Thursday, February 25, 2016

Notes from GURPS Farther Tomorrows

This is highly disorganized, not entirely original  but reasonably game worthy setting notes for GURPS Farther Tomorrows.

Its enough tech data, cultural and historical date to get people into the game, especially those not familiar with  Firefly or 2300 A.D two of the bigger inspirations.

Its not terribly well done and frankly my players deserved better but we had fun and that was what counts.

 Background Notes

The year is 2275

Mankind has expanded into the New System, the Cradle rich in habitable worlds  and for the last 120 year or so has been building great colonies. About 10 years ago a group of Transhumans called the Polity waged war against humanity in an attempt to force an uplift. This war banished them from most of space to an area well past an asteroid belt known as the Shattered Star

There are 112 Known Habitable Worlds,

They are arranged in what are called Arms

Currently the main factions each with an Arm are

The United Commonwealth


28 Unnamed

United States with its major colonies Liberty, New America, Ellis and Freedom

China with its major colonies Xin Guo (New County) and Shinnon (from FF)

The United Commonwealth (Britain, Scotland, Australia, New Zealand, Wales) with its colonies Albion, New Australia, Londinium (from FF) , Anzac , Cymru and Scotia

Canada with a single major colony Cascadia 10 Million
Russia has a single colony major Novazeemylah (New Earth) 40 million
There is also a single Pan Islamic Colony called the Caliphate 60 million population
Hispaniola (Spanish Speaking)
Nuevo Brasila (Brazilian)
Nova Europa
France has 3 colonies, Gloire, and three habitable moons Liberte, Fraternite and Egalite

Minor colonies include

Uhuru a small African colony population 500,000
New Midgard which is Asatru and Heathen with a minority Hellenic Pagan  Population . It has a population of about 20 million
Coventry (a prison world)
Helios, A desert World
Kibou (Hope a Japanese Colony)
Ashita (Tomorrow a Japanese Colony)
Geojong (Home, a Korean Colony)
Astra Deseret (a Mormon Colony)
White Rock
Minos (Greek)
Starfall (uninhabited close to Outsider Territory)
Ostmark (German/Austrian)
Glai Tee Din (Far Land) Thai Colony
Pengajar (Teacher) a very difficult Indonesian Colony
Bituin Tirahan (Star Home) a Filipino Colony

Guay (Hell)


WulingYuan (Perfect Heaven)

ShanwU (Sky Mountain)

Fengdu (Underworld)

List of others (cribbed from Firefly)

White Fall
Green Leaf
Clark's World
Anderson's Moon
High Gate
Liann Jiun
Three Hills
Whedon's Hole

List of others cribbed from 2300 AD
Brilliant (French)
Leto (American)
Freihaven (German)
Nouveau Provence (French)
Tirane (American)
Santa Maria (Mexican)
Nieblungen (German)
Tierra de Helado (Argentine)
Poseidon (International Scientific) Blue Planet
Inferno (Canadian)
Beowulf (British)
Chengdu (Chinese)
Crater (Unclaimed)

A bit on the Thai people

Thai folk can be found all over space commonly as Space crew. They have recently established a small thriving colony, a matter of enormous national pride. Glai Tee Din


Technology is Safe Tech GURPS Tech Level 9 with access to super science gravity control and fusion power.

Genetic engineering, cybernetics and nano tech are frowned upon and widely regarded as too dangerous.

Computers are a solid TL9 (this is about 20x what we have now)

State of the arts weapons are TL9 as per GURPS. Mostly they are caseless firearms though Tl10 lasers as 3x cost and binary weapons called Vari-Guns exist. Controls vary from place to place with lighter controls on colony worlds.

Most weapons are “Improved TL8” with about 20% more energy and capacity for the same basic stats although they are cartridge guns (mostly) Convert by giving them +p power with no downsides.

Mature life extension tech exists. A person at age 50 is genetically reset to between 25 and 30 and will age at 1/3 rate thereafter. Assume other medical tech is TL9 with stem cell therapies pushing TL10

Core worlds are usually TL9

Rim Worlds a hodgepodge of TL9 and TL8

Fringe Worlds can go as low as TL5 or 6

Robots are a rich mans toy and its illegal almost everywhere to arm them.

