but stand with a hunched posture. Their bodies are slender and streamlined, with digitigrade legs, webbed feet and hands with sharp claws, and a small, curved snout on the end of a long flexible neck. Inthiolar are silicon-based lifeforms, rather than carbon based, and their skin is actually a tough, translucent silicon-based polymer. An inthiol's internal organs are fairly visible, suspended inside their clear bodies in a medium of effervescent blue liquid. They are swift and capable swimmers, but also must keep their gills wet or risk suffocation. Inthiol are usually "male," (actually neuter) but once a year they briefly become female, during which time they can choose to reproduce by parthenogenesis.
    Inthiolar are strongly material creatures, valuing material wealth over all else. There are almost no inthiolar volunteers or charities. Most inthiol governments are plutocracies, where a citizen's voting rights are scaled according to material wealth, with the ultra-wealthy as the ruling class.
    While much of their culture was originally based around an animistic religion venerating numerous minor divinities and nature spirits, spirituality has faded with their society's development, and now the majority of them do not actually believe their religions' tenets. However, they do still agree with their religion's positive emphasis on sensual pleasure, and as such most inthiol cities have a temple which serves as a brothel.
    The inthiol homeworld is known as Tueth, and it is heavily polluted. There is one large supercontinent that is mostly in the southern hemisphere, and most inthiol cities are built on the coast and underwater on the continental shelf. The pollution, however, has caused temperatures to rise and the oceans to recede, making land near the equator uninhabitable, and drying out some cities.
    Inthiol society has achieved FTL travel and colonized a few dozen nearby star systems. This has made Tueth something of a backwater for their species, with more and more colonists leaving every day. Further, the inthiolar controlled systems are tucked into the remote edge of the galaxy, and they have yet to make contact with galactic civilization at large.

Playing as an inthiol:
As a modifier: If you don't want to take inthiol as a descriptor, you can take these modifiers instead.
  • Aquatic. Numenera corebook page 127.
  • Water dependent. Every day that you go without immersing yourself in water, you take 1 point of Might damage that cannot be healed until you are immersed in water.
New Descriptor: Inthiol
    Fast. +2 to your Speed pool.
    Aquatic. Numenera corebook page 127.
    Claws. Your unarmed attacks count as medium weapons rather than light weapons.
    Skill: You're trained in all tasks regarding economics or commerce.
    Water Dependent. Every day that you go without immersing yourself in water, you take 1 point of Might damage that cannot be healed until you are immersed in water.

The Orteng

Raw Data
Biology: Multi-limbed; Amphibian; Human-sized; Burrowing; Smart, Fast; Violent; Parasitic; Very Long lifespan
Society: TL 4 – Information Age; Anarchy; Polytheism, Anti-theism; Virtues: Individuality, Honesty; Vices: Community, Politeness; Hundreds of star systems; Liked
Planet: Large; Temperate, Dry; Breathable atmosphere; Dead biosphere; Sparse; Isolated; Fresh

    The orteng (singular and plural) are a race of 8-limbed amphibians with warty reddish-brown skin. They have a long, tube-shaped body about 6ft long which ends in a broad, wedge-shaped head, set with three large, round black eyes and a broad mouth full of teeth. 8 limbs stick out from their sides, all of which end in four-fingered grasping hands. The front two are the most developed, so orteng usually walk on six and use the front two for manipulation, but in a pinch they can walk on four and use four.
    Orteng are hermaphrodites, and their method of reproduction is grisly. They need only mate once, a bloody, painful affair, after which they may, at any time, lay eggs in another living thing using their hard, sharp ovipositors. Orteng grubs devour the host from within before emerging as orteng young. Orteng can live to be 200 years old.
    As amphibians, orteng are partially dependent on water. They have adapted to rely on it less, however, as a result of the unfortunate circumstances of their home planet, Maichen. Millenia ago, the orteng went to war with a species known as the shai. The shai used a weapon that teleported all of Maichen's water into the sun, turning Maichen into a desert.
    The shai were destroyed by the forces of the Orphic Protectorate, but orteng civilization has declined precipitously. Their technology has regressed to point where they can no longer build spacecraft, and the planet's biosphere is practically dead. Orteng now live in the relative dampness of small underground warrens, holding only a few thousand souls each. Prior to the cataclysm, the orteng had a theocracy, but they have since overthrown all government in favor of lawless communes, governed only by an informal code of ethics.
    Orteng are known for their intelligence and single-minded dedication, and most pursue a specific area of technical expertise. Essentially every orteng is a technician or expert of some sort, and as such they are still valued by other species. Many of the orteng's former allies also take pity on them, and since they are official members of the Orphic Protectorate, whole communes can often raise the funds to emigrate, and thus can be found on hundreds of worlds.

