Taken from various sources and inspirations. Credit goes to Pseudosyne and Serly from RP-Gateway for setting material. Further information taken from MalSchmitz (from this page) on how to craft a setting.
Other inspiration taken from settings such as Starcraft, Prometheus, Alien, Rage, Fallout, Killzone, Firefly, Foundation (Isaac Asimov), Elysium, Star Wars, Battlestar, Mars War Logs, Dune, … The examples are legion.
Focus of the RP is not to lose ourselves in game mechanics, instead this is a game of logic, reason and collaborative writing. Our goal is not to have an overly competitive game, but to immerse into a nice creative experience for all parties. We write a story with each other, not against each other.
The tone of this story is gloomy and cynical. It’s not a very hopeful one. Though technologically advanced, there is no miracle solution for pollution, radiation or disease. The universe we are about to enter is not paradise, on the contrary. Grunge, noir, punk, they are all terms that can be applicable to our setting.
We focus on one planet, and even closer on a specific location called ‘The Pit’, a prison of a galactic scale. While Harkon, the world, is a rich setting of its own, it is merely a canvas and source of creativity for what will transpire in The Pit.
Play as one or multiple characters from The Pit and its immediate environs. You can play as an inmate, alien, warden, guard, lieutenant, industrialist, corporate executive, crime boss, dealer, pimp, perhaps even a quirky robot and many others. Engage in a rich setting and provide your own suggestions and story arcs to be woven into the greater storyline.
Setting Information - Glossary:
The story takes place on a single world called Harkon, set in a solar system at the fringes of civilization. It is a backwater region with one inhabited planet. Lured by its apparent vast deposits of minerals, several colonization ships sponsored by the Arma Corporation (one of several diversified mega-corporations that control and govern entire planets) journeyed to the planet and builtsettlements there. The mining operations are cost-effectively manned by large amounts of convict labor brought to the planet by Arma, which bought them from a variety of nations and worlds. Humanity has spread across the stars, and made great progress but also experienced great falls.
Harkon is a very arid planet. Most of the surface is dessert, the poles are capped with ice miles thick, and the only remotely pleasant portion of the planet where some green can grow is a thin belt around the equator. There is little water on the surface of the planet, in fact, at first glance Harkon looks totally inhospitable, a brown nut pockmarked with spine-like mountains and valleys. There is, however, water under the surface of the planet, though the supply is extremely limited. Additionally there are some fertile areas situated along the sparse sources of water.
There are other creatures in this vast universe (more on them later), as are robots (with carefully programmed intelligence), drones and genetically engineered animals or plants.
The first corporation present on Harkon. A galactic giant, it is responsible for the installation and construction of the earliest enclaves and settlements, opening up the world to the rest of the galaxy for exploitation. The scrap heaps and pollution Arma caused showed it was not interested in a long-term commitment, and definitely not colonization. However, Arma is nothing if adaptable and as such maintains a strong presence and financial interest for the planet. Arma holds large shares and stakes in The Pit and is responsible for much of its funding. There is an armed branch of the company present on Harkon and in The Pit.
In order to govern and protect the variety of Harkon’s societies, the democratic institution referred to as the Parliament was founded some two centuries ago. However, in truth only the wealthy and influential gain access to a seat. Officially the parliament calls the shots and makes the laws, but it is filled with puppets or relatives to the magnates of companies or pseudo-nobility. It is notoriously corrupt and infested with simonists.
A closed off reserve the size of a large city, an enormous criminal ghetto. Originally it is a huge crater of which the slopes have been adjusted and walled off. There are ways to get into the crater, through the tunnels and the space port, but none to get out. The Pit is a gigantic prison complex consisting of four boroughs and heavily industrialised. Though several buildings are decently constructed, they are outdated and run-down and newer buildings are either half finished or constructed of scrap and inferior materials by the inmates themselves.
Security is tight and complex. There are several agencies supplying The Pit of guards, jailors and security personnel to contend with the variety of criminals living in this massive crater turned prison. On top of that, armed gangs and underground movements conspire or fight against the law enforcement. The Pit is always just one day away of Armageddon. The prisoners themselves are considered resources, working the factories, mines, facilities and purifying stations to supply the rest of Harkon. Other purposes they serve are medical experiments or organ donors.
In the centre of The Pit stands a titanic construction of sheer metal surface called The Spire. This is the headquarters of all supervision and the nerve hub of all operations. The central location’s advantage is also its biggest disadvantage: it can check everything that happens in the boroughs, but is also completely and utterly surrounded in case of riots. To this purpose, ground level access is made impossible. The only way the Spire can be accessed is through landing platforms or the top level which connects to the Skylines which are cables, capable of moving carts and transport units, attached to smaller spires that act as local precincts and headquarters. Companies can rent these spires in order to maintain their profitable enterprise on Harkon and The Pit.
