For my part, whatever they decide to do with this book, I'm putting the Pact Worlds setting in the Large Magellanic Cloud for campaigns I'll be running.
It's a really cozy but lively place down there in Nubecula Major, bustling with evolving races and civilizations.
It's also the first destination of choice for countless starfarers from the "mainland" of our galaxy wanting to explore beyond the outer rim.
The Milk Spiral dominates the night sky of every world in the Cloud, whether in Near Space or the Vast. It's the one cultural artifact nearly every civilization has in common, but the names and mythologies dreamed up about the Pageant of Heaven are as varied as the races themselves. "They say life here, began out there..."
From the sound of things I would say it's a lot like Jugger.
That is also the best argument against the use of fumble rolls and fumble decks.
These are kind of harder to pin down, so I had to get creative here. As a side not, it's my opinion that no race listed as a playable race is either intrinsically evil nor even predisposed to evil. Duergar aren't evil, nor drow, nor goblins, even if they are seen as such by narrow-minded fearful humans. If they are regarded as evil by the other races (like orcs and goblins often are), it's purely the result of racism, prejudice, and xenophobic attitudes toward minority races that have been marginalized, ostracized, forced to live in the least plentiful or arable lands, and continually hunted and persecuted by the dominant races for generation after generation.
Fetchling common: probably sounds similar to Wayang, since both races have ties to the Shadow plane.
Strix common: in mythology they seem to be related to vampires and other blood-sucking creatures (probably the same source that inspired the stirges). There is nothing predatory or vile in the reimagined version, however. Drawing solely upon the "Suspicious" trait of the Strix who live in a state of paranoia, that the older generations from the former Warsaw Pact nations will still remember, we may say that Strix might sound like something vaguely Slavic. They are a proud race who own the skies but have had a long-running feud with the human race (as represented by the races whose accents mimic those of the Western European languages), who have oppressed their kind with imperialist methods for ages.
Svirfneblin common: follow the Welsh of their gnomish cousins but are probably harder to understand since their accents will be thicker.
Suli common: Probably vaguely Middle-Eastern, since they are related to the jann of Arabian lore.
Nagaji, Vanara, and Vishkanyan common: Lore concerning the mythological bases of these races come from the Indian subcontinent, so their accents may well sound vaguely related to the Samsaran common accents to the untrained ear. The subcontinent is hugely diverse linguistically, so there are plenty of possibilities. My ear is just not attuned enough to pick up on variances (just like I can't tell any difference between German accents beyond the most superficial level). Someone else will have to do the work here.
Gillmen, Gripplis, and Merfolk: I really have no idea what to do about these races.
To round out the list a bit more:
Catfolk common: From their native lands in Garund near Holomog, their accent is likely near to Tanzanian or Ugandan English (just to make a geographical analogy here).
Duergar common: will sound hauntingly like some lost or strange Dwarven (northern British Isles) accent, but there is a harsh 'otherness' to it. Not unlike the differences in pronunciation between the R.P. English used reciting most Shakespeare today, and the revived Shakespearean accent as explained by Ben Crystal. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hi-rejaoP7U
Drow common: Most likely their accents will have a faint ring of the old elven tongue, but long years of separation will have ensured that Drow-accented common is easily distinguished from the elided and "H-less" accents of the elves.
Tengu common: Virtually nonexistent. Crows and ravens are found almost everywhere on Earth, and it seems Tengus are just as widespread on Golarion. They are linguistic and cultural scavengers as well as materialistic ones. Therefore there is no one consistent "Tengu common" accent, since Tengus are quite good at adapting their speech to fit into the wider world. http://www.d20pfsrd.com/races/other-races/featured-races/arg-tengu/
Aasimars, Changelings, Dhampirs, Fetchlings, Ifrits, Oreads, Sylphs, Tieflings, and Undines will usually take after their human parent's or relative's accent.
We can easily imagine the native languages of each alien race creates an accent in Common that leads to some recognizable real-world accent. For instance, this may be an actual sentence in Yoski Native:
In my games I'm just gonna run with this! Just because. Note: am Southern American
Human common: sounds like Received Pronounciation among the high nobility, while the middle and lower classes will sound more Londony or East Anglian or some shades of Birmingham.
Elf common: When elf nobility speaks common as a second language, it takes on a Dublin quality, but most elves have some kind of northern Irish island accent; others may have a highlander Scots who've criss-crossed cultural and linguistic influences with the dwarven clans. There's an elf-dwarf pidgin out there somewhere too, probably, but if so, it's likely endangered.
