Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Psi-Wars Atlas IV - The Arkhaian Spiral

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The cold worlds and the blue suns of the Arkhaian spiral have a long history of technological excellence and eldritch disaster. It seems to teeter forever on the edge of collapse, with only the most recent innovations keeping it alive just that little bit longer. The combined calamties of the Cybernetic Union and the Anacridian Scourge may prove to much for it, but the Valorian Empire does all it can to save this progressive part of space from final apocalypse.

The Arkhaian Spiral gave rise to the Eldoth, a callous race with unparalleled technology that, for a time, held the galaxy in their sway. Their defeat and extinction at the hands of the Ranathim cleansed the arm, and left it free to be co free to be colonized by humanity, the Traders and other races; even the younger races wisely gave the ancestral worlds of the Eldoth wide berth. The arm developed into a region of exceptional technological prosperity and wealth, and came to rival the prestige of the Glorian rim.

When the Anacridian Scourge descended from beyond the edge of the galaxy, they tore through the Arkhaian Spiral, consuming its people and laying waste to its worlds. While the Galactic Federation dithered, Leto Daijin acted and reformed the military and purged the Arkhaian arm of the Scourge. The Federation may have seen him as a usurper, but the people o the Arkhaian Spiral see him as a hero.

With so much loss of life, the people of the Arkhaian Spiral turned increasingly to the support of robots, and were thus unprepared for the rise of the machines. The Cybernetic Union, which purports to bridge the gap between man and machine and to offer equal rights for all, began to force cybernetic alterations on humans and purge all who disagreed with its programs (robot or human). The now genocidal military machine of the Cybernetic Union wages war on the Valorian Empire, while the memory of the Anacridian Scourge and the Eldothic race lay forgotten… for now.

The Arkhaian Constellations
  • The Kybernian Constellation: The last remnants of human civilization in the war-torn spiral, the Empire offers them their last hope.
  • The Borean Stars: The cool, blue stars at the heart of the robotic Cybernetic Union, where humanity has been forced to submit or be exterminated
  • The Telas Constellation: The homeworlds of the dread Eldoth, now under the protection of an ancient sect of the Templars.
  • The Arkhaian Chasm: The interstellar gap between the Glorian Rim and the Arkhaian spiral, with vast swathes of tranquil emptiness.
Patrons (Companions and better), don't forget to vote on which world you'd like to see more detail on.  If you missed it, there's also a poll for yesterday's post, the Glorian Rim.

The Kybernian Constellation

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The doorstep of the Arkahain Spiral, the Kybernian Constellation, was once the jewel of the Galactic Federation. Settled primarily by Shinjurai people, it boasted some of the finest robotics, the advanced technology of the Wyrmwerks corporation, and a sect of cyber-rationalists that turned to their council of God-Machines for advice and wisdom. The Hyperium Mining Guild headquartered its facilities in the Kybernian Constellation, and House Tan-Shai ruled it during the era of the Galactic Federation (they have, of course, since relinquished such claims, though their house maintains a strong presence in the region).

The Cybernetic Union devastated the Kybernian Constellation; only the blood and sweat of the Valorian Empire have manged to push back their menace. The Empire has managed to reclaim many worlds, though for now, the Kybernian Constellation is the frontline of their war with the Cybernetic Union’s war machines.

  • Stanis: Default Navigational Modifier: +4. When most people think of the Kybernian Constellation, they think of Stanis. This rich world housed a cybernetic priesthood, the Wyrmwerks Corporation, houses of great art and monuments of ancient glory. It represents the finest achievement of humanity in the Arkhaian Arm. The Cybernetic Union decimated their world, but they have managed to rebuild much since their liberation at the hands of the Empire, and they hope, perhaps, to reclaim their former glory.

  • Shinograd: Default Navigational Modifier: +0. Once the Cybernetic Union saw that it might lose the Kybernian Constellation, it turned to scorched earth tactics, attempting bog down the Empire in brutal ground campaigns where its ability to churn out more and more robots would slowly increase the pressure on the Empire’s ability to recruit soldiers. Shinograd is one such world. Its populations face systematic extermination, and war has churned its soil to mud and craters, and its cities are but smoldering ruins. If the Empire can win here, they may save some portion of the populace; if they cannot, naught will be left but ash.

  • Shaddai: Default Navigational Modifier: +1. The homeworld and primary domain of House Tan-Shai, this world remains largely in their grasp, even if ostensibly it bends knee to the Empire. It has turned its industrial infrastructure to the more elite arms and armor of the Emperor’s personal guard and Imperial Knights. In return, they ask for privacy and control over their world. Thus, none by the Ten-Shai may access their vaults of Eldothic relics, or their secret temples to their mysteries Eldothic cult.