Putting out hard labour is in the best interest of the inhabitants of the complex, since the Pit is considered to be self-sufficient at all times. That means, if quota aren’t met, all supplies and products are simply confiscated for export to the rest of the planet or even off-world. Thus, the inmates should make sure there is a surplus of all goods as to ascertain provisions for themselves.
Procedures and distribution are heavily centralised, the Spire Authority having complete control over the food and water supplies. The Spire Authority is a conglomerate of all interesting holding parties with power in The Pit. In exchange for work hours, prisoners earn vouchers or coupons that can be used to buy food and commodities. However, like any prison there is an elaborate network of black marketers.
The newest borough almost solely erected from trash heaps and refuse. Living conditions on Harkon are bad, even worse in The Pit and worst of all in Shantytown. New arrivals often have to find solace here before moving up in Pit society. That is, if they live to see another day.
The borough where most of the water installations are situated. Not only are the water facilities and purification installations that operate here responsible for much of Harkon’s water supply, they also function to provide The Pit with sufficient fluids.
The droid factory of the Santiago Combine is situated in the aptly named Santiago Favella, the most populous of the boroughs. It is one of the most heavily guarded and protected facilities where human workforces create an endless supply of electronic workforces. Workers and labourers are handsomely paid in coupons and vouchers that can be exchanged for food and commodities. As such there is a big competition for factory places in spite of the radiation hazards and heavy machinery. Those in charge of admission and hiring, inmates that have proven themselves, hold great influence in The Pit.
The majority of alien convicts lives here and many work the vast agricultural complexes, while other aliens commute to a plethora of factories or installations.
Humanity, though widely spread, is not alone in the universe. There is a great variety of sentient life. Though there is something like the Galactic Standard, to converse, many species still retain their specific language. Humans in this setting live up to 120 years due to the advances in medication and genetic augmentation. That means that a midlife-crisis would hit an average balding human male on the age of 60 or 65.
A race of sentient amphibians, their distinctive feature is their colourful skin pattern and markings that vary in pigment and differ per individual. They have an average lifespan of 160 standard years. Feranti are capable of changing the tones of their skins subtly to reflect their mood. Warmer hues indicating they are feeling threatened, when they take on the blaring colour of their tone, they are either scared or about to attack. It is difficult to discern male from female, though because of biological necessity, males particularly have more obvious colouring.
Not particularly strong, the Irubini are notoriously smart at solving logical and algorithmical issues which makes them ideal electricians or routine programmers as well as low engineers. They have a bioluminescent organ inside their squishy head which also makes them work at nights usually when other species needing day or artificial night have clocked out. In order to protect their sensitive face and oral crevices, the Irubini wear special facial masks. Their lifespan is notably shorter to that of the average human, usually only becoming half of standard human age.
From left to right Thosai - Elkola - Kaiho - Lamluca
Hailing from the humid planet Thovoc, these reptilian aliens adapted remarkably well to Harkon’s climate. The Thosai fulfil a variety of duties and are as tall as an average human. They are extremely gifted with languages and psychology and are therefore usually employed as interpreters and envoys or pr-personnel.
They are tall (2,5 m.), brawny and extremely strong. Their culture is considerably martial and obsessed with what they call K’Longs, an abstract idea that humans would classify as ‘honour’ or ‘status’. Elkolans are notoriously loyal and forceful and trained in styles of personal combat. This makes them suited for heavy duty details as well as a source of biological muscle power. The Elkola come from Rassiu and have a long history in the galaxy. They’re renowned for their pride and sense of honour. As such, most Elkola on Harkon serve as security personnel and those found in The Pit are among the most vicious of their kind; having given up on the chance of redemption. Elkolans are not easy to anger, but will never relent when provoked. Some of them are known to hunt enemies for decades, not surprising if you know Elkola can live to become over 300 years.
With their red skin colour, four eyes, clearly predatory muscle structure and pointy headbone sticking from their skulls, the Kaiho are fearsome looking creatures indeed. Though sentient, they are not especially intelligent. Young Kaiho have to be tamed and trained, instead of educated and even Kaiho sages and elders do not know how the first disciplined Kaiho overcame his primeval instincts. The Kaiho are dangerous and ferocious and have to be neutered before entering The Pit, lest their progeny overwhelm it. Kaiho work as technicians and muscle and can grow to be 80 years.
