Faces and Places

Non-Player Characters and locations encountered.

The Frontier Zone

This broad band of unaligned worlds cuts a swath through the galaxy’s center. The Zone is full of autonomous planets, independent solar systems, and small interstellar governments, alliances, and mini-empires. Going even a short distance is likely to get you into an entirely new jurisdiction. The pirates, smugglers, and other scofflaws who live in the Frontier consider this one of the Zone’s better features.

The Alliance of Federated Frontier States is the body nominally in charge of this mess, but in practice it has no authority. Lacking an executive branch or armed forces, there isn’t a lot it can do. Every government in the Zone has an equal voice in the AFFS Assembly. This means you’re at the mercy of whatever local cabal or warlord runs the system, planet, or space station you happen to be on right now.

It’s hard to find people to trust in the Frontier, so spacefarers and those who travel through the Zone a lot rely on reputation and an informal network of contacts. Spacers are a breed apart, and criminal and trade alliance networks are the primary method to find people you can work with on a new planet. Bounty hunters also do good business in the Zone, since governments often extend bounties on crooks who skip out of the system after committing some crime.

Inspirations: The Neutral Zone in Star Trek

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The Barracado Pirates

There are many pirate gangs in the galaxy, but none more feared than the infamous Barracado Pirates. They appear suddenly and strike ruthlessly, leaving wrecked ships and no survivors. Their distinctive triangular tattoos—over both eyes and the mouth—strike fear into the hearts of even the most veteran spacers. Their base is somewhere among the shattered stars and debris of the Barracado Sector in the Frontier Zone, but no government or bounty hunter has ever discovered its location.

Faces

  • Lord Captain His Most Fearsome Meatgrinder the Magnificent: 11-year-old Arsubaran Captain of the Barracado Scout Corvette Rampant Revenge.

Galactic Central Point (GCP)

The most famous of all the systems in the Frontier Zone, Galactic Central Point got its name because it’s close to the geographic center of the galaxy. GCP is home to several important planets and satellites and it serves as the main galactic trade hub. GCP makes a great headquarters if you’re working in the Frontier; even if it isn’t your main base of operations, you’re bound to come through here at some point.

Thanks to one of the quirks of the Treaty of Arsubar, GCP is also headquarters for some of the most powerful companies in the galaxy, the Pangalactic Corporations (PgCs). They can operate legally in both empires and the Frontier, and the PgCs are among the most powerful entities in the galaxy. It doesn’t pay to cross one of these massive corporations. Your employer, TransGalaxy, is based on the planet Arsubar in GCP and is one of these PgCs.

Arsubar

This is the most populous and famous planet in the GCP system. The home planet of the Arsubarans, this world teems with a vast population of nearly every species in the galaxy. Massive cities incrust the surface, and the world imports tons of food and supplies every day just to keep everyone alive. The busy spaceports of Arsubar bring a constant flow of goods and foodstuffs to the planet.

Inspirations: Trantor in Isaac Asimov's Foundation novels, Ariel in Firefly

HACMA

The Helpful-and-Competent/friendly-Manipulative-Appendage Insurance Corporation's headquarters are located on an artificial satellite orbiting Arsubar.

Apollonia

This famed pleasure satellite orbits the planet Arsubar. It’s extremely expensive and extremely high class, but it’s rumored you can indulge in any vice you like within its quiet and luxuriously decorated halls. Scum is turned away; but if you have enough cash and can clean yourself up, you might be allowed to visit.

G’n’va

This heavily populated planetoid, built up with enclosed habitations, is the largest of Arsubar’s moons. Known as the banking moon, G’n’va is home to the Galactic Stock Exchange, or G-SEx, as well as the G’n’va Merchants’ Bank, the largest financial institution in the galaxy. Millions of traders and bankers make their homes on the moon and conduct their business at all hours. This place is high class and high income. Rough and tumble outsiders need to keep it in check or they’ll find themselves quietly whisked away.

Infocity

A massive computer and space station the size of a small moon, Infocity orbits the GCP sun like a planet, just inside the orbit of Arsubar. Outsiders are restricted to a small visitors section and the computers themselves are tended by a monk-like order of Acolytes. The satellite is devoted to the gathering and storage of information. If you need knowledge, this is the place to come. Most computers throughout GCP and even beyond connect to Infocity for archives and data lookups.

Inspirations: The Great Library in Doctor Who, Mr. Universe's station in Serenity (an illegal version).

