Art Attempt: Elkari

This is my attempt at drawing a female Elkari. I know it’s more than a little rough, but at least this gives the general idea of what they look like. The Elkari evolved from hoofed mammalian herbivores. Their bodies are covered in fine lightly-colored fur. They have hooves, and their fingernails are very hoof-like in thickness and color. Their large eyes are highly reflective and emit a faint psionic glow. Their heads are framed by a translucent psionic crest, with each individual Elkari having a unique crest pattern. Elkari are smaller than Humans, ranging from 1.2 to 1.5 meters in height.

Elkari Concept.png

Map of Known Space v2

The map has been updated once again! This time with even more detail and a whole new superpower on the galactic scene. I decided that the Star League was too much of a solid blob, so this map emphasizes the multi-faceted nature of the alliance while offering ways for those that want to avoid League space to skirt along the edges. I put an uninhabited part of the galaxy right in the middle of League space where few worlds can sustain life, yet might serve as a haven for the galaxy’s criminal elements.

The overwhelming dominance of the Hegemony is also front and center here, as is the more clearly defined Contested Zone that separates the old enemies from one another. Residing across a starless region known as The Traverse is the Frontier, which is now shown as its own mostly unexplored arm of the galaxy, alongside the mysterious clone empire Ad Infinitum.

The Azure Nebula is avoided by most as ships tend to disappear without a trace. Intrepid adventurers may discover ruins from ancient civilizations and untold dangers that lurk in the forgotten places. Further along the galactic disc resides the Far Reaches, where proximity to the Hegemony and distance from civilization prevent all but the boldest from exploring.

Tangent Space - Map of Known Space V2.png

Factions: The Star League

“We, the peaceful space-faring races of the galaxy, recognize that when one of us thrives, we all thrive, and when one of us suffers, we all suffer. We hereby pledge to combine our resources, our knowledge, and our destinies so that we might stand together against chaos and oppression as one united league amongst the stars.” – Star League Declarations


Summary

The Star League was formed to unite the economic, scientific, and military resources of the space-faring races into a peaceful, galaxy spanning commonwealth. Member nations of the Star League remain mostly autonomous states that adhere to League regulations. Due to its size and the autonomy each member nation enjoys, the Star League can be slow to act and frequently suffers from internal disputes over complicated issues. The Star League fields the most advanced navy in the known galaxy as each member nation offers technology and resources to ensure mutual defense. However, each member nation maintains a navy of their own to secure their independent interests. The Star League also strives to protect worlds inhabited by primitive races from exploitation and natural disasters that might destroy their nascent cultures. Following the example of the Elkari, the Star League watches the younger races and prepares to integrate them into galactic society when they are ready.


Government

The Star League is primarily a meritocratic organization that highly values skill and experience. The League is led by a group of experts called the Governing Council that are elected from each of their nine respective fields: Science, Development, Commerce, Defense, Intelligence, Diplomacy, Justice, Habitation, and Exploration. There has been consistent pressure from the psionic community for the inclusion of a Psionics position within the Governing Council. Any such proposal has always failed, which is often cited as a major contributing factor to the formation and growing appeal of Advent.

The Governing Council provide guidance to various governmental departments and third party organizations. Councilor elections are held every ten years, with a President being elected from among members of the Governing Council every five years. The votes are cast by each member nation of the League as passed on by their Chief Ambassador. Each nation has a different means of determining their vote, which the Star League has no authority to dictate. The selection of the President allows member nations to decide the focus they believe the Star League should have at any period of time. The President can break a deadlock within the Council and propose major projects for the League, while the Council can overrule the President with at least two thirds majority. Both the President and the Council members can be removed from their positions through a vote of no confidence from the member nations.

There are many similarities between the Star League and the United Earth Colonies as Humans were a leading force in the design and formation of the League. Human cultural diversity was seen as a valuable asset to the formation of a galactic alliance.


History

Prior to the formation of the Star League, each of the space-faring races worked to expand their influence throughout the galaxy, often resulting in armed conflicts with one another. While warring amongst themselves, the overwhelmingly powerful Hegemony conquered many races without challenge. The galaxy was a hazardous place and the future looked grim.

At the turning of the era, the United Earth Colonies proposed the formation of an alliance with the aim of ending the conflicts and standing united against the Hegemony’s unyielding expansion. The Star League Declarations were signed by the founding members: The United Earth Colonies, Elkari Consensus, Geld Commonwealth, and Phosna Botanica. This marked the dawning of a new age: Tempus Unitas, The Era of Unity. The Virexian Empire, after suffering a crushing defeat at the hands of the Hegemony, joined the Star League as its first new member.