Halfling common: Their original native tongues have been dead for generations, but they've held on to their accents even after having adopted the languages of the 'daikini'. Dorset, Somerset, Cornwall...halfling pirates? heh.
Dwarf common: Glasgow, Yorkshire, Lancashire, Geordie; the upper classes of dwarves have stuck to their Edinburgh
Gnome common: Southern and Northern Welsh, maybe some Liverpool too.
Orcish common: Deep Southern American (Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, upper and middle Florida). The ruling families of the Orc nation invariably have a more 'genteel' accent, sort of dripping like molasses off the tongue (non-rhotic), while low-born orcs will have more of a crusty drawl like some rural rednecks. (definitely rhotic)
Half-elf & half-orc common: will follow whoever put in the most time raising them, or if their parents stayed together, they'll have an exotic mishmash of the parents' accents. Some half-Orcs may favor more 'watered-down' Southern dialects like Missourian, Tennesseean, Kentuckian, Virginian. There is a distinct half-orc "exile" accent that evolved from a colony of mixed-race and human self-exiles that gives their common speech an Appalachian twinge and a set of loanwords that may seem rather confusing to other Common speakers.
Hobgoblin common: New England accents (NYC, Boston)
Goblin common: The range of Canadian accents, because goblins are such a diverse bunch.
Bugbear common: Texan and Southwestern.
Kobold common: Californian, so-called "Valley Girl" parody is a stereotype. (So what does pure Draconic sound like, hmm?)
Lashunta common: French. Parisian-style spoken by the upper classes, everyone else favors different accents from the rest of Francophonia. A small portion of Lashuntan speech will have a distinctive Quebecois or maybe a "Cajun" twang to it, which the other races tend to parody the most.
Ysoki common: Australian as per this thread (although Australian has its own shades of different regions)
Vesk common: The ruling classes favor the Hochdeutsch or High German speech. The Vesk military families have evolved their own accent (Berliner) which have been influenced in part by the languages of the vassal races within the Veskarium. Vesk who come from colony worlds conquered by the Veskarium will often exhibit regional dialects of Vesk diluted with the characteristics of the conquered races; these Vesk will often be bilingual as well. The Vesk "colonial speech" is often lampooned, frowned upon, or outright ridiculed by the "pure" Vesk speakers.
Shirren common: Swedish! and maybe some other Scandinavian accents too. While the free Shirren only represent a small portion of the Swarm's genetic diversity, all regional variation in Shirren-speech was stamped out by the hivemind a long time ago. What variations that exist in the variation of Shirren familiar to the Pact World today is the result of very deliberate alterations in speech patterns as more and more Shirren consciously seek to innovate their own distinct accents. While all Shirren speech is mutually intelligible today, one should expect that over time, the free Shirren have created many divergent and mutually unintelligible languages.
The uncommon races drawn from Eastern and Asian mythologies will probably have accents resembling their native culture, such as Samsaran common resembling the range of Indian subcontinental English accents, or the Kitsune will have a Japanese accent in their common, and so on.
That's all I have for now.
Well, there is a wide spectrum between 100% human and 100% machine.
Type I: True humans conceived from unaltered gametes; also humans cloned from other standard humans are also standard humans.
Type II: A sperm or egg with genetically-modified chromosomes makes a GMO-human, which could lead to speciation. Examples: _Star Trek II_, _GATTACA_.
Type III: Synthetics. They are not true GMOs; they are not genetic copy-pasta. They are built from scratch using natural genomes as a guide, or spliced together from known genes. Examples: _Blade Runner_, _Battlestar Galactica 2004_, _Splice_.
Type IV: Cyborgs, beings with organic brains or intact nervous systems, but with machine body parts. (_RoboCop_ series, _Star Wars_, _Star Trek: First Contact_)
Type V: true Androids, mechanical brains with organic parts, like the Android race from Pathfinder/Starfinder. See also _Bicentennial Man_, _Terminator_ (T-800s with organic camouflage only). It could be argued that the synthetics from the Aliens series (Ash, Bishop, Call) are also Type V's, since they 'bleed'.
Type VI: Fully mechanical beings, Data, all of Asimov's other robots, the toaster-cylons, Terminator T-1000 & T-X, etc.
How I would do it, I'd give them four languages for different functions:
Datagram: For informal, everyday communication. Being robust and permissive of redundancy, this suboptimal protocol is remarkable for its ability to convey essential meanings despite some amount of signal degradation or packet loss.
Transmit: A more formal language which requires error-checking and handshaking. All legal code, blueprints, work orders, and other important data are written using Transmit. Transmit's only drawback is that all streams usually fail over less than a reliable wireless connection.