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Job Tower

This satellite orbiting Arsubar is the best place to go when looking to hire someone or when looking for work. The spindle-shaped satellite has a central open area where people can congregate, with smaller rentable rooms and offices above and below for more private meetings. It also includes cheap accommodations for job-seekers. It’s a last resort for employment for many, and probably where you found your TransGalaxy job.

Inspirations: Adelai Niska's Skyplex in Firefly, Central Point in the Valérian and Laureline comics, Cynosure in Grimjack and other titles published by First Comics.

TransGalaxy PgC

Your boss. One of the largest and most powerful entities in the galaxy. Apart from the empires, Pangalactic Corporations are the biggest and wealthiest institutions anywhere. TransGalaxy isn’t just shipping; they have fingers in all sorts of businesses. They also own you for five years. If you cross them, they will utterly destroy you in the coldest, most efficient way possible. Nothing personal. It’s just business.

The Fallon Syndicate

Boss Fallon runs a powerful criminal gang based in Job Tower. He has the Tower Administrator in his pocket, and Fallon ensures that things run smoothly on the station, so he’s tolerated by the Arsubaran government. He gets a cut of every transaction on the Tower, and people who cross him end up floating home.

Faces:

  • Boss Fallon, a wizened old mobster in a hover chair — who Bandi pissed off royally.

Stakes

The next planet out from Arsubar in the GCP system, this whole world is dedicated to gambling and entertainment. Basically a low-rent alternative to Apollonia, the place is pretty much run by several wealthy Ken Reeg families. Many diversions can be found here, but don’t cross one of the ruling families. People who do tend to disappear.

Inspirations: Mos Eisley in Star Wars,

Squishy’s Scrap Yard

Probably the most famous junkyard in the galaxy, Squishy’s sits on the edge of deep space on a frigid hunk of rock orbiting well beyond the farthest planet of GCP. Squishy has a massive collection of junked ships and second-hand parts, paired with a mean and unforgiving negotiating style.

Inspirations: The Breakers' yard or the scrapyard on Ariel in Firefly.

Jefferson

An out-of-the-way planet that does brisk business with smuggling of controlled substances, religious artefacts, and protected life forms.

"Lemme tell you about my homeworld, Jefferson: trees, rain, trees, mud, trees, more rain, and more trees. 'Family' values, weird religious cults, and not a decent job in sight unless you count pot-growing — and I grew up in a 'dry' village. I'm never going back." — Bandi

Inspirations: Rural Northern California, Oregon or Washington seen by a bored young trouble-maker; the forest moon of Endor in Return of the Jedi.

Naqwice

A gas giant inhabited by hydrogen breathers.

Faces:

  • Ectathor Glanalandish (deceased)

The Devalkamanchan Republic

The Devalkamanchan Republic is the new name for the old Theocracy of Deval and Kamanch. A popular revolt among the Templari overthrew an older dictatorship just before the Treaty of Arsubar was signed and now all Templari elect the Imperial Parliament. These voting rights don’t extend to non-Templari. The Templari rule over all of the other alien species within the Republic, and these other species are no better than slaves.

The Templari are quite religious and militaristic, and they have a great fondness for regulation and order. Their elected government is quite conservative on most religious and military issues. The ruling species firmly believes in their own superiority, which poses problems for less deferential travelers from outside the Empire. And heaven forbid you leave your documentation on board ship. They’ll throw you in jail in no time.

Inspirations: The empires in Star Wars, Foundation, or Traveller; the Romulan Empire in Star Trek.

Hydrogen Breather civilization

Hydrogen breathers (commonly referred to as Hydrogen Dwellers or just Dwellers) are a race or group of races which are ubiquitous throughout the galaxy, living in hydrogen atmospheres of gas giants throughout known space.

The Union of the Saldralla

Also called the Saldrallan Empire, the Union stands because it stands as one. All residents in good standing within the Union can vote, and species of every sort sit on the Great Assembly of the Union. The Assembly appoints all the other government officials including the emperor, called the Grand Saldralla. The Grand Saldralla isn’t even necessarily a member of the Saldrallan species.

Although all this sounds great, the Union isn’t only pragmatic, it’s also ruthless. The governing philosophy of the Union is to give a pleasant and peaceful life to its citizens. To make sure its citizens have this pleasant and peaceful life, the government always does whatever it takes to ensure that threats, both external and internal, are quickly and permanently suppressed. Outside threats are destroyed or co-opted into the Union, and internal threats tend to just disappear without any fanfare.

Inspirations: The Federation in Star Trek, Union of Allied Planets in Firefly and Serenity, Union of Planets in the Phule's Company series.


Text and art excerpted from Bulldogs!; art by Kurt Komoda and Jaime Posadas. No copyright challenge intended.

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