Stars - Setting


Introduction Characters Equipment Known Space
Setting Ship Combat/Flight Ship Gear Ship Plans
Government People Files

Tech Levels

TL Type Description
1 Primitive Stone to Iron Age
2 Primitive Renaissance to very early Industrial Age
3 Industrial Technology begins in ernest
4 Late Industrial Early space capability
5 Pre-stellar Regular orbital traffic, advanced computing. Soon.
6 Pre-stellar System exploration and exploitation. Sleeper tech.
7 Early stellar Grav tech. CL-drive. Advanced robotics. Mind-tech links.
8 Stellar Solar tap. Jump gates. Basic cybernetics. Man portable energy weapons.
9 Stellar Multi-jump CL-drive. Autonomous robots. Battle armor. Cloning.
10 Advanced Stellar Advanced cybernetics. True AI. Anti-aging drugs.


Systems are defined by the habitable / useful locations they contain. Each system can contain one or more important locations, along with other planets, moons and asteroid belts. Most systems have one or more gas giants suitable for scooping raw hydrogen for refueling CL-drive ships.

Each important location has a number of attributes that provide a broad overview of its main features and characteristics. These features are, in most cases, widely known via public databases. The standard features include:

Jump Gates

Gates require a gate at either end, basically source wormhole and destination beacon. Gate activations are very costly in terms of energy, the gate capacitors require several days of charging via a solar tap to open a wormhole. The typical gate runs on a 4 day cycle, with a fixed set of destinations in the rotation. Travel through a wormhole is nearly instantaneous. An open wormhole allows traffic in both directions. The standard protocol is the source side sends through all traffic, with the last ship through giving the all clear for reverse traffic. The final ship through from destination to source gives the all clear for gate shutdown.

Whereas CL-Drive ships move hundreds of tons, jump freighters move many thousands of tons. Think Nostromo from Alien vs. Serenity from Firefly. They are huge and slow.

CL-Drive ships can use Gates, but are limited by the Gate's schedule and available space. Generally CL-Drive ships are allowed through gates only after regular traffic has passed.


Most systems TL 6+ have communications networks covering all habitable locations. These networks are, of course, governed by the speed of light, so voice communications over inter-planetary distances can be an exercise in frustration with the associated time delays. Electronic messages, text, data, voice, or full video, are more commonly used formats.

Inter-stellar communications are limited to the speed of the fastest ship route between systems. Physical transport of communications data is an important, and profitable, service provided by CL-Drive ships. Most such data is transported on static media in tamper-resistant containers programmed to self destruct if forced open or after a certain amount of time has passed. At TL 8+ courier agents with data implants may be used to transport data instead.

One of the key advantages the Core has over most of the Independents is the Comprehensive Messages Protocol, or CMP. Using a standardized system of data transfer, a nearly perfect security system, standardized access points, data replication, and comprehensive regulation concerning transport of CMP messaging containers, The Core maintains a reliable information infrastructure which is accessable to anyone willing to pay the appropriate fees. Needless to say all major corporations pay. CMP is so effective that many of the Outer Cluster and Independent worlds have bought into the system, though without the centralized regulatory power of the Core to back it the data tends to be less reliable.



All Core-recognized inter-stellar governments use some form of identification papers for their citizens, and even those few Fringe systems that are completely cut off from the Core have some means of identifying people. The typical forms of ID are listed below, though at higher tech levels variations are very likely due to inter-stellar connections / agreements.

2 Paper identification in limited use
4 Formal paper identification standarized (passports)
6 Standardized electronic ID
8 Biometric ID with implanted data chip


Ships are generally flagged to some government, with registry information, flag and ownership included in the ship's transponder data sub-channel. Most governments treat unflagged ships as pirates (because usually they are). CL-Drive ships also have a recognizable energy profile, which is often filed as part of the ship's registry.

Note that a ship being properly registered and flagged may not protect it from local governments. Wars, hot or cold, trade disputes, and other political conflicts influence how much protection a ship gets from its flag. Core registries are the most secure, with Outer Cluster and major Independents a close second. Fringe registry is the most problematic, but also the easiest to obtain.

Ship equipment is generally regulated by the flagging government, and most governments respect this principle, so long as such items are properly declared and listed in the ship's manifest. Of course reason applies, and declaring 10 or 15 rifles as ship's equipment probably won't fly. Cargo is a different matter, and contraband cargo is subject to local law and import taxes.


Travel between systems is much like international travel today, there are check points, customs officials and border crossings to deal with. Crossing a border can be as easy as getting waved through a checkpoint or it can be a tedious process involving paperwork, scanning, strip searches, questioning and vessel inspection. Individual systems and even governmental groups within those systems have different travel procedures, but they can be generalized as follows:

Vessels that land / dock are generally isolated and secured in an access controlled area. Entry / exit from this area is treated as entering / exiting the surrounding governmental area, though ship's crew often receive an special visa allowing access to their ship while in port.

People are generally required to have some form of official identification, a passport if you will. Most ports will have some sort of entry and exit 'stamp' they use to denote travel into and out of the region. This can take the form of an actual stamp, an electronic record, or an encoded seal or tag. Systems may deny passage to individuals based on their system of citizenship or travel history.

Personal property may need to be declared if it is removed from the ship. Local regulations vary considerably. Restricted property may be allowed to remain aboard ship, or may be impounded for the duration of the visit.

Cargo is subject to customs inspections and taxation. Commercial cargo must have a proper manifest. Irregularities in cargo may subject the vessel to closer inspection.


There's some form of data network available on any TL5+ system. Data costs are outlined in brief on the costs page. The kind of data available varies, but here are some rough guidelines of what you can find:

Basic Data

People - Name, photos, education and work history, address, link addresses, web pages, legal proceedings, business associates. The accuracy and validity of this information varies. For a good example of how much, Google, Josh or Micah, then me. See how good it is having a non-unique name?

Company - Public records and licenses, directors, officers and employees, contact directory, web pages, corporate partners, locations, legal proceedings, product and marketing information. Publicly held companies will have more financial information exposed.

Government - History, resources, politics, jurisdiction, laws, treaties, propaganda, web sites, legal proceedings, marketing information, prominent figures, contact directory, affiliated organizations, military organizations, political process.

Basic data is primarily local, so it may not include information from off-world sources. For example the Darling network would know each character's name, home system (from travel records), job history and credit information (because it was pulled by CSI), and perhaps some legal history.

Secure Data

All of the above plus detailed financials, extensive legal history, detailed contact and location information, basic data on associated contacts, specialized data by request. Note that public access to a lot of secure data is restricted by law. Access is often licensed or controlled and requires either hacking or specific access passes.

Local secure data has the same limits as basic data, but is often more extensive. Proper access to the immigration database could gain military service records and travel history on the party members for example, but it requires specific access to get that information.

CMP Data

CMP data is equivalent to secure data, but will include information from all CMP planets. The same sort of access controls apply to CMP data as to secure data.