Monday, November 14, 2011

Kitchen Sink Expeditions: Lightspeed -- Part II


In Part I, we explored the background of Lightspeed and the broad strokes of the setting. In this Part, I hope to tackle the major elements of the setting, and show how they can be used as the homages that they are.


The Interstellar Federation


This is clearly the Star Trek Federation equivalent, but its origins lie in an alliance of colonies that threw off the yoke of Old Earth Empire exploitation. It is governed as an interstellar republic with almost 1000 Member Worlds, 10,000 Associate Worlds and over 15,000 Colonies and is protected by military and civilian forces known as StarForce and AstroPol respectively.


AstroPol is a star-spanning law enforcement agency, with many different arms to help create many different law enforcement campaign frames. There are the equivelent of Police Departments, Rangers for the borders, and Agents that are the equivalent of FBI/CIA operatives working of the good of the Federation.

StarForce is clearly a StarFleet equivalent, and the military structure and several other existents certainly do little to dispel that notion. The main difference is that StarForce is primarily concerned with defending against the machinations of the Pan-Solar Empire. Therefore, while there can be equivalents of Klingons, Romulans, and the Borg, the primary border of concerns is likely to be the one shared with the Empire.

Basing your campaign in the Interstellar Federation give you a chance to adventure in a stable, progressive space republic. It's not a utopia as the presence of AstroPol and StarForce makes clear, but it is perhaps, a society that believes that such a utopia is possible, despite the difficulties and opposition of rivals in the cold blackness of space.

Speaking of rivals...

The Pan-Solar Empire

The Emperor has a fondness for these insect
inspired designs.
This is the Star Wars equivalent, also originally part of the Old Earth Empire diaspora. The Emperor, a former general, staged a military coup in his quadrant and became the ruler of his corner of the galaxy. Since then, he has subjected himself to many life extension treatments and looks forward to eternal rule.

Opposing him are the Anti-Imperial Rebels -- outnumbered and outgunned at every turn, they fight valiantly to throw off the yoke of Imperial rule. Using guerilla tactics, old colonial spacecraft and secret bases, these Rebels manage to push forward in their efforts through covert financial and supply support from three main sources: aristocratic families that went into hiding after the Emperor came into power, the Interstellar Federation, and friendly Old Earth Empire factions.

There is a distinct lack of a Jedi equivalent in the setting -- which would actually work out well given the tendency of everyone and his mother wanting to play the supposedly extinct Jedi in a Rebellion Era Star Wars setting. There is also no Force in the setting, but older iterations of the Lightspeed may have a solution for that: ESPERs (which will be tackled in Part III).

Without ESPERs, however, the Rebellion will have to find other sources of technology and resources, and those may be found in the troubled birthplace of humanity...

The Old Earth Empires

The Corporation won't be happy about this...
So what is the point of the Old Earth Empires? This part of the setting is meant to capture different versions of a space-based future.

Most visible is the MegaCorporation-dominant vision, as reflected in Blade Runner (and revisited in Anime like Bubblegum Crisis), and the Alien / Aliens series of films. Cyberpunk campaigns and gritty space dramas can unfold in this corner of the galaxy, with protagonists eking out whatever small amount of happiness they can.

However, the MegaCorporations aren't necessarily the only game in town. Countries other than the U.S. have managed to retain their sovereignity and are reaching for the stars themselves. Japan's Space Defense Force, inspired by the Interstellar Federation, is an example of this; other countries in the world have managed to maintain and grow their interstellar holdings. In this setting, the European Union is a sad shadow of its former self, as most of its interstellar holdings were lost to the Pan-Solar Empire centuries ago.

Next Up: notable inclusions and possible additions

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