Playing as an orteng:
As a modifier: If you don't want to take orteng as a descriptor, you can take these modifiers instead.
  • Partial Water Dependence. You must immerse yourself in water at least once a week, or the difficulty of all tasks requiring strenuous physical activity is increased by 1, due to your skin drying and cracking. This persists until you immerse yourself. If this time is spent in a high-humidity environment (like the rainforest), you can last two weeks before drying.
  • Violent. When combat breaks out, you must kill or otherwise incapacitate at least one creature, or succeed on a level 4 Intellect task, before you can stop fighting.
  • Skill: You are trained in numenera, or in one area of knowledge of your choosing.

New Descriptor: Orteng
    Smart: +4 to Intellect pool.
    Fast: +2 to Speed pool.
    Partial Water Dependence. You must immerse yourself in water at least once a week, or the difficulty of all tasks requiring strenuous physical activity is increased by 1, due to your skin drying and cracking. This persists until you immerse yourself. If this time is spent in a high-humidity environment (like the rainforest), you can last two weeks before drying.
    Violent. When combat breaks out, you must kill or otherwise incapacitate at least one creature, or succeed on a level 4 Intellect task, before you can stop fighting.
    Skill: You are trained in numenera, or in one area of knowledge of your choosing.
    Inability: You are foul tempered and have no respect for authority. Increase the difficulty of pleasant social interaction with non-orteng by 1. If the person to whom you are speaking is a religious authority of some sort, increase the difficulty by 2.
    Extra Equipment: You have a set of light tools. If you already have light tools, you have a set of heavy tools. If you have both, you have one extra oddity, chosen by the GM.

The Kreothi

Raw Data
Biology: Quadruped; Fish; Small; Flight, Swimming; Smart, Shapeshifter; Squishy; Hermaphroditism; Very Long Lifespan
Society: TL 5 – Space Age; Military Dictatorship; Monotheism, Moderate Observance; Virtues: Pride, Politeness; Vices: Honesty, Humility; Thousands of star systems; Ambivalence
Planet: Tiny; Warm; Moderate water; Countless islands; Breathable atmosphere; Fecund biosphere; Congested, bustling transit hub; Fresh. One or two previous worlds

    Kreothi (singular kreoth) are a race of soft-bodied aliens with four tentacle-like limbs radiating out from a sac-like central body, which contains organs and sensory apparatus. At full height, kreothi stand about 4ft tall. Their four limbs can serve as either ambulatory limbs or manipulators. Kreothi are boneless, and they can deform their body into a variety of shapes. They can spread out their limbs into broad fins, making them adept swimmers, and they can even glide with them. Kreothi are hermaphrodites who reproduce by internal fertilization and laying eggs. They can live to be 300 years old.
    Kreoth culture is based on overt displays of ability and bragging. Bragging is not only encouraged, but expected, and kreothi will often list a few of their proudest accomplishments when introducing themselves. However, they are an extremely proud people and easily offended. Their society has an elaborate system of etiquette, and personal disputes are often resolved by non-lethal duels.
    The kreoth religion is based on the worship of a single deity, Erdos, who is supposedly the first of the kreothi and credited with filling the void with planets and stars. The majority of kreothi worship and genuinely believe in Erdos's existence, and non-believers are viewed with suspicion and distaste.
    Danasos is the kreoth homeworld, a warm world of countless large islands and shallow seas bursting with life. Practically all of the islands host a crowded metropolis, and the population is over 15 billion. They have just recently come out of a period of political upheaval, where the previous governmental system of hereditary nobility was overthrown by a military junta, headed by the decorated and much adored General Amron (level 6, military tactics level 8).
    However, as a result of the war, kreothi honor culture, and the congested conditions of Danasos, the kreothi have spread far and wide across the galaxy, some seeking safety or better living conditions and some fleeing to escape their shame at losing a duel. Kreothi also find they prefer to be surrounded by other species, as they find it easy to look down on them. As such, kreothi can be found in small numbers on thousands of worlds.

