The Universe and Its Truths
The Sun Plague extinguished the stars in our home galaxy.
The anomaly traveled at incredible speeds, many times faster than light itself, and snuffed out the stars around us before we realized it was coming. Few of us survived as we made our way to this new galaxy. Here in the Forge, the stars are still aflame. We cling to their warmth like weary travelers huddled around a fire.
We suspect the Sun Plague was caused by: Sudden dark matter decay
Mysterious alien gates provided instantaneous one-way passage to the Forge.
In the midst of the cataclysm, our ancestors found a strange metal pillar on our homeworld’s moon. A map on the surface of this alien relic detailed the deep-space locations of the Iron Gates—massive devices that powered artificial wormholes. With no other options, the Exodus ships fled through the gates and emerged here in the Forge.
Dangers abound, but there is safety in