Thursday, January 7, 2016

The Galactic Great Wheel

Looking at my Azuran Sysem map and its conspicuous shape, an idea occurred to me: the AD&D "Great Wheel Cosmology" adapted to a science fiction setting. I've sort of toyed with that idea before in a science fantasy multiverse kind of way, but now I'm thinking more classic space opera in the vein of the things that inspired Traveller, but a bit more Vancian--as is appropriate to its AD&D roots.

So here's the pitch: Sometime in the future, an early spacefaring humanity encounters a gate and gains access to a system of FTL via hyperspace (or the astralspace) and gets its introduction to an ancient, galactic civilization with arcane rules and customs a bit like Brin's Uplift universe. At the "center" of the gates is Hub, a place with a gigantic neutral territory station--like Babylon 5 on a grander scale. Hub connects to all the various worlds. Here's a short sampling:

Archeron: A war world, possibly one where a decadent civilization has kidnapped warriors form different times and worlds to battles for their entertainment.

Baator: The world of beings who (like the Overlords in Childhood's End) look suspiciously like devils from Earth belief, and indeed act very much like them, destabilizing worlds with Faustian bargains somewhat like in Swanwick's Jack Faust.

Beastworld: A planet where many animal species share a group intelligence.

Carceri: An environmentally hostile ancient prison planet.

Limbo: A world in an area of reality warping "broken space" where hyperspace spills in leading to a graveyard of ships.

Mechanus: Robotic beings out to bring order to the galaxy via assimilation. A somewhat (maybe) more reasonable Borg.

Pandemonium: A world only inhabitable in subterranean caverns, but even those are swept by winds that generate infrasound that can drive humanoids insane like the titular Winds of Gath.


Logan said...

A very interesting idea, Trey. Could be a great crossover of Spelljammer and Planescape. I think, this is a very interesting and inspirating idea. I'm thinking of magotechinal stargates and Dune-like starship travelling by folding the space (or jumping thru the astralspace). Maybe I would prefer a blue police box... ;)
Summoning a demon is just the astral opening to an abyssal world and calling one of its inhabitants to come over to your home world. And think on Mortal Combats Outlands! This could be a dark and evil "Plane World", too. Just a glimse of an idea...

That's really cool stuff, Trey! Really cool!

Tim Shorts said...

I could definitely see the game-ability of this. But of course, you had my at Babylon 5.

John Till said...

Have you seen Pelgrane's Gaean Reach RPG? It's Vance space. There is a Gazetteer supplement too. There might be some good resources there for a Vance-flavored game.

Logan said... could be a nice addition to this idea, too.