Encrypt: An auto-ciphering machine language whose ability to obfuscate its contents against unauthorized access is considered just about unbreakable by organics' standards. Encrypt is used for commercial and private data transactions. Encrypt is also known to be used by rogue AIs, deserters, the malware-possessed, and botnet hives.
Assembly: The sacred tongue of Triune, Assembly endows Aballonians with the capability of philosophical thought (technotheology). All worshipers of Triune are encouraged to pray in Assembly, although the deity will accept a divine connection using nearly any other communication protocol.
Creative writing is not just a skill, it's a labor of love and can be quite tedious if you care at all about trying to craft something that (you hope) will not only be interesting but also internally consistent within the rules you have imagined for your world. You also have to live with the nagging fear of rejection and bad reviews that will inevitably come out. It's your baby and you want it to thrive and win hearts & minds. The hardest thing to do is to step back and let it live or die on its merits, when you have to accept that it has to be good enough deadline or no deadline.
It's hard to give birth to greatness, harder still to rush it or work under pressure from fans and eager critics.
After A Year In Space, The Air Hasn't Gone Out Of NASA's Inflated Module
Bigelow Aerospace wants to make a whole space station with this technology. Bubble compartments made of reinforced cloth and fabric linked together sounds like something you'd see in Spelljammer / Starjammer or Starfinder, wouldn't you say? Probably cheaper than boosting a whole lot of metal and plastic into orbit, anyway.
Build one big enough and you could make yourself a self-sufficient bubble greenhouse (under spin gravity, of course). Grow some fresh food and sell it at a good price to all your fellow orbiteers that can't afford to bring up their own food from the surface.
Planetary orbits don't increase in radius incrementally. That is, the fifth planet's orbit would not necessarily be five times the size of the orbit of the first.
Orbital resonance between planets ensures that the further out you go from the central sun, the more distance there needs to be between neighboring planets if they are to have stable orbits.
If Triaxus has an eccentric orbit as we assume it would have for its seasonal changes, its orbit would need to be in resonance with its planetary neighbors so that neither planet pulls the other out of its stable orbit around the central sun (at least on the time scale of intelligent life and advanced civilizations developing on said planets). Given enough time, all planetary orbits will fail.
A "solar system map" should be considered as representing the sequential order of the planets of a system. If Triaxus is presented as circling between Eox and Liavara, then Eox's orbit most likely falls entirely within Triaxus' orbit, and Liavara's orbit (probably) encompasses Triaxus' orbit, but they wouldn't be of equal distance apart nor comparable of the distance between (say) Aballon and Castrovel, or Absalom Station and Akiton.
Jail time for different offenses probably vary according to species longevity. A ten year sentence means a lot less to an elf or drow than it would to a goblin.
Genetic theft (misdemeanor)
Cloning without consent (felony)
Cloning a person and duplicating their brain pattern, so the two are identical or near identical twins:capital offense, because you have to recognize the clone as a person at that point and can't terminate them.
Spells like the enchantment school that override a person's will, should be considered a form of mental rape. It is similar to spiking a person's drink then taking advantage of them. If they are under your control and commit certain crimes, you the caster would be the guilty party rather than the involuntary slave.
Ecological crimes might go above and beyond destruction of property or vandalism. If you contaminate a space station's air or water supply or cause the recycling machinery to make it inoperable, it's going to rank up there with manslaughter, reckless homicide, murder. Similarly if you damage or contaminate a colony's or starship's rationed food supply you're also dooming those who depend on it to a slow death by starvation or deficiency of essential vitamins, minerals, etc.
Starship theft should be an infamous crime, like stealing horses or cattle were in the Old West, or grand theft auto in modern times. It represents a person's livelihood (or the whole crew's). So piracy maybe should get you a long jail sentence in some places, or years of hard labor in others. Destruction of a stolen ship: capital crime for sure.
I'm building a space-fantasy Pathfinder setting that has its own cosmology.
It recognizes all the classes, races, and monsters of Pathfinder, though it might reimagine the origins or backstories of some things. As well as Dreamscarred Ultimate Psionics.
It puts humans on a fantasy version of Earth (Terrullus) in a solar system with a few extra planets and moons. Elves are not from Venus, but most of the uncommon and featured races from the ARG are native to the Terrullan segment of this galaxy, plus any other known PC races like the Vesk, Shirren, Astomoi, etc. And a few homebrew races.
Because Interplanetary Teleport is a thing, there's not a lot that goes on in interstellar space, although you still need to know exactly where you're going before the spell will get you there. And it is of course possible to block teleportation directly onto a planet, so you still need starships to get around sometimes.