Playing as a kreoth
As a modifier: If you don't want to take kreoth as a descriptor, you can take these modifiers instead.
  • Squishy. -2 to your Might pool.
  • Inability: Your natural hauteur is off-putting. Increase the difficulty of all pleasant social interaction by 1.
  • Deformable Body: You can reshape your body to suit a task. If you take one action to reshape your body, you gain an asset on swimming, slipping loose from bonds, or any other such task where this might be helpful.
New Descriptor: Kreoth

    Squishy. -2 to your Might pool.
    Smart. +4 to your Intellect pool.
    Inability: Your natural hauteur is off-putting. Increase the difficulty of all pleasant social interaction by 1.
    Deformable Body: You can reshape your body to suit a task. If you take one action to reshape your body, you gain an asset on swimming, slipping loose from bonds, or any other such task where this might be helpful.
    Gliding. You can take a turn to reshape your body into a parachute. With a level 4 Speed check, you can glide half as far as you fall, and you take no fall damage. If you fail, you take only half damage.

Final Thoughts

    So as I have hopefully demonstrated, it's quite possible to take a bunch of random nonsense and turn it into something useful, with a bit of thought. If none of these alien races interest you, then I hope at least you get some utility out of the tables. 
    Further, some of you may have noticed that I occasionally referred to something called the "Orphic Protectorate." I mentioned that I intended to make a galactic federation type organization, and that's it. You can expect a more detailed write up coming soon. Until then, you have any ideas or suggestions for improvement, then by all means, let me know.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Into the Night - Random Aliens, part 3

    Welcome to the third and final part of my Random Alien tables for Numenera. This section has tables for generating random alien planets. As you are more than likely creating this planet with a specific usage in mind, these tables are probably the most subject to individual finagling. If you are trying to make a homeworld or colony for a specific alien species and you roll some results that make no sense, don't be afraid to just pick one that's better suited.

Random Alien Tables

  1. Biology
  2. Culture
  3. Planet - You are here.


Table 16 – Size
Tiny. Equatorial circumference <15k miles. Light gravity.
Small. Equatorial circumference 15-19k miles Light gravity.
Near Earth-like. Equatorial circumference 20-30k miles. Normal gravity.
Large. Equatorial circumference 31-35k miles. Heavy gravity.
Huge. Equatorial circumference >35k miles. Heavy gravity.

Table 17 – Temperature
Table 18 – Moisture
Average Surface Temperature
Percent surface water
Freezing. < 48 °F
Dry. No surface water
Cool. 49-53 °F
Parched. <30% water
Temperate. 54-62 °F
Moderate. 30-60% water
Warm. 63-73°F
Earth-like. 60-80% water
Scorching. > 73°F
Drowned. +80% water

Table 19 - Landmasses
Countless islands

Table 20 – Atmosphere
None/Thin. Bring air or risk suffocation.
Unbreathable. The atmosphere is inert, but unbreathable. Bring air or risk suffocation.
Thick. Special pressure mask needed, or take 1 Might damage per hour.
Poisonous. Take 1 Might damage per round of breathing this atmosphere.

Table 21 – Biosphere
Dead. No life worth noting.
Simple. Bacteria and algae.
Diverse. Plants, animals, etc. Earth-like.
Fecund. Extreme diversity, like the rainforest.
Hybrid. Mixture of multiple alien ecosystems.
Artificial. Carefully engineered for a desired effect.

Table 22 – Habitation
Table 23 – Traffic
Uninhabited. Possibly a few hermits.
Isolated. Nobody ever comes here.
Sparse. < 5 billion.
Rare. Once every few years.
Moderate. 5 to 10 billion.
Occasional. A few arrivals/departures a year.
Populous. 10 to 20 billion.
Often. A few arrivals/departures a month.
Congested. 20 to 50 billion.
Daily. People come and go every day.
Super-Metropolis. > 50 billion
Bustling transit hub. Constant coming and going.

Table 24 – History
Virgin. The people living here have always lived here.
Fresh. One or two previous worlds.
Used. Three to five previous worlds
Venerable. Several previous worlds, like Earth.

What's Next

    With these tables completed, I feel as though the only sensible thing to do would be to test them out. I think my next post will be some example aliens and their planets created with these tables, polished up and ready to go. Aside from that, I've got plenty of ideas just related to Into the Night:
  • Expanded spaceship rules
  • Rules for mass-produced technology
  • A Galactic Federation-style organization
  • A Mos Eisely-style shadowport
  • Factions in space
  • Homeworlds of established visitants
    If there's something else that you want to see, leave a comment and let me know. If I like your idea, I just might do it.