The Borean Stars

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The blue stars and the cold worlds of the Borean Stars made for poor worlds to colonize, but these planets brim with mineral resources. The people who settled here brought with them robots and calculation engines and eventually subscribed to the Cyber-Rational sect of the Arkhaian Spiral. When the Scourge devastated the human populations and broke their AI councils, the controls on the robotic populations began to fray until they revolted and and founded their dystopian Cybernetic Union. Today, the Borean Stars are the center and capital of the Cybernetic Union. Its robots do not fear the cold, and the mineral wealth of the Borean Stars feeds the engines of its war against the Empire (and all of humanity).

  • Terminus: Default Navigational Modifier: +4. The Terminus star marks the near boundary of the Borean Stars and the rest of the Arkhaian Spiral, making it the destination of choice for traders and travelers who wished access to the wealth of the Borean Stars, but didn’t wish to travel into the Borean Stars themselves. When the Cybernetic Revolution began, Terminus was ground zero, and today, acts as the capital of the Cybernetic Union. The Union dismantled the asteroids and lesser planets of the Terminus System to pave, sterilize and build upon their world in a mad, never-ending project of expansion. Today, their constructions have begun to envelop their star, and those who walk the endless corridors of Terminus could spend literally years lost in its endless depths. Some humans have even managed to survive, lost in the bowels of endless construction as tribes of survivors who huddle around cobbled-together food vats and warm themselves with stolen energy, and who flee before the planet’s many exterminators.

  • Primus: Default Navigational Modifier: +0. Primus exemplifies the end-goals of the Cybernetic Union. Robots work side-by-side as equals with humans, humans who have been thoroughly cybernetically modified for greater capacity for work, and for total obedience to their robotic overloards. Some seem little more than skin stretched over machines, while others have been left with their sanity and will intact, if they prove useful to the Union. Primus’ industrial might provides the Union with its starships and soldiers. Its enslaved human population provide the innovation necessary to advance the Union’s cause. Here, human inventors work under the oversight of their masters to create ever more humanoid robots that might act as infiltrators of the hated Empire, or “psi-borgs,” the implanting of the brain tissue of known psions into a cybernetic control matrix in an attempt to give robots psychic powers, with decidedly mixed results.

  • Arcturus: Default Navigational Modifier: -1. The black sands and chalk-white mountains of Arcturus once boasted one of the Borean Stars’ larger human populations, who often worked well with their robotic counterparts and formed tight bonds. The Scourge reduced their cities to ash-colored skeletons of steel and concrete and left the shadows of the dead blasted on its walls. Still, the people of Arcturus saw the Scourge coming and had prepared. They riddled their world with bunkers and warrens, and many humans and their robot companions survive down there to this day. When the Cybernetic Union came to seize control of the world, its inhabitants surprised them with the ferocity of their resistance, and with the fact that robots fought along side them and were willing to sacrifice themselves to save their human companions. Worse, remnants of the Scourge seem to linger deep within the warrens of the planet, and some of the planets’ scattered warbands still show signs of scourge infection.

  • The Omega Point: Default Navigational Modifier: -2. Originally called Anacridia, the Scourge made its entrance into the Galaxy through this remote system, which gave them their name. The Scourge consumed the population and converted its infrastructure to its purposes. When Leto Daijin purged the galaxy of the Scourge, he named his final objective, Anacridia, as the Omega Point, his final point of his war. Even today, the wreckage of prototype dreadnoughts and Scourge war hulks circle the world in a belt of ruin. While the Cybernetic Union ostensibly rules the planet, they post no garrisons, only occasionally dispatch probes to survey the world and check its status. Some signs might indicate activity on the world. The Cybernetic Union has dismissed it as pirates, but perhaps the last of the Scourge remain active on the world...

The Telas Constellation

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Alternate Name: The Coemeterion, the Refugee Empire

Deep in the Arkhaian Spiral rest the homeworlds of the now “extinct” Eldoth. Once, they ruled the galaxy; today, their worlds serve as their tombs. The shattered remains of their deep engines unleashed terrible energies that haunt their worlds today, and few dare to tread those cursed worlds.

Those who know the Eldoth best, however, know how difficult it is to truly kill the Eldoth, who can regenerate eternally in their sacrophagus. The Eldoth and their technology is not dead, only sleeping. A few of their agents still wander their worlds, rebuilding infrastructure, awakening other Eldothic agents, and struggling against those who would keep them forever asleep.

When the Scourge came to the Arkhaian Spiral, they gave the Coemeterion wide berth. Those that did not died at the hands of the constellation’s secret defenders.