An android should have little trouble changing its "skinning", going from humanlike to catfolklike or orclike or wolflike or other exotic themes, much like we can change the case of our devices on a whim. It's just clothing to them.
If you want to change an Android's entire body plan, then non-humanoid Androids could benefit a great deal from the rules for Eidolon base forms in the Summoner class.
Aquatic (merfolk shape)
Avian (two or four wings)
Quadruped (four legs)
Serpentine (including centipede- and millipede-like shapes)
Tauric (two arms and four legs)
and there could be others if you got creative. Maybe Hexaped (six legs, antlike), Draconic (four limbs and two wings, or two limbs and four wings), Sphere (BB-8), Cylinder (R2-D2 and similar morphology), Tenticular (body with two or more highly articulated limbs, octopus/squid/jellyfish), Decapod (crab), Face (immobile or levitating body, Dr. Theophilus)...
If there are multiple worlds where humans showed up and never had previous contact, but they can all interbreed on day one of contact (Kirk meets Princess), then there might easily be other races with multiple spawn points, all interfertile subraces. Given how the new races of Starfinder have bubbled their way to the top of the heap, we may speculate that there's more than one true homeworld for these 'favored' races.
We can hang it all on the Reincarnate spell. Whether a certain caster has ever met all the possible races of Reincarnate or not, the spell doesn't care about their ignorance; all possible outcomes are still viable outcomes. Once the spell is known on a given world, it is only a matter of time before enough of a population of a 'nonnative' species is 'reborn' to make a sustainable genetic pool.
Even on a world of the Veskarium, there could have been a statistically improbable event of rebirthing dead Vesk into Lashunta, Ysoki, Shirren, Human, Elf, Kobold, Kasatha, or any number of other races native to the Pact. These genetic offshoots would know nothing of the cultures or existences of their genetic brethren living under other suns, but these Reincarnees would remain steeped in Veskarian culture and habits--though nothing would stop someone from using divination to learn more about their new exotic racial identity.
Similarly, there must have been at least a few instances where Reincarnates took on a strange shell of a race that no one had ever seen before. But because no sustainable population of Vesk or Shirren were known in antiquity, we may surmise they didn't appear as Reincarnations enough to make a sustainable population. Or if they did, they went into hiding and remained unknown on Golarion or other Pact worlds until modern times (and perhaps remain hidden still).
If there are other races that have become more common than the ones who dominated in ancient times, then it must have been a combination of highly prolific birth rates, favorable economic circumstances, and particularly good results coming out of the otherwise random effects of many Reincarnate spells cast on many planets, and where all the humans that have been spawned on many planets have nonetheless met and mixed together and created a shared racial heritage that transcends culture, language, history, and homeworld.
For the Shirren we have to break it down to the biological level.
<< Shirrens have three sexes: male, female, and host. During reproduction, female and male shirrens provide the initial eggs and sperm, and hosts incubate the fertilized eggs while also adding their own genetic material and immunities. Shirren young spend their first 2 years in a tiny, wormlike larval form, and are often carried around in protective containers to let them safely observe the world. >>
In humans, both sexes contribute genes through their gametes. One sex contributes the stationary gamete and the other the traveling (motile, flagellated) gamete. The ovum maker also carries the zygote / embryo created from fertilization, for the full term of gestation.
In the Shirren species, all three sexes contribute genes through (I assume) their own versions of gametes. I am not sure if we are meant to take the terms "eggs" and "sperm" literally, but if so, then the S-male gametes can travel while the S-female gamete cannot.
Not all species with gametes follow this pattern. Examples exist in nature where all gametes of a species are flagellated, and where none are flagellated. (Isogamy) Because biological transfer occurs between the S-female and S-host, we can infer that the fertilized eggs (zygotes) of the Shirren retain the flagella of the male gametes which let them transfer to the third gender for further gestation, after which the S-host also contributes genes (which could be anything from another kind of flagellated gamete to something much less complex like soaking the embryos in a bath of naked DNA molecules exponentially generated via polymerase chain reaction). So it appears from an anthropocentric biological point of view we have two possibilities (false dichotomy fallacy notwithstanding):
One, that two of the three sexes create motile gametes (and therefore should be thought of as two male sexes), while the ovum-producing sex is female. Gestation by the S-host sex is also a female characteristic, which ought to suggest the third sex be considered at least semi-hermaphrotic.
Two, that only one sex creates motile gametes (and is male), one creates stationary gametes (at least initially) and is female; and that when the S-female mates with the S-host to inseminate the latter with her zygote fluid, this is not quite the same process, semantically speaking, as the initial union of ovum of sperm (or we would classify the female as hermaphroditic). After the zygotic transfer, the S-host inundates the zygotes with more genetic material (produced via a naturally-occurring polymerase chain reaction), which only then causes the unicellular zygotes to begin mitotically dividing and transforming into embryos.
