- Race rebalance:
- No longer start with Acrobatics Skill Focus removed.
- Their Perception (Sight) Focus has been changed to Talent Observation (Sight) I.
- Added Talent Light Sensitivity I.
- Betas get a free Skill Focus on character creation
- Alpha base Stat bonus reduced to 2, starting skills reduced
- Race rebalance:
- Updated Character Creation entry. Feel free to make any retcon changes if certain information was not available or apparent at the time of character creation.
- Updated Character sheets.
- Psionic Abilities are under development. The first two schools will be Somatokyriarchy & Unknown.
- Here's the TL;DR on the setting
- My (supposed) GMing style: Any of this is subject to the Session 0 feedback you give regarding the sort of game you want to play. Not into red herrings, we don't have to have them.
- The primary intent of this TTRPG campaign is to more fully develop the Pale Light Setting. Any Plot Armor you get will be on a small scale rather than the sort that changes the logic of the setting.
- There's a lot of hidden content (Characters, Organizations & Locations mainly). I'm able to hide/unhide it as you discover it, so don't assume that what you see is everything. I will likely be rolling for Sense checks, detecting deception, etc. secretly. So anything that's a passive skill in real life, we can treat as a passive skill here, as doing those checks publicly makes metagaming unavoidable.
- I am aiming for a realistic-ish feel, so this won't be a D&D-style power fantasy, nor will the world revolve around giving quests to murder hobos. I aim to model realistic behaviors and consequences in the setting. But obviously, you'll still be playing heroes who can do cool stuff and have major effects on their world.
- There are aspects of satire in the canon, but the base reality of the game isn't "wacky." That said, our own reality is absurd and full of freaks so we should embrace that without making it cartoonish.
- I will make use of red herrings, hidden information, and ambiguity. So please don't assume that everything is significant, that I will point out the bread crumbs, or that there will be clear answers for everything (unless we go meta if we get stuck).
- In terms of content, I want to give you the experience you're looking for. So I'll try not to railroad you, and will try to allow solutions to be as creative or uncreative as you want to play them. So in return, please let me know what sort of game experience you want to have
- It's my first-ish time GMing. Don't be afraid to give feedback if something feels imbalanced or confusing, or if I need to wipe my butt. But I want you to understand that I will never, ever wipe my butt.
AGE System / Expanse RPG information:
- Rulebook PDF, thank you Matt!
- Open the Welcome Note article fully and see sidebar at left for other relevant file downloads.
Assisted Creativity / Random content generators:
This article has write permissions enabled - feel free to use it for whatever you want to appear on the front page.
Started as a mining colony created by LodeStar Resource Logistics Group in 2136 to extract the massive reserves of platinum and nickel on 116 Gorée. Corporate leadership dictated its administration when it was simply a mining colony. After the AI Wars erupted, the massive influx of refugees made mining operations impractical. When the wars were over, mineral extraction of platinum was too labor-intensive compared to salvage, or to newly gate-accessible sources, so operations never resumed.
Characters (View All)
[This section and others will be populated as you meet characters]
Organizations (View All)
Districts (Area Map)
"The Sad Vestiges of a Mind in Violent Decay"
Foster was an AI researcher who at the height of his career was quite prominent in the field. Then after a few years of publication silence he apparently devoted his further career to proving The AI Control Problem insurmountable. His first attempts were published in the foremost AI research publications, but the frequent response was to refer to the famous rule of thumb by Arthur C. Clarke as if it were an axiom:
"If an elderly but distinguished scientist says that something is possible, he is almost certainly right; but if he says that it is impossible, he is very probably wrong."
According to his personal journals, Foster noticed his reputation sliding towards a figure of historical eminence but hidebound irrelevance. His peers began to treat him politely, a sure sign that they only took his past work seriously. Rumors circulated that he was developing signs of dementia, as his behavior became more eccentric and he retreated from the AI research community. Foster was known for being an avid and animated debater capable of abiding intense criticism, but he could not brook simple dismissal. Those who knew him closely reported that he was deeply hurt by what he considered a spineless betrayal by his former colleagues.
