The Ten Thousand Worlds is a (work-in-progress) futuristic science fantasy setting. If you want to get a feel for life in the Worlds, think Firefly, a bit of Guardians of the Galaxy, some Doctor Who and Farscape and a fair bit of The Expanse.

Introduction

Somewhere, in a star system light years away and a long time ago, Earth died.

The Human Race, knowing the end was coming, migrated en masse to a new home. This home. We inherited a ruined system, full of ancient derelict habitats, hollowed-out asteroids and the remnants of planets that had long been used up as construction material. Other races have made their home here over millennia, all now as dead as the worlds they once settled. But they left behind remnants of their lives for us to explore, and sometimes profit from.

Old worlds were colonized. New worlds created: utopias, dystopias, empires, alliances and more. And there are mysteries out there: ancient megastructures, derelict ships and stations left over from enumerable wars, and troves full of treasure long forgotten.

All you have to do is survive it.

Welcome to the Ten Thousand Worlds.

The 7818 Lacertae System

On Old Earth, the Worlds would have been known as 7818 Lacertae. Theories hold that once, millions of years ago, it contained 11 planetary bodies but now has one, the others having been reduced to rubble by a cataclysmic stellar event… or engineering on a planetary scale.

The system is a trinary (three stars) with the two main stars, Clotho and Lachesis, a close binary pair, and a distant companion, Atropos.

The orbital mechanics of the binary pair, while complicated, result in a simple layout for the system – especially with no planets around to muck things up.

Lagrange Points in a Binary System

Lagrange Points in a Binary System

The binaries have five gravitationally stable points – called Lagrange Points – numbered L1 through L5. Points L2 through L5 are free of hazards (other than free-floating asteroids), and this is where the bulk of the colonies are located. The L1 point, located directly between the binary pair, is a region of intense radiation and superheated gas clouds which is even more inhospitable to life than empty space. That’s not to say there are no colonies here though, they’re just really, really well built. Between L4 and L5 and across L1 is a “quiet zone” in the gas and radiation which allows safe passage between those two points – an area called the Berangu Passage.

Finally, the pair are surrounded by a series of asteroid belts which are home to thousands of mining and exploration colonies.

The far companion, Atropos, has a series of asteroid belts and mining colonies and is orbited by the system’s one remaining planet, the gas giant: Colchis. Aside from being somewhat of an anomaly by being the lone planet in the system, Colchis is the system’s major source of fuel for ships. Gas mining platforms orbit high in the atmosphere with their syphons dropping hundreds of kilometers into the gas-rich lower layers. Transport ships, carrying refined and supercooled helium-3, deuterium and tritium make regular trips between the two parts of the system.

Powers & Factions

Life in the Worlds is hard, no doubt about it, and is not made any easier by the roller-coaster of tensions between the three main power-bases:

The Dynasties

The most overt power in the Worlds is held by the descendants of the captains and crew of the great colony ships. Arriving in the Worlds, they naturally assumed positions of leadership in and over the established colonies. After a time, they became rich, powerful and paranoid – trusting few outside their own lineage and handing power down to their descendants.

Centuries of conflict and intrigue has left few of the major houses intact along with a scattering of minor houses, all of whom form and break alliance after alliance and wage both covert and overt war on each other.

Despite this, they remain the greatest example of visible power. Some, like the Vogary and the Braecia, occupy ancient construct worlds of immense size from which they have extracted technology that gives them a distinct edge; others maintain their power through a scattering of colonies and alliances with the Monger Clans and the Guilds.

None are to be trusted.

The Monger Clans

From the outset, free trade between newly established colonies was critical. What one colony did not have could destroy them when they could be saved by what another colony produced.

Initially, trade was controlled and protected by the Dynasties and the colonies themselves but as life spread throughout the Worlds centralised control became difficult and inefficient. So, the Monger Clans evolved. These “lesser” families and alliances focused on trade, never owning or managing any colonies, concentrating instead on the movement of trade goods – and money – throughout the system.

Like the street gangs of old Earth, they established their “territories” – both physical and commercial – with conflict arising when they stepped outside established boundaries.

The Monger Clans either control, oversee or are aware of ship movement, travel and trade throughout the Worlds. While this rarely brings them to blows with the Guilds (who they rely on for much of the work force), disagreements with the Dynasties are common but resolved in a way that ensures trade continues unabated.

The Guilds

Both the Dynasties and the Monger Clans, while they established their power bases, were beholden in large part to the workers they used to build and fly their ships, grow their food, refine their fuel, make their equipment and even fight for them.

For a long time, these workers had no organisation or form of management beyond their noble or corporate masters. That is until the Retaliation of the Tainted, which saw a massive worker uprising and period of prolonged guerilla warfare. Eventually, with the treaty of the True King the workers banded together and began to form what is now the Guilds.

While it is possible to find a few independants for specific jobs, if you want to get your ship repaired or find a pilot, you talk to the Spacers guild. If you want to keep a colony running, you hire workers from the Engineers or Agris. Medics will come from the Guild of Asclepius, and so on.

Out on the rim, anything goes but in-system hiring non-guild workers in Guild territory is not a good idea.