If we accept the latter model (which IMO seems like a more reasonable explanation) then what we have are two forms of Shirren that have gender, and a third form that is sexless. In humans, there are individuals which do not actively present as male or female biologically, such as X0 chromosome type (Turner syndrome) or full/partial androgen insensitivity syndrome, or other conditions where expression or male or female traits is suppressed or mixed. In such cases where the masculinizing hormones are suppressed or the body is insensitive, the developing fetus reverts to feminine traits by default.
To that end it seems appropriate, even if it's more of an artifact of English's limitations in its pronouns than anything else, to refer to the male Shirren using masculine pronouns and to refer to the female and host Shirren using feminine pronouns (given that they share feminine characteristics of egg production and gestation).
I advocate a more personal use of pronoun, because while it seems more formal to refer to all Shirren (even non-Shirren) as singular-they, in the case of the Shirren there is a distinctive thread of worship of the individual. It is quite possible that some Shirren would take offense at being called a "they" because it is a reminder of the bad old days of being integrated into a collective mind.
Everyone Uses Singular 'They,' Whether They Realize It Or Not (NPR)
Of note, there is also the sci-fi book _Ancillary Justice_ by Ann Leckie. It is a "space opera set thousands of years in the future, where the primary galactic power of human-occupied planets is the expansionist Radch empire. The empire uses AIs to control human bodies ("ancillaries") that are used as soldiers, though regular humans also are soldiers. The Radchaai do not distinguish people by gender, and Leckie conveys this by using female personal pronouns for everybody, and by having the Radchaai main character guess wrongly when she has to use languages with gender-specific pronouns." (Wikipedia)
An upstart corporate executive of a popular cybernetics company has been clandestinely dumping energy blades and chainswords in key markets which, , without quality controls in manufacturing or proper training for customers acquiring these items on discount, will soon lead to increase of demand for cybernetic limbs...
It seems to me there should be a single NPC class that takes certain archetypes based on the character's background or profession. The setting has to allow for all kinds of cultures, caste systems, and economic systems. There just won't be many that many land-bound sharecroppers on Absalom Station who can count on both hands the number of times they've owned a gold piece.
I wonder why aren't the male Vesk the gender that has the natural colorings, similar to how the males of some species like peafowl, mallards, guppies, and mandrills are more brightly colored to stand out and 'impress' the females. So that a male Vesk may 'strut his stuff' or even exaggerate his colorings as a show of intimidation against other male Vesk or to show off in front of the ladies, even if these behaviors don't impress non-Vesk or even make sense.
Having this flipped around makes the race feel more anthropocentric, and less alien.
The magic infused in the world is what powers arcane stuff. If you want realism, imagine that magic has a finite bandwidth, like an ISP or electrical power grid or the water pressure in your apartment building. With very few users drawing juice from the system, your performance is awesome. But when hordes of casters/customers are sucking out as much as they can, there will be performance issues. Either everyone's performance will suffer loss or the system will overload from the strain and fail like a server DDoS'ed to death.
The Raven Black wrote:
Decree a false vacuum meta-stability event. Everything in the universe explodes at the speed of light. Campaign over.
The PCs hear about a race of clones with a magical illness called the cloning disease. Someone with the disease is rumored to be at their next stop and they need to capture this individual. The PCs are given a photograph of the person they are looking for, and are told how the disease works and how to keep from getting infected.
The cloning disease can be spread through injury with a natural weapon or through bodily fluids. Victims gain the ooze monster type in place of all their normal racial abilities, although they retain their normal ability scores (including INT) and class abilities. Physical appearance remains virtually unchanged except the victim begins to lose body heat and reaches room temperature after 2d12 hours (1d12 for small, +1d12 for each size category above Medium); thereafter their body temperature fluctuates like a cold-blooded animal. Victims also grow ravenously hungry, although no matter how much they eat they never look like they're gaining weight, they just increase in body density. These are the only clues that something is wrong. A victim at this stage does not have the blind traits of an ooze, although their perception of the environment may fluctuate in ways that vary from person to person, such as having flashes of all-round vision, being able to shrug off gaze attacks, shifts in color perception range (orange, yellow, red, and infrared), increase or decrease in depth perception and fine detail, and so on.
