Last time I wrote about the ability scores and their uses, and expanded on the idea of classes. We’ll come back to classes later in this series. For now, I want to look at the six types of heroic races players can choose from.
Astrarius is a glittery techno-fantasy universe a little bit like our own and quite a bit down the trope-tunnel. So I’m going to be leaning on pulp fantasy staples, such as Venus being a steamy jungle planet and Saturn being capable of hosting floating sky cities. We’re not looking for realism, we want early George Lucas levels of gonzo.
That being said, each of the races in Astrarius come from a different planet in our solar system. The assumption is that space is kinda littered with space stations and ports, like in the Jetsons. The big empty void of space, the horrors beyond the stars, all that; it’s not really what the setting focuses on. Space is populated, which supports adventure. A big gulf filled with radiation doesn’t do much for our funky chug-a-luggin’ heroes in their shag-carpeted space van (and you know I’m gonna have a class of ship called a minibus).
‘Nuff said there. Let’s look at the races and their home planets.
Venutians. The tall, brawny, and sensuous people of Venus. They have a highly advanced society and are known for their powerful economy, lending them a good deal of clout in galactic matters. Venutians are often soldiers, diplomats, and performers. Starting Moxie and Brawn are 13, roll 2d6+3 in order for the rest. As a Venutian, NPCs make their reaction rolls towards you with a +1 bonus.
Venus is a dense, tropical planet known for its gorgeous villas, incredible cuisine, and enormous fauna. Venutians are fans of sport, and especially enjoy spectating hunts, gladiatorial contests, and wrestling. Venutian women tend to be taller than men, and Venutian society has ingrained mother-goddess beliefs that translate into the modern day as a distinctly matriarchal hierarchy.
Some of the oldest ruins are found in remote Venutian rain forests, and early discovery of astrarius on Venus led to them joining the galactic scene earlier than Earth and several outer planets.
Maenathi. The slender, passionate, and stubborn people of Mars. They are blue- and green-toned in complexion, and naturally have black or silvery-gray hair, but often dye and style it in the latest fashions. They’re seen as hedonists, as some of the most prolific drug trade comes out of Mars. Starting Verve and Zeal are 13, roll 2d6+3 in order for the rest. As a Maenathi, you have advantage on saves vs. poison and phantasms.
Mars is full of mesas and scrublands criss-crossed with silver highways, solar arrays, and dusty ranches. The cities are towering machine havens, and have the best new-wave bars, clubs, and drugs. The casinos of Mars are legendary throughout the galaxy, and various criminal underlords make their bases in the bustling cities.
Mars was the first planet that humanity reached, and early success in diplomacy has forged a lasting bond between the Maenathi and humans. Many wealthy Earth-denizens vacation on the Tiertza Strip in Mars’ capital.
Robo. The quirky, mechanical, fearless people of no home. Robo are nearly universally bipedal, though some choose to augment with additional limbs and appendages. They were first created by a scientist named Kilvroy Karkanex from Saturn, but when he saw their depth of emotion, he left his workshop in their hands. Every Robo since then has been made in a similar lab, and is purposefully created with a uniquely imperfect code so that they can experience individuality. These quirks are seen affectionately by other Robo.
Starting Brawn and Knack are 13. Roll 2d6+3 in order for the rest. You can use mechanical tools to repair yourself during an unsafe rest, gaining the benefits of a safe rest instead.
Robo characters are physically unique, as well. They have no standard form other than roughly humanoid, and can be whatever color or shape they want.
Satyrnite. The spunky, emphatic, witty people of Saturn. Originally a mountain-dwelling people, Satyrnites joined the galactic community after humanity by less than a decade. Their people have since relegated their lives to the clouds and spiraling currents of astrarius-laced dust in Saturn’s rings, mining the asteroids and advancing philosophy and the studies of the sciences. Starting Moxie and Wizen are 13, roll 2d6+3 in order for the rest. You can craft items in 1/2 the normal time.
Satrynites appear like fauns, with cloven hooves and coarse hair on their lower limbs. They are the shortest race, roughly two to three inches shorter on average than Maenathi. Horns are a prevalent way for Satyrnites to express their individuality, and they carve, paint, pierce, and otherwise decorate them. Most Satyrnite choose not to cut their hair, and short hair is seen as unattractive.
Saturn has the most colonies of any planet, and its many moons harvest vast amounts of resources. The Satyrnites enjoy the benefits of this abundance, and operate the largest-scale shipping industry in the galaxy.
Medusine. The mysterious, intellectual, spiritual people of Neptune. Far away from the rest of the solar system, Medusine came to the galactic community late, though not for lack of ability. They have been star-faring longer than any other race, and were the first to chart the greatest tradeways and fuel points across the Milky Way. Not many spacers visit Neptune, as its cold forests and migrating continents make it a harsh environment even for its indigenous population. Starting Knack and Wizen are 13, roll 2d6+3 in order for the rest. Enemies roll morale during initiative at disadvantage.
Medusine have green-, maroon-, and navy-toned complexions with yellow or orange eye colors. They have no hair, instead sporting long, emotionally-responsive tendrils. Medusine are at least semi-aquatic, but have no special adaptations to assist them underwater any longer. However, some are born with vestigial webbing between their fingers and toes.
Neptune is an old and distant planet, but the planet is known for its exceptional beauty. Stark landscapes with gorgeous mountain vistas, deep and mysterious forests, and misty lagoons feature prominently in art of the cold planet.
Humans. The wide-eyed, inquisitive, gregarious people of Earth. They are varied in their appearance but are all about taking a little of this, a little of that, and a whole heaping helping of galactic aesthetic and integrating it all. Their spaceships still look like the sleek, trim rockets of 50s science fiction, and they have a fascination with the far-flung corners of the Milky Way. Perhaps more than any other, humans are excited to be in space. Starting Verve and Zeal are 13, roll 2d6+3 in order for the rest. You have an additional augment slot.
Earth has wholeheartedly embraced the art, fashion, cuisine, and philosophies of the other races. Perhaps because of this, Earth’s inhabitants have also accepted their own diversity, and national boundaries have become less important in the face of the endless stars.
Earth has numerous resources and customs which have taken the rest of the galaxy by storm. Rollerblading, makeup, curry, and reggae are among the most popular exports of the human planet.
As you can probably tell, this is going to be a soft science setting. Mono-climate planets and idealized political unity are useful storytelling elements. Earth’s countries stopped fighting each other because there’s better stuff to be had in space. You can fight over land or religion, but the final frontier is calling.
Due to that, the largest number of humans in space are the transient adventuring types looking for a new claim to stake. Like the westward expansion of America but with less manifest destiny. Instead, it’s a bug-eyed wonder driving humans to the stars.
Other planets have their own conflicts, and depending on which one you happen to be adventuring on, you can highlight different governments and politics. Venutians have a strict approach to trade with other economies, but Medusine don’t have very much in the way of ‘regulations.’ Players shouldn’t be too interested in the minutiae, but it might be useful to have planetary cheat sheets for easy reference. I’ll look at that for the future.
I’m going to look at class write-ups next. I might include some augments, too.