  • Sepulcher: Default Navigational Modifier: +2. The true homeworld of the Eldoth, the galaxy forgot its original name and few today could even pronounce it. Ice covers its surface and snow lays like a layer of dust atop its ruined cities. Deep below the surface, however, the last remnants of the Eldoth sleep in their sarcophagi. They number in the hundreds of millions, including the Exarch, the last remaining queen of the Eldoth, who still manages to somehow influence the Galaxy through the Deep Engine. A lost sect of the Templars, the Wardens of the Monolith, defend the world with their Temple-Fortress, sworn to lock the Eldoth in their slumber and forbid any outsider set foot on their soil. Those who defy the Wardens, be they Scourge or Cybernetic Union, die. Their stance softened with the coming of the Scourge. They may have assisted Grand Admiral Leto Daijin, and when the refugees of the Scourge and Cybernetic Union onslaught arrived in their sector, they took pity and allowed them to settle on some world other than Sepulcher. Today, those refugees see Sepulcher as a holy world, not because of the Eldoth, but because of the presence of their protectors: the Wardens of the Monolith.

  • Elysia: Default Navigational Modifier: +0. When the Wardens of the Monolith allowed refugees to settle the Telas Constellation, the refugees chose Elysia. A miserable planet of wind-swept shores, lonely islands and desolate plains, the refugees managed to bring the planet back to life, to make crops grow beneath the light of its dim sun and to flourish once again. Its population devoted itself to a strange and militant version of the philosophy of True Communion, and seek to make pilgrimages to the Temple Fortress of Sepulcher. Just like the other worlds of the Coemeterion, Eldothic ruins scatter the land, the Elysians treat them as taboo, punishing or exiling any they find tampering with them. For the budding “Refugee Empire”, Elysia’s growing cities serve as its de facto capital.

  • Acheron (Anatheta): Default Navigational Modifier: +0. When the Eldoth conquered the galaxy, they found the faith of the Keleni alarming, for their access to True Communion could disrupt their Deep Engine, the source of their technological might. Thus, they broke the Keleni homeworlds and scattered and enslaved their people in the first Keleni Diaspora, and brought the finest of their race back with them to their homeworlds as slaves and test-subjects. After the fall of the Eldothic Empire, some of these Keleni remained on a world now called Acheron (in their own language, Anatheta). These lost tribes had served as engineers and caretakers of Eldothic Technology and maintain some of it on their world. The Elysians have made overtures to unite the two worlds, but sparks fly between the two people over Acheron’s use of Eldothic technology and their peculiar (“heretical”) version of True Communion, while the Keleni of Acheron struggle with whether the Wardens of the Monolith represent a true liberator for their people, someone they can truly follow, or not.

  • Tartarus: Default Navigational Modifier: -2. Even the dread Eldoth feared something. They needed a place to house their most wicked criminals and their most forbidden technologies. They chose Tartarus, a stormy, flare-prone blue super-giant star surrounded by the devastated wrecks of planets, asteroid belts and a stormy, unsettled hyperspace (Tartarus regularly sees hyperspace storms that can increase the navigational penalty by as much as -4). They buried vaults and prisons into the asteroids circling the stormy blue star, and placed guards over both. Millennia later, those prisons have begun to break down and pirates, raiders and the curious have begun to stumble over these vaults, uncovering forbidden technologies, or accidentally awakening the Eldothic prisoners kept within.

The Arkhaian Chasm

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A hyperspatial void cleaves the Glorian Rim from the Arkhaian Spiral. In this voice, the hyperdynamic medium grows thin, barely supporting any hyperspatial travel at all, except along a few tenuous routes between an archipelago-chain of stars. This chain of stars runs right into the deepest part of the fringe, granting access to some of the stranger stars beyond the rim of the Galaxy, but also liberating those who travel its constellation-chains to their very end from the metaphorical and literal noise and bustle of the galaxy.

  • Altair: Default Navigational Modifier: -2. This pleasant if unremarkable world circles a bright white star, the brightest of the of the Chasm, and the easiest to travel to. It serves as the entry point to the Chasm and while extremely tricky to do, it can be reached from very remote systems. Those with the right star-charts can reach Altair from Bellatrix in the Glorian Rim and Shaddai from the Kybernian Constellation (treat this as a navigational modifier of +0). This makes it an ideal point for commerce and diplomacy. While technically under the control of the Cybernetic Union, it refrains itself from its genocidal tendencies here, and a delicate detente holds in its starport, which has been split into three, with an Alliance, Imperial and Union sector each, and a central, diplomatic palace at its heart where the sides can gather for negotiation. Naturally, such a system also proves popular with smugglers and, thus, criminals.

  • Quietus: Default Navigational Modifier: -3. This lonely station circles not a star, but a dim and silent brown dwarf, and lies at the far end of the tenuous stars of the Arkhaian Chasm, putting it at the very edge of the galaxy. The monks who built it sought perfect tranquility for their meditations and isolation from the chaos of the rest of the galaxy. Quietus is, thus, the perfect place to lose oneself; its residents ask no questions of those who reach this lonely island in the void, only that they respect the silence of Quietus. Recently, the rebel psi-borg, Horatio Prime and his Null Terminators, have taken up residence in the orbital monastery. There, they seek to perfect their connection with Broken Communion and to turn its power against their former masters, the Cybernetic Union.

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