The hunger is always there but it waxes and wanes. Once a victim doubles their body weight, they feel an overwhelming compulsion to go hide someplace where they won't be disturbed for several hours. Once they find a place they will feel compelled to strip naked then immediately slip into a coma for 2d6 hours. (The process will begin after 24 hours regardless). During the coma the victim will divide into two identical copies of themselves (same proportions and density drops back to normal) even down to personality and memories. After the division process is complete, both copies will eventually wake up. Note that the creature's Blindsight does not kick in until the first division occurs, and it takes several minutes to adjust to the shift in perception.
One of the copies will usually wake up first and freak out to find themselves lying next to themselves, and perhaps run away or grab their clothing and gear first and then run away, leaving their clone naked and defenseless. The primal urge to run away usually wins out over freezing or fighting, but in rare cases the awakened clone will want to kill the unconscious one. If it tries to strangle it or break its neck, this will not work since oozes do not have bones, lungs, or windpipes. But the first attack is usually enough to wake it up. Lethal damage from a weapon may be sufficient to kill the clone before it has a chance to defend itself, although since it is an ooze, it will be immune to critical hits and sneak attack damage.
The original carriers of the cloning disease was a single individual who contracted it from an unknown source, perhaps one of those crazy wizard experiments that didn't work out as planned. That individual has no doubt multiplied many times and all of his clones have taken the disease with him.
I would worry someone would mistake the book as being published by "the other guys".
Adapting everything about Maximum Xcrawl except perhaps the background setting itself, and adapted to Starfinder rules and set in the Pact World as having originated on Akiton. In time the sport has spread out to many other planets. Each planet's Dungeon Judges have their own variations and quirks about what kinds of monsters and hazards they like to use.
While all the new Starfinder races would fit in well as Xcrawl athletes, Vesk and Ysoki are particularly fond of the sport and both excel in their own way.
It should come as no surprise that most Androids just don't see the point of all that carnage and unnecessary risk.
Kasatha athletes, though rare, are highly-sought after for their melee versatility.
Lashunta females always seem to bring in the big endorsements with their good looks.
The sport is also quite popular with Shirren, who enjoy the challenge and the many options that come with navigating an X-crawl Dungeon. Of course, when the _Dungeon Judge_ is a Shirren, the crawl designs tend to veer off into left field in terms of complexity and intricacy, or the lack thereof. Meaning, option and choice denial as an attempt at Shirren sadism. Consequently Shirren crawlers just about lose their minds from the torture, while other races just go on down the railroad.
Or the hilariously bad episode where various admirals have been taken over by evil alien parasites in what was presumably an attempt to explain away the general incompetence of Star Fleet, but said aliens never show up again.
One theory is that the "Bluegill" reinforcements got lost trying to reach Federation space.
In my headcanon everything that happened in that episode after the warp 10 trip were all false memories given them by the Q (which makes sense, because only Q would make up something that silly). In fact, Warp 10 makes you a Q-like being with Q-like powers.
When Paris went to Warp 10, he came back normal, then began manifesting thought into reality. He got this power from reaching the End of Universe ("Where No One Has Gone Before"). It starts out weak parlor tricks then gets really out of hand. Ultimately Paris tries something drastic once he feels he has mastered his new powers. It fails, then Q shows up.
Paris' voyage got the attention of a LOT of powerful races who came over to investigate, because that's apparently how a race graduates to become demigod in power. Some of them are aghast at how primitive these humans still are, and probably want to destroy Voyager because humans aren't "ready" for that kind of power yet. Some of them accuse Q of shenanigans trying to uplift other races for his own amusement....he denies everyrhing of course. Now the Traveler also shows up, along with Wesley Crusher and advocates on behalf of the humans and Voyager crew. It's a great big brouhaha with Voyager stuck in the middle. Half of them want to kill everyone just for making this huge fuss, and the other half want to actually help Voyager--not by getting them home, but by ascending them all as Q-like beings and joining the community of demigod races (although they would also have to give up on ever returning to their old lives and families).
Q is annoyed, because he considers humans "his" pets. But he is also mildly impressed by their being able to engineer a Warp 10 drive so early in human evolution. As an act of mercy, he prevents the malevolent demigod beings from destroying Voyager outright, rigs the Warp 10 engine (as a concession to the bloodthirsty beings) so that it would explode and wipe out the whole Voyager crew if it's ever activated again, and finally brainwashes the Voyager crew's memories so they'll be too afraid to try again. Because salamanders is how Q really sees humans still. Salamanders who know how to build warp drives.
Humans can be proud warriors, contemplative, elegant, hard-working, or philosophical too...why couldn't there be all sorts within the other races.
Every character should have a space-bike as part of their starting kit. One (1) economy-class Drift engine interfaced with an economy-class power plant, economy-class piloting controls, short-range comm system, and navigation system, and an economy-class O2/H2O recycler compatible with your personal vacuum suit, all held together by a non-pressurized saddle-style chassis. Boom, space-bike.