Their features and elongated appendices are distinctly alien. There are not many Lamluca present on Harkon because they prefer tropical and oceanic worlds. The Lamluca evolved as amphibians but have a surprising amount of dna in common with that of jellyfish, like their bioluminescent nodes. They are renowned scientists and medical experts. Though there are a few Lamluca-convincts in The Pit, the majority of the Harkonan Lamluca are employed by their species’ medical and research facilities working with the convicts to find test subjects. Lamluca can live for several centuries because of their extensive regenerative system.
Hardsuits or hardskins are collective names to refer to any and all types of personal body armour. It comes in all shapes and sizes, from a basic titanium plate strapped to one’s chest, to full and completely covering suits with several options such as muscle enhancers, ammo-dispensers, breathing aperture, targeting-aid and more. Larger hardsuits need a power-source to function. There are custom made suits or standard units. Well-known manufacturers are ArmaCorp, Bonadan Heavy Industries and Seraphim Security.
Like biological life, synthetic ‘life’ comes in a plethora of shapes. In The Pit that means droids, combat-droids. Heavily armed, relatively cheap and easy to maintain, droids make up a strong contingent of the prison’s security measures. Other names in use for these constructs are drones, robots or its abbreviation: bots.
Implants are expensive and dangerous to place. Some implants merely function as memory enhancers, opening up additional storage space and coupling a processor to its host’s cerebral power. With humans, these implants are controversial and prone to malfunction, whereas Irubini and Ferantus make grateful use of them. Other implants such as binocular implants are more common and usually found in military personnel, especially special operatives. Cybernetics are extremely useful for those who can maintain. Inhabitants of the pit with cybernetic limbs for example, will gradually lose functionality of them due to not being able to refill their energy storages.
BPT = before present time
-280: Harkon is discovered.
-270: Arma buys the license to the planet after mineral deposits are uncovered.
-200: Arma’s license ends, Harkon is opened to other companies and organizations.
-199: Full colonization of Harkon commences, other species than humans arrive.
At that time the colonies were scattered enclaves in regions suitable for human and animal habitation, and sustained by the controlled proliferation of vegetable organisms that generated a better breathable atmosphere. Cities quickly grew on the Red Planet, and areas of agriculture, mines, breeding areas and research centers were established that enabled the colonists to be self-sufficient.
-175: Harkon’s people appeal to the Terran Union for admittance.
-168: Harkon is admitted into the Terran Union. The mega-corporations previously mandated for governing the planet have to take a step back for a collective body known as the Parliament.
-100: official end of the colonization period; estimated population being 500 million individuals.
-57: first Terran civil war, Harkon’s conditions deteriorate because of a decrease of communication and supply of essential raw materials Harkon did not have such as wood and oil products.
-32: end of the civil war, Harkon is further partitioned between the companies, political entities and ethnics present on the world. The human dominated Parliament is reformed to represent Harkon’s interests on a galactic scale.
-31: opening of the Pit, a massive prison complex.
-18: second Terran civil war, further fractioning of the union. Harkon sees its first share of combat since being colonized by Arma.
-9: end of the civil war, Harkon remains a member of the Union though separatist sentiments are rising, as are inter-species tensions.
-8: The Pit reaches maximum capacity of 1,5 million convicts, yet more prisoners are being accepted.
-5: The Pit’s population reaches the critical level of 2 million.
-3: The Big Riot is put down after months of warfare within the prison complex. Thousands of Pit inhabitants perish or are sentenced to death in its immediate aftermath.
to be added and specified
1: Today, start of the RP, conflict within The Pit prevents the Asiatic, a military and prisoner vessel to unload its criminal cargo.
Space. Infinitely large, Vastly empty, with small pockets of mass clinging to each other, oases in an endless, black desert. There is no sound in space. There is no air for the sound waves to vibrate through, creating what we perceive as sound. Focus in on a galaxy, near the ‘middle’ of what we know as the Universe. A spiral-armed galaxy, known on the planet we call ‘Earth’ as the Milky Way. On one arm, there could be as many as five million stars. Out of all those, we focus on a group of five, each about one, to one half, of a light year apart. Closing in further, on one that is on the edge and the furthest away from the other five, we see that it has fifteen planets orbiting in. Two gas giants orbiting each other in a strange, binary system, marked the main ‘unique’ feature of this particular system.
Focusing in on them, we see that between the two lies a small ‘rip’ in space. It is barely noticeable, blending in perfectly in the shadow of the two giants. It rippled silently, rays of light suddenly bursting into life, spraying the two planets at either side with a strange glow for a moment, before disappearing into the nothingness from which it came. In its place, a spacecraft appeared. There were no running lights. No signs of life. Nothing, but a hulk of space metal.