But he did not relent. Foster continued to publish his arguments, finding better reception in the social sciences. He argued that addressing The AI Control Problem might be possible, but it could never happen under Capitalism. Addressing it would take unanimous coordination and control of research, and capitalism ensured that such measures would be violated by at least one actor who sought to get an edge over its competition. Foster's new publications were treated seriously in philosophy and economics circles, but the general consensus was that the economy and AI research had become a runaway train generations ago.
Foster's next works focused on alternatives in terms of technology & social design. He argued that our fixation on artificial intelligence was simply due to our zeitgeist of digital computation, and that it was unfit to the task. He proposed the possibility of a field of Organic Intelligence, the cultivation of biological computers similar to our brains but engineered for the role we envisioned for AI. Critics argued that OI might be even harder to control than AI, but he countered that containment was far more possible. His works were foundational to the field of OI, and research continued.
However, his arguments for social design received a more negative reception. To him, the natural extension of OI was that it we would redesign the human brain among several different strains for different purposes, making AI unnecessary. He described a society redesigned by a period of eugenic control, apparently inspired by Brave New World. Most peers could not envision this as anything but a dystopia, as their view of eugenics was that any degree of it was inherently unethical. But Foster maintained that it was possible to do it ethically, claiming that after an initial period of genetic diversification that eugenic controls could be lifted. Any harm from the initial period of limited personal volition in mating choice would be outweighed by the aversion of the dangers of AI. And ideally, the new forms of humanity would take great joy in their new coequal roles.
At this point, Foster noticed that his publishers and respondents had shifted to a certain character he did not wish to associate with. He announced his retirement, accepting the disgrace of whatever associations people cared to pin him with, and resigned himself to private life for a few years. He had taken to poetry, took only indifferent measures to have it published, expecting it to go unnoticed. He was delighted to find that his controversial figure had only grown in his public absence. His poetry was variously described as "surreal," "visionary," "horrific," "idiotic," "brilliant," and "the sad vestiges of a mind in violent decay." He apparently took great joy in being a poet provocateur, and continued to stoke the fires of controversy until his death.
Contact & Vindication
When the Gates opened, the intergalactic community issued a warning even more dire than his - that the technology was indeed incapable of being controlled, and that previous attempts had wiped out entire civilizations.
Some noticed that many passages in Foster's poetry bore strong similarities to the appearances of The Gates and prominent Samsari who had made contact. His works began to acquire a resonance akin to a prophecy come true, which boded ill when his later works seemed to depict an apocalypse. Foster's assembled works and the interpretations & prescriptions of the Fosterites came to be known as The Foster Manifesto. Those who took these apparent premonitions seriously became known as the Fosterites.
Per the Manifesto, these groups retreated to remote corners of the space people could reach (now greatly expanded by access to the Gatemap) to prepare for an inevitable machine holocaust. They used genetic alteration to organize their societies according to Foster's eugenic vision, but the result was generally far from Utopian. While Foster had envisioned a society of coequal subspecies living in harmony and fulfillment as they did the work they were designed for, the real life version fell apart again and again until it resorted to strict segregation and authoritarian control.
The foremost practitioners of these techniques are Research Temple Pytheas [Rename Faction], but they are available for anyone to learn.
Schools of Psionic Training
The following Ability Focuses are added to this setting. They are available only by specific background choices, or by specialized training, with the exception of Unknown.
- Communication (Aesthegeny) - The inducement of sensations, emotions, memories, or thoughts into other minds.
- Communication (Unknown) - Opening one's psyche to serve as a medium for thoughtforms, to read minds and communicate telepathically.
- Constitution (Somatokyriarchy) - The inscription of sigils on the body, combined with meditative self-mastery, leading to superhuman abilities.
- Intelligence (Unknown) - What we might call Sigil Magick. The creation and imbuement of powerful sigils.
- Intelligence (Unknown) - Manipulation of the mechanics of psionics at the base level.
- Perception (Unknown) - Freeing the spirit from the bounds of the body. Traveling freely on the physical or astral planes.
- Perception (Unknown) - Perception to other timelines or to other parts of our own. Some small manipulations of our own timeline.
- Perception (Unknown) -
- Willpower (Unknown) -
- Willpower (Unknown) - Mastery of the mind.