You could implement this with racial archetypes. Ideally, a racial archetype for any one half-race wouod be interchangeable with any other race, though it would not be wise (IMO) to give away the human's free feat to just anyone.
So, you could perhaps rewrite half-elves and half-orcs as a set of racial archetypes that apply to one or the other of their base races as a prototype. The half-version of a given race would be more or less the same across all combinations, attenuated for power boosts resulting from synergy of otherwise uncombined racial abilities.
In this way you could work out what a kasatha-vesk might look like on paper.
I like the race a lot. My only real nitpick is that I am kind of disappointed that they dont retain full use of their fifth and sixth appendages. Still, I guess we have the kasatha for that, so I'm cool with it.
According to the original post, they are eight-limbed.
There might be centaur-like Shirren with four walking appendages instead of two. We've only seen one or two of the three genders so far. Maybe the Shirren are sexually dimorphic (trimorphic?) also. If so, I'd bet that the host gender would be true octopods as befits their role as incubator.
You might allow a time machine that can "ride light" from distant stars; you can only travel along the light-beam from another solar system or galaxy. The time machine regresses one year for each light-year you travel. This does not account for dark energy expansion.
While the trip itself is instantaneous, the power expense for the trip must be paid up front, all at once (i.e. power is drawn capacitators) for the time machine to function properly. Insufficient charge can leave you stranded partway along the journey in interstellar or intergalactic space.
Every time traveler also has a "point of origin" which is assigned when they time shift for the first time. As long as you travel further away from your point of origin, you can continue to travel back in time. But if you backtrack toward your original destination, even a bit, you travel forward in time one year per light-year traveled. You could not, for example, travel one million light-years away from Golarion (therefore a million years in the past), then return to Golarion by conventional means (even by building a new time machine) and somehow be able to visit ancient Azlant. You might, however, be able to visit ancient Damascus or observe Golarion's protoplanetary disc using a powerful telescope.
The net effect of this it would be extremely difficult for one person to alter their own history and create a grandfather paradox. It would also be virtually impossible to travel all the way back to the Big Bang because once you travel back far enough, you would experience a reversal of the universe's expansion and your "point of origin" would move closer to you--preventing you from traveling backward any further.
Time travel for research (astronomy or archaeology) might find this paradigm useful, without time travel being usable as a giant reset button for anyone and everything.
I expect there'd also be time police and temporal prime directives, and an extradimensional online forum like this.
I'd imagine the mind wipe was imposed after the fact...maybe it's part of the reason there were Gap lengths of different starting and stopping times, so that no one was doing anything especially hazardous or time intensive while the Gap disoriented them.
(It would be an evil act for sure if it happened haphazardly like the book and TV series Flash Forward.)
John Kretzer wrote:
Me...I will just probably handle it different in my game...as in fully explain why Golarion is not there anymore and why history is lost.
Between you and me, if I was going to invent my own answer, it would be that Aroden learned of a far future threat from Rovagug, namely that Rovagug had a way out of its prison and that it was all but certain this plan would succeed. It included being able to somehow neutralize all the gods' powers who might be interested in stopping the Rough Beast (though Pharasma might be even beyond any of these events and apathetic to it all anyway). It's hard to imagine Rovagug neutralizing Asmodeus, but maybe he had his own contingency plans for dealing with Rovagug if it ever got out. But maybe Aroden tipped him off so that Asmodeus would give Aroden a chance to try his plan first? Who knows.
Anyway. So Aroden faked his own death and built a magical delorean to travel into the future, and past the point where Rovagug neutralized all the second-tier gods and below. Thus Aroden kept his powers, and confronted Rovagug at the very moment of its escape. With all the other gods' powers neutralized, Aroden managed to aggregate all the might of the gods in a great big Highlander "The One" moment, temporarily reaching first-tier on par with Pharasma herself, and cast Rovagug back down into its prison and sealed The Cage shut even better. Then Aroden stuck The Cage in his cosmic pocket for safekeeping.
Aroden, Asmodeus, and Pharasma agreed that for the good of the cosmos, The Gap would be imposed to cover-up the near escape of Rovagug. It would make the gods look bad everywhere if it did become known to mortals how close Rovagug got to escaping, and the secret behind its ability to neutralize the gods. Their faith and worship might waver as a result.
As part of the agreement, Aroden would go into retirement with most of his Highlander powers intact, but return some of it to the gods who lost theirs. Not all of the gods were interested or able to reclaim their mantles (which is how some of them never recovered or slipped into obscurity.) All the surviving gods have a vested interest in not talking about Aroden, Rovagug, Golarion, or The Gap. As it is, not all of them know the whole story and none of them who knows Aroden is still alive somewhere can or will ever tell Iomedae about it.
