Beyond the Stars

What We Know

Millenium ago, a vast and incredible empire stretched out across the universe. An empire of unimaginable size, connecting habitable systems through slipstreams, invisible wormholes connected to slipgates that allowed anyone to cross through, traveling from one system to another on the other side of the universe nigh in seconds. They were advanced technologically on a level we still cannot fully comprehend, able to alter the laws of physics entirely.

And then, they disappeared. Their empire died. All civilizations on their planets were wiped out entirely, reset to the stone age. A few planets have the bitter remains of ruins lying deep underground. Most merely have whatever random artifacts survived the years

Chaska was lucky. It was in the former. During Chaska's T-1 ages, scientific debate raged about an exceedingly controversial theory - xenogenesis. The evidence lie everywhere; the multitude of sapient species, shared similarities in language and religious beliefs across cultures, a lack of similarities between planetary life. It was entirely by mistake that a satellite picked up a strange transmission on a frequency length it switched to on accident - a transmission coming from the heart of a desert. Deep down was found the first Cradle - a sealed structure lying deep, deep beneath the earth. Inside was a wealth of information kept hidden inside; new technologies, new forms of power, new methods of space travel, new knowledge of the universe outside the planet. New knowledge of the world before the Collapse. New knowledge of the grand empire, of Past Cycle times. The heart of civilization skipped. Chaska progressed in decades what would have otherwise taken centuries. Other Cradles were so found with more new knowledge - but just as the first, never any new forms of weaponry. Along with the information came warnings and rules meant for a growing system-wide government. Do not alter your shape to become a new species. Do not develop weapons of system-wide destruction. Do not attempt to enter or replicated slipgates. Though some were initially ignored by scientists, they have since found that the technology needed to disobey has not yet been discovered.

Since then, other Cradles and Artifacts have been found, not just on Chaska but on other worlds. We learned of the slipstreams and the impossibly anchored slipgates that allowed access through them. We learned of other races and worlds such as the reptilian Rukhan of their marshy planet Sobek. The Inti Alliance was formed from the fallen capitols of the past governments in the system, and it stands proud as the most technologically advanced system in the cluster, sitting at a not so modest T2 - though being the capital system of the cluster helps, too.

You were members of a salvage team sent to a remote, godforsaken location where a ping indicating potential Artifacts or a Cradle was detected. What you found was something exciting, new, and altogether terrifying - a ship, one inhabited by an AI of impossible complexity, and armed with technology far advanced from what is otherwise capable. A ship capable of crossing slipstreams entirely on it's own. And worse, it's imprinted itself on you. It will not accept any other captains. Regardless of what or who you once were, you are now members of the Inti Corsairs, an independent ship with unreplicatable technology sent out into unknown clusters to find new slipgates, new worlds, new remnants of Past Cycle tech. It doesn't matter if you were a simple merchant, a farmboy with eyes in the sky, a wishful pilot taking on a side job, or a petty criminal serving labor time. Your future now lies beyond the stars.

Psionics

For reasons that have yet to be discovered, some individuals are born with capabilities that have been given the name "psionics" due to their similarities with fictional supernatural powers. Some are able to utilize psionic powers from birth, others develop them spontaniously over time. How they work is unknown - all studies in genetics and brainwaves have shown no significant differences between individuals with psionics and those without - and the most popular scientific theory has simply chalked it up to mysterious Past Cycle tech, though some religious groups have claimed it a sign of otherworldly power. Psionics themselves seem based around manipulating the laws of physics; only slightly skilled psionics can slightly tweak it, while incredibly powerful ones can manipulate it directly.

Once psionic capabilities have been identified, psionic individuals can learn to express them in different ways. Currently there are three known mainstream "schools" of psionic power with several assorted misc. teachings, though by all accounts there are a wide variety of individual techniques. As the stars are explored, there's always the chance more can be discovered.

As with other skills, a higher skill in psionics increases your capabilities. Unlike most other skills, psionics can have some incredibly explosive results - taken rather literally at times. Negative rolls for psionics lead to strange backlashes. Very high rolls makes you demand physics sit down and shut up. to give an example: a negative roll for Thermal Heat could cause the individual to accidentally vent out his own body temperature, injuring himself greviously. A substantially high roll for Thermal Heat could allow one man to absorb an entire wildfire in a single breath (and then expel it rather powerfully at a different time)

Ship

As of yet unnamed, the ship was found in a remote desert in contested land on Chaska. While it's weapons, armor, and shielding in of itself seems of similar quality to most T2 ships, under the hood is an engine that is not yet fully understood (though all psionics that have entered the engine room have reported experience a variety of sensations and hallucinations, from visual to audio). What is known is it's results: the ship can traverse slipstreams without first contacting the slipgates it is connected to, allowing the ship to move through slipstreams that haven't been fully activated. On top of that, the ship has the first discovered fully aware artificial intelligence. He claims the name Lazen and in some way imprinted the initial survey team when they entered (and refuses to operate with a crew of substantial size over the survey crew). Lazen is capable of operating most ship functions on his own, so the initial skeleton crew should not badly impede the mission.

Setting Info and Minor Rules

Technology: A system's level of technical advancement is rated between T-4 to T4. T-4 is prehistoric levels of technology. T4 is technological advancement on an unimaginable scale, the level that was reached in the Past Cycle. Current age technology rests around T1 to T2 depending on your system.
Past Cycle: The name given to the time before the Collapse. The Past Cycle is most noted for it's empire and it's incredibly technology.
Collapse: The unknown even that destroyed the Past Cycle and reset all know galactic civilization
Slipstream: an invisible wormhole, typically impossible to detect or utilize. When thrust through by the slipgate, it allows for stellar and intergalactic travel. Slipgates on both ends of a slipstream must be active for it to work.
Slipgate: a small, fully automated space station located on the mouth of a slipstream. All attempts to enter slipgates have failed; they utilize T4 technology and thus remain entirely incomprehensible. What is known is that, when the correct data link between a ship and a slipgate is made, the slipgate does something that thrusts the ship in question from one end of a slipstream to the other.
Chaska: The capital planet of the Inti system and, in turn, the capital for the Viracocha cluster
Inti: the star and system that sits as capital for the Viracocha cluster
Cluster: a set of systems all connected to a single capital system
Capital system: a system with slipstreams that connect to multiple other systems as well as other capitals, acting as a center point for travel between them.