Together, these five nations resolved to break the Hegemony invasion and force them back to their own space. In a battle fought simultaneously across dozens of systems, the largest in galactic history, Hegemony forces were pushed back one sector at a time. The Hegemony experienced defeat for the first time and was forced to retreat. This momentous event became known as the Battle of the Line, which resulted in the Contested Zone: a stretch of space that neither Hegemony nor Star League can securely claim. Four centuries of peace and prosperity followed, though an undercurrent of discontent grew in the cultural background.

In the year 424 TU, ideological tensions within the Star League reached a breaking point. The age of peace ended when the Elkari Consensus seceded from the Star League and formed Advent: an organization devoted to the advancement of psionic abilities with the ultimate goal of attaining metaphysical ascension. Advent, moving forward aggressively with their separatist agenda, began to weaken the political foundations of the Star League. Unwilling to risk a collapse from within, the League labeled Advent as a threat to galactic peace and security. The once united galaxy finds itself embroiled in a civil war where each faction struggles to secure power on both military and cultural fronts. With the successful ascension of the first Advent controlled world and the increasing number of seceding planets, many League officials lose hope that the conflict can ever be solved diplomatically.

Galactic Timeline

I decided to put together the timeline for Tangent Space. Up until now, this has existed only in a nebulous state in my brain. Having it in a tangible place should make writing the lore of the setting much easier! I understand that not everything will make sense just looking at it, but I figured it doesn’t hurt to share it anyway. Of course, this could change as I work on the lore, but here is the general history I’m working with. Have a look if you’re curious!

Tangent Space Timeline PDF

tangent-space-timeline_page_1tangent-space-timeline_page_2

Map Update

In preparation of the next playtest (which includes starship mechanics) I’ve updated the map of known space! Each dot represents an important star system, and each diamond represents a capital system. There are many more star systems in this area of the galaxy that aren’t shown on the map, so there’s plenty of room for the introduction of new places and adventures. Developing colonies, primitive alien races, ancient ruins from the previous age, and whatever else you could think of. The colored areas represent space that has been surveyed and claimed by one of the three major factions. The lines between star systems represent subspace conduits generated by paired transit stations that accelerate travel along their paths. Because the conduits are used as trade lanes, pirates are known to lay in wait along them, hoping to ambush unwary travelers. The uncolored area is the unexplored and unclaimed Frontier where pioneers and freelancers seek their fortunes. A few frontier systems have thrived and formed their own independent nations. Each grid square is a sector, which is used to determine travel time based on the number of sectors between you and your destination. Better drives mean less traveling downtime!

Tangent Space - Map of Known Space.png

Specializations: Version 2

I finally completed the revisions on the character specializations! Here are all 30 of the specs in Tangent Space. A specialization serves to offer special abilities to characters beyond the default actions anyone can perform. Each specialization uses one of four resource types in order to perform actions: Focus, Power, Combo, or Riposte. Specs have an innate ability and four additional abilities that can be acquired by characters and upgraded through bronze, silver, and gold versions. Most characters will have two specializations, though character creation offers options to start with a third. It is also possible to acquire new specializations throughout the course of the game. These versions should be even more fun to mix and match than before!

As usual, the images are only placeholders and do not represent the art style of the Tangent Space final product. This is probably not the final revision specializations will go through, but I’m quite happy with how they turned out so far. I’ve also provided a PDF version for those that want to browse through them all in a single file. I would love to hear feedback on these or any other part of the project!

PDF – Tangent Space Specializations

Status Report!

You might be wondering why I went radio silent for so long. I just finished the first real playtest of Tangent Space! It ran for about six weeks and finished this weekend. It felt great to see the mechanics working in real time and watching the players have fun breaking the system as players tend to do. Now I’m compiling all the feedback and making plans for the many revisions that need to take place. A lot of it is minor tweaks and clarifications. One of the biggest jobs will be a pass on character specializations and the associated resources. While I like most of how they worked, there are some big flaws in the system that need to be addressed. The next playtest will include exotic specializations along with vehicles and ships! Suffice to say, I’ll be very busy for the next few months. I’ll post snippets of what I’m working on here from time to time, so look forward to that! My goal is to have the revisions completed sometime in January, at which point another playtest will commence!