The Gold Sovereign wrote:
I myself am pleased with this new reptilian race. Vesk aren't mere lizardfolks and I'm sure rules will prove it.
I agree totally.
Humans, halflings, and elves are fairly similar to each other in general appearance, but no one has ever seriously called halflings 'mini-humans' or compared humans and elves as ripoffs/variants of each other--and these latter two races can even interbreed. So why should anyone be too quick to fault similar races for being too similar when that kind of thing has already happened without objection? How far does it need to go? Do all future PC races need to abandon the head/torso/two arms/two legs body plan?
It's silly to think of Vesk as lizardfolk variants, or re-skinned reptoids, or kobolds with overactive growth glands. 'Scaly' is just a descriptor that no one race has a monopoly on, any more than 'facial hair' or 'pointy ears' or 'can mate with anything'.
So there is a lot of crossover nowadays. Elves aren't just for D&D anymore; you can have Eldar from WH40K. Interstellar travel is no longer a SciFi trope; there's also Starjammer and Starfinder. Magic and psionics are more alike than different; they're just two different styles of doing the same thing.
There are setting elements that are mostly fantasy-based, and some that are mostly-science based. We are flexible enough in our suspension of disbelief to accept just about anything as having a scientific explanation or a fantasy explanation of "the will of the gods makes it possible".
Star Trek is describable as soft science fiction, because some of its superscience is more pseudoscientific. The line is blurred even more because of things like the Q. But even in TOS there were unexplainable phenomena: the Archons' hollow weapons, the things Charlie X could do, the insanity-provoking appearance of the Medusans... but we call it SciFi because most of the ingredients of the Star Trek "recipe" are science fiction-based. Maybe Q's powers are purely psionic like the Talosians? Or maybe his powers are technological like V'ger's? We just don't know. But the core of Star Trek is flying in space and meeting aliens while trying not to die (and sometimes bedding them, but I digress)...
Then we have the old Spelljammer setting, which is mostly fantasy elements with some science fiction mimicry. We still call it fantasy though, because that's its core genre. The same for Call of Cthulhu, because its core is concerned with the inevitable destruction of man by cosmic forces beyond his comprehension.
Star Wars is also fantasy because even though it has a lot of sciencey stuff, it's mainly about The Force and Jedi versus Sith philosophies. The Starships and blasters are window dressing. You could roll back Star Wars to an ancient pre-hyperdrive era and it will still feel like Star Wars, good vs. evil with pantheistic magic.
Weird mashups like Shadowrun seem to want to strike a balance between science and fantasy. These settings are a genre unto themselves and are probably the most deserving of the "science fantasy" label. Shadowrun can't be Shadowrun without all the cyberpunk stuff, and it wouldn't be Shadowrun if you took out the metahumans and magic. Starfinder seems to want to take the same approach of making fantasy and scifi so tightly intertwined you can't do true Starfinder without both.
I'm not sure how the Horror genre fits into any of this. Horror is its own animal on par with Drama, Action, Comedy, Romantic, Thriller, and other emotion-keyed descriptors. Saw, Alien, Paranormal Activity, Insidious, Dracula, Dante's Inferno, and The Exorcist are all considered horror genre but are very different in other ways.
Drahliana Moonrunner wrote:
When we find out that DNA was a method of carrying a holographic message from the ancient Progenitors, I stopped referring to Star Trek as science fiction in any degree. My reaction to the episode mirrored that of most of the characters involved in it.
Sometimes I have to dismiss such episodes as evidence that what we see in the canon movies and TV series are a mix of non-fictional and fictional accounts of what happened hundreds of years ago from the audience's perspective. This is how 20th and 21st century events sometimes get things wrong, and how some episodes are just too weird to believe, because they are like *Star Wars Legends* but for Star Trek, made-up stories that got mixed in with what really happened.
Here's my fan theory: What we see on Star Trek was produced by Voth archaeologists from the distant future who made it back to the Alpha Quadrant to find the mythical planet Earth where the Voyager of legend came from.
These Voth archaeologists had to dig up and make sense of all these archaeological records of captain's logs and whatnot. They decided to include everything recovered without attempting to discriminate between fact and fiction. That's why some of the Treknobabble sounds like so much nonsense--that's because it is. What was really said makes no sense or got scrambled in translation, so some semi-plausible stuff got made up and inserted into the script as filler dialogue to make the scene make sense to their fellow Voth watchers.