Slowly, the ship, propelled by the laws of gravity, drifted into the light. Painted on its surface are strange symbols that circle the turrets that bristle from its iron hide. Seven large, ninety-inch turrets on each side, port and starboard, parallel to each other. Between them, seventy smaller, five-inch anti-fighter turrets bristled, in a honeycomb fashion. On the nose of the ship, a large, spiral-mounted cannon stuck out a good hundred feet from where the armor ended, fifty feet in diameter, capable of firing a nine-hundred ton ball of tungsten at a fraction of the speed of light, doing unspeakable damage to a target. On ‘top’ and ‘bottom’ of the ship, large missile bays honeycombed their way around two turreted laser banks. Large engines laid silent at the back of the ship, capable of pushing it in-system at one-fifth light speed. Two hangar bay doors were situated above the engines, each capable of launching thirty fighter-bombers. But despite the impressive arrays of military prowess and technology, the ship seemed worse for the wear. Its armor was pocketed with small impact craters, tears, and burn marks. Atmosphere ventilated from a hole near the rear, slowly causing the ship to turn. On-board, failsafe computers kick in, and the doors are shut to the vacuumed areas. The engine sputters, and silently roars into life, great blue-green flames leaping from nowhere to slowly starting to move the engine forward, as maneuvering jets kicked in on either side and straightened the ship’s path. The vessel made for a third celestial body located in what was referred to as the ‘green zone’, the zone within a star system which could contain habitable planets or moons.
Communications were established with the world below; a misty orb of red and green, floating in space like a dirty gem. The exchange was fast, for it happened through a series of light bundles containing information which was caught by crystal and decoded by computers. The message they received back was simple: hold position, no landing clearance extended due to ground problems, specification: prison riot. Estimate time of resolution: 12 hrs.
The captain’s chair hadn’t been designed as a recliner, but he’d be damned if he was going to let that stop him. A couple of joints loosened, a couple of supports added, and the route became just that much more enjoyable.
ImageThe Asiatic didn’t require a human pilot; in fact, human pilots were obsolete even before the turn of the 23rd century. Captain Halifax’s assignment was mostly one of peace of mind rather than a demand for his skillset. Even with all the advancements in AI, especially those specializing in transport vessels, the public at large still felt uneasy allowing a computer to ferry around its dangerous persons. And so, Halifax, with only a handful of years before retirement and a yearning for one last sojourn in space, was tasked with a command that told the public, yes, there is a seasoned veteran in charge, and no, you won’t have to worry about murderers and thieves crash-landing in your front garden.
ImageTherefore, when Campbell informed him that their arrival had been delayed due to a system failure on the ground, annoyance didn’t even cross his mind.
“You’re missing the stars, Lieutenant.”
Halifax pointed to a bluish shimmer in the top right corner.
“I’ve come this way at least twenty times and this is the first I’ve seen that one.
Through his implant, Campbell quickly consulted the databanks.
“I believe that is---”
“Don’t tell me, I prefer not knowing. It’s beautiful, though, isn’t it?”
“You’re just saying that. Really look at it.”
Campbell, the cretin, really looked.
“It’s beautiful, sir.”
“All of you, really look at it.”
All of them really looked. A minute of captain-ordered stargazing aboard the prison ship Asiatic before Halifax levered his seat upright.
“How long are we up here for?”
“At least a day. I’m being told it was a fairly major malfunction.”
“Ah, well. What’s left in storage? Any chocolate?”
“Just checking, sir,” said the lieutenant as he ran a brief inventory sweep. “It doesn’t look promising, though. I think your souffle used the last of it.”
“I nearly forgot about that. Quite the souffle once you consider the state of the equipment I was forced to use.”
Campbell swallowed involuntarily, the memory of the souffle reaching his mouth.
“Yes, sir.” The sweep finished. “The only luxury item we have left is a case of eggnog.”
Halifax raised an eyebrow.
“Issued for the holiday celebrations. Our original objectives would have taken us through the new year.”
“No use letting it go to waste then. Although, eggnog by itself just doesn’t have the same charm. You say there’s nothing else at all?”
“Nothing else, sir.”
Halifax thought for a moment and then turned to the half dozen bridge crewmembers behind him.
“I know one of you smuggled something nice onboard. Save me the trouble of launching an official inquiry, will you? I hate them as much as you do.”
The crew exchanged worried glances.
“Well?” said Halifax.
A particularly small ensign in the back raised her hand, and the captain’s face lit up.
“Miura! You wonderful degenerate, I could hug you! Why don’t you go get it for me, sweetheart?”
A red-faced Miura left and returned with three small bottles of fiftyfifty.
“I knew there was a reason you were under my command: you’re incredibly useful in a pinch,” said Halifax. “Now, let’s have ourselves an early Christmas, or whatever one celebrates these days.”
And Campbell couldn’t help but smile.