Our setting is a a spiral galaxy far, far away. The galaxy contains billions of star systems, of which many thousands are inhabited by intelligent species. There is one central federal confederation of law abiding worlds (the Galactic Republic) surrounded by zones of unaligned and relatively uncivilized planets around the outer reaches of the galaxy (the Rim).
This civilization is connected by fleets of starships and by hyperspace communications technology. Throughout the galaxy are well-charted routes through hyperspace that allow travel at many times the speed of light. Starships moving along these interstellar routes can cross the galaxy in a matter of weeks. Travel outside of established star lanes is slower and more hazardous.
The great majority of inhabited worlds have a similar set of environmental parameters (an oxygen-nitrogen atmosphere, about 1 G of surface gravity, temperature near the freezing point of water, moderate radiation levels, indigenous carbon-based life, etc.). That there are so many of these worlds, and that most intelligent species have similar forms adapted to these environments, is thought to result from ancient terraforming and genetic manipulation projects by long-vanished forerunner civilizations. Outside of established star lanes lie many worlds less hospitable to mainline species.
Standard galactic technology includes hyperspace starships, intelligent droids, deflector shields, space habitats. energy blasters (from pistols to cannons), prosthetic limb replacements, and communication devices that allow limited holographic faster than light communication. Gravity control and repulsor lift technology are common, allowing sky cities, speeders, acceleration compensators, and artificial gravity. On outlying worlds and those outside the Republic, technology is often less advanced.
The Galactic Republic
The Galactic Republic is a confederation of star systems mainly located around the central parts of the galaxy. Its capital is the city-planet of Coruscant. The Republic was formed about 22,000 standard years ago, although its structure and institutions have changed considerably over that time. Prior to the Republic the galaxy endured millennia of war, chaos, and genocide.
Within the Republic are a number of power blocs that cooperate, compete, and intermingle:
- The Galactic Senate
- The government of the Republic is overseen by the Senate, with representation from each member world. The Senate is known for byzantine complexity and slowness of deliberation. It is managed by an elected Chancellor who acts as the Republic’s head of state. The Senate manages a limited federal government (including police, courts, intelligence, and a small military) that functions mainly to regulate interstellar commerce and prevent interstellar wars.
- The Jedi Order
- The Jedi are an ascetic order of warrior monks who cultivate the use of a mystical power called the Force. Over thousands of years, they have become accepted as a semi-official guardians of peace and order within the Republic. The Jedi maintain a large temple on Coruscant as well as smaller temples and academies spread throughout the galaxy.
- Member worlds and confederations
- Each member world is largely autonomous with regard to internal affairs, although there are general prohibitions against practices considered especially barbaric, such as slavery and genocide. Interstellar commerce is regulated by the Republic. Some groups of worlds within the Republic have formed confederations based on region, culture, species, trade, and other ties. For example, the Machine Worlds are a confederation of planets inhabited by cyborgs.
- Mercantile federations and interstellar corporations
- Operating throughout the Republic (and outside of it) are many companies that extract resources, manufacture goods, transport trade items from one place to another, and provide banking and insurance services. Within the Republic, the standard unit of trade is the Republic Credit (RC). Other currencies are used in other places.
- Underworld cartels
- Beneath the surface of much galactic culture is an underworld based on vice, theft, smuggling, extortion, piracy, slavery, and other activities considered criminal. There are a number of interstellar clans, syndicates, and gangs that compete (and cooperate) over control of criminal activities and the profits therefrom. The underworld cartels are thought to have considerable influence within various member worlds and federations.
Most of the worlds of the galactic rim are not members of the Republic. For the most part, they are backwater planets, ruled individually or in small groups by local governments, underworld cartels, or warlords. There are some regional confederations, such as the Corporate Zone. The Republic periodically intervenes in response to major wars or piracy in the rim when those conflicts affect or are likely to affect Republic interests. The Jedi maintain a presence in the rim to monitor for Sith activity, to keep the peace as much as they can, and to recruit candidates with Force aptitude.
The galaxy is home to thousands of intelligent species. Some live primarily on a single home world, while others have colonized other worlds or spread throughout the galaxy on the many worlds where multiple species live together. Mainline species are adapted to worlds common to the civilization of the Republic and the Rim. Exotics are adapted to other kinds of worlds, such as gas giants, and have little intercourse with mainline worlds.
Mainline species include:
- Mammalians such as Humans, Duros, Neimoidians, Wookiees, Sullustans, Twi’leks, Togruta, Ugnaughts, Zabraks, Bothans, and Kel Dor.
- Reptilians such as Rodians and Trandoshans.
- Aquatics such as Mon Cal and Selkath.
- Insectoids such as Geonosians.
- Soft Invertebrates such as Hutts.
Humans, near humans, and humanoids are the most common group of mainline intelligent species within mainline civilizations.
Click here for more information about species that might make good player characters.
Within the Republic and most of the Rim, the lingua franca is Galactic Standard. Most members of most species can understand Galactic Standard and most of those with appropriate vocal anatomy also speak it. Additionally, unobtrusive and inexpensive auto-translators allow speakers of Galactic Standard to communicate with speakers of many of the languages common to the Republic and the Rim. Protocol droids are also available to assist with communication when auto-translators are insufficient.
The Force has always had a dark side, but beginning about ten thousand years ago, it began to manifest as a secret organization usually known as the Sith. Sith make use of the dark side of the Force, which provides great power as well as a compulsion to destroy or corrupt of those affiliated with the light side. Sith attacks, incursions, and plots against the Jedi and the Republic have occurred periodically since then—in two cases nearly destroying the Republic and in another secretly taking control of the Republic’s government. Each time, the Jedi and their allies have eventually been able to defeat and drive out the Sith. As the game begins, the Sith have been little heard from in the past 100 years, but there are many rumors of impending resurgence.