- May be learned without access to a trainer.
- Willpower (Telekinesis) - Manipulation of the physical environment.
The concepts governing psychic abilities are inherently not of the physical plane. As a result, most of their effects are directed at the spirits that occupy all sentient beings.
The Psionic Glossary
Abjuration - The severance of a Channel from its Anchor, and the release of any power imbued into the Channel. Opposite of Imbuement.
Anchor - The thoughtform that serves as the point of origin for an ability. [May eliminate this or combine with Channel]
Channel - The physical vessel that translates the effect of an ability from the psychic to the physical plane.
E.g., Abjurer, Artifact, Invoker, Observer
Imbuement - The attachment of a Channel to its Anchor, and the investment of power within the Channel. Opposite of Abjuration.
Invocation - The intentional calling of an ability to activate.
Observation - Sensation of the Channel through a specified means.
E.g., Reading a spell, seeing a Sigil
Sense - Yes, just the senses. But as they are referenced in Abilities, here is the list for this system: Balance, Hearing, Orientation, Proprioception, Sight, Smell (Includes pheremonal), Taste (Includes some chemical smells), Touch
Signature - A soul's unique psychic trace. A signature is learned by communicating with someone in real life or on the psychic plane. This communication can take the form of deep conversation, sexual connection, or the assessment of the other as a threat in combat. Generally, the greater the emotional significance of the subject's regard of the observer, the greater the chance of the observer acquiring the signature.
This communication can take place on a subconscious level, specifically in the case of covert surveillance (both physical and astral). The subject of a surveillance is in psychic conversation with their observer once their intuition tells them they are being watched, even if none of their other senses do.
Sigil - A symbol that serves as an Channel, but must be imbued with significance and power through ritual first.
Spirit - A psychic being that occupies all sentient life in a symbiotic relationship. It often survives the death of the physical organism, but certain skills like Unknown allow a user's spirit to escape the confines of their body momentarily.
Target - The intended target of an ability. All Abilities require a Target.
Trigger - The event that causes an ability to take place.
E.g., Abjuration, Imbuement, Invocation, Observation
New Version of Ability Block
Channel Default (Mutable?)
Using Psionic Abilities
Ability Roll = 3d6 + Governing Attribute + Ability Focus (if applicable)
If your casting roll equals or exceeds the ability's target number (TN), you successfully use the ability. If not, the ability has no effect. Some abilities make use of the Stunt Die, so it’s a good idea to leave the dice as they fall until it is totally resolved.
For many abilities, making a successful ability roll is all you need to worry about. Sometimes, however, you must overcome the natural resistance of the target before the Ability takes effect. Psi-Power is the measure of your psionic might. Certain abilities allow the target(s) to test against Psi-Power to resist or at least offset the abilities' effects.
Psi-Power = 10 + Willpower + Ability Focus (if applicable)
Abilities that need categorization (generally copied from Fantasy AGE)
Perception (Intuition or Telescience) vs. Spellpower
Your psychic being aggressively mimics furniture. When someone does notice you, the fact of your existence seems to slip back onto the tip of their mind's tongue.
For the duration of the encounter, a successful Perception (Intuition or Telescience) test vs. your Spellpower is required to spot anyone concealed by this spell. Making an attack gives away your position, negating the spell’s benefits until the beginning of your next turn.
Had originally called this Aesthegeny, but it's a self-target rather than an other-target. So mass reflexive aesthegeny would be a feat beyond masterful and not within the scope of possibility.
Need a new field of psychic as opposed to physical Autokyriarchy?
Imbued Sigil (Healing Touch)
Your touch seals wounds and restores vigor to one target. For each MP spent, the target gets back 1d3 Health.
Alternatively, this can Stabilize a Dying character.
What's the mechanism of this? Might take this out
You can weave arcane energies for magical protection. You give yourself or one target within 4 yards of you a +2 bonus on all tests to resist spells until the end of the encounter. By expending additional MP, you can extend this benefit to more targets: 2 MP per additional target, up to a number of targets equal to your Willpower. If you have the Power Arcana focus, you can extend this benefit to two more creatures, or alternately increase the spell’s bonus to +3.