Computer security is weak in this setting as even the best crypto only gives a -4 penalty to hacking rolls. This puts a focus on cash (do to trust issues) and manned craft of all sorts. Factories and such are automated but as you have to be in the building to access the SCADA systems , this is not regarded as a serious risk.

Starships are usually not armed in Core or Rim worlds and usually a hard to come by permit is required. Fringe areas may be armed. Ships can be armed with caseless cannon, laser, C-Beam (Charged particle beam) or gauss guns. Missiles are semi guided.

Defense include chaff launchers , anti missile arrays and hull armor. Plasma armor exists and it screws with missiles (by guidance) and C-Beams and offers some degree of lock on spoofing.

A number of common ships

“Conestoga” Free Trader

“Darwin” Class Science Vessel

Tien Dao (Heavenly Saber Chinese Patrol Ship)

Z-95 Starfighter

Cultural Notes and Reputation

General society has a kind of Victorian Era flavor with a strong whiff of bigotry and snobbishness. Isolates are quite common almost the norm and space instead of bringing people together into some stellar community tends to separate them into smaller groups.

Americans have a reputation as overly adventurous cowboys. Its not entirely undeserved. They are friendly with Europeans and downright chummy with Eastern Europeans who can be found in substantive numbers on American worlds. Do to some old bad blood from the Sino American War and Chinese support of the Oligarchy most Americans hate the Chinese with a passion and contrary to Verse custom will often not aid Chinese vessels . Asa Folk from New Midgard often shoot any Chinese ships they see as the nations have been at a cold war status for some time

Europeans are a bit more like their Victorian and Edwardian counterparts and are in general quite Conservative save for the French and Germans who are always land hungry.

Russia is well recovered  and is  highly ambitious. They are friendly with Americans as both hate the Chinese.

China. China touts itself as civilized but its authoritarian and controlling. The Chinese colony Shinon is arguably the most beautiful planet in the Cradle . Even Americans occasionally visit. They are allied with pretty much no one.

Japan. Japan is very conservative and insular.

Canada is the peace keeper nation, a pleasant if lightly populated country. For some reason they are allied with the Ukraine. 

and note to the above, yes its a reference to the Firefly parody Mosquito 

Mexico is finally stable enough to manage a colony. They are officially neutral though they hold “gringos” in some disdain a feeling that is reciprocated.

Brazil is a Friendly Neutral with everyone except the Chinese who they dislike and the Portugese who are Allied

The United Commonwealth is a very very British. They are friendly with both Europe and America, Neutral with everyone else.

Iran is a new up and comer looking to expand into the colonies. They do not have a colony world but they do have a ship works making some decent technology. Its probable they will have a colony in 5 to 10 years.


English, Russian  and Mandarin are widely spoken. Mandarin is favored for swearing. Americans , Canadians and UC instead swear in English or in Eastern European dialects including Russian


Travellers. Professional Tourists who feel like they are citizens of the Verse. They are usually capable and surprisingly law abiding on most issues. They are known for towel, cup and a pocket knife a popular poem. These people are not Pavee who are sometimes found of UC worlds.

Spacers. Spacers tend to spend a lot of time in different places in many arms and as such are far more cosmopolitan than most. Most speak Mandarin and English

Cool New Jobs

Bounty Hunter

These are the folks who bring in captives from Fringe or Rim worlds to the justice. Its a glamorized job that pays poorly and is dangerous

Bonded Courier

With communications limited to the speed of light, these are the folks that deliver packages. A registered courier is usually allowed to carry arms and is considered to be trustworthy. Normally you only see one although couples or pairs are not unknown

Registered Companion
Not a prostitute of low repute  but a very sophisticated highly trained expert courtesan. They are transnational, select their own customers and are highly regarded except in America and Midgard where they are only tolerated. They are even permitted in the Caliphate.

Beam Jack

Orbital Construction Worker. Dangerous skilled well paying trade.

Slang Terms

Ship Up! Roughly equivalence to lifting off.

Clear Skies. Traditional Spacer Good Luck Saying

T.A.N.J. There ain't no justice, “Goddess” of the Spacers

Atmo short for Atmosphere

Verniers – Ion Maneuver Thrusters, from the name of the inventor Eckhart Vernier

Full Vernier – full power to secondary Ion thrusters

Full Burn – full power to main Thrusters

Hard Burn – overdriving the thrusters

Stallard Roll or Stallard Bounce – Roll and Pivot maneuver

Crazy Ivan – Rapid Breaking to get target behind them and bake them with the main thrusters

Towel, Cup and Pocket Knife – A Traveler ditty, also ready to go “I've got Towel, Cup and Pocket Knife.”

Frood “Buddy” – probably short for friendly dude

Lets Jet “Lets get out of here.”

Hoopy “Very Cool” Neo Hippy Slang

Jank-- Complicated and Poorly Made – also Janked or Jankie

The Black – Space

Space Motor Companies of Import

Pierce/Archer US– make a very robust motor (probably the best but new ones are pricey)

Parker-Merlin – a UK/UC competitor 2nd place in quality

Astra-Dyne US often found on institutional ships – r Also US Military and widely exported. Quite common

Wu-Yujou A Chinese motor firm (Wu's Space roughly) – export, cheapest

Chinese State Space Motor Company (Chinese state vessels)

Solokov Space Motors (Russian) export

Werner Stahlard North “WSN” GMBH used on Midgard as well Austrian-German_Icelandic-Finnish

Roseau Stellarics SA – French make most space components

Navio-Esterla – Brazilian Space Company, mostly in Brazilian arm though they are starting to catch on

Aster Persia – A new company from Iran that manufactures ship components

Ship Costs (about 3x a comparable surface ship)

A heavy Freighter can be had for about 7-8 million CR

A converted Cutter for about 3 million

1 million to 1.5 will buy you a rusty old ship like say Serenity

20 million for a luxury yacht

A research vessel for about 3 million + fittings

lastly a small never Freighter is about 3 million as well

OP costs are about ½ of 1% a month, ½ for fuel and ½ for repair – so an older freighter, minus crew expense is about 5k a month

Cultural Notes

Roughly there are three cultural familiarities African, Western, Eastern. You won't see African much and Uhuru uses CF Western

Savior Faire is by culture. It also includes Mafia, Spacer, Military , Police and Dojo. The last two are only  of marginal use.  

1- Religions (partially from Religion in 2300 AD by Bruce Hill and my own work)

Many folk are non religious and some are outright atheist

Europeans are about 50% Atheist with the 35% Folk Centered and 15% Christian

Americans however are fairly religious 65-35 religious, usually Christianity (35%) or occasionally (20%) Pagan or (10%) Buddhist other

Judaism and Islam were largely destroyed in a nuclear exchange although Judism persists in America as an ethnicity as much as a religion and Islam still exists. Most remaining Muslims are Reformed Islam and many live on Caliphate.

Buddhism is widely popular and a fair number of technically atheist persons practice some kind of Buddhism

Hinduism and the other strains are found mostly on Earth although Sikhs can be found the various Military units

Orthodox Christianity is found in pockets

Black Catholicism. This is an African Animist Catholicism seen mostly in Africa on Earth

Mormon Church is found everywhere in modest but growing numbers

Christianity is mostly American, Mexican and South American .

Asatru and other sort of Heathenism and Paganism is moderately common (about 35%) among people of European Extraction though its often a social religions as much as a faith. They can be found anywhere people of European extraction are found.

Outside of Buddhism people are very leery of expansionist or universalist religions, mainly do the religious wars of the late 21st century but also do the influences of the book “Faiths and Folks” by Dr. Paul Lane laying out the underpinnings of the urge for religion and its risks.

This books was very widely read and many schools consider it mandatory reading even though the book is well over a century old. This book lead directly to many selecting “Folkish” religions in the West, especially Asatru with some Hellenic Paganism  Druidry, and Wicca  with a range of variants . Whether this revival is set to remain is yet to be seen though it has been going strong for longer (since the tumult of the mid 21st century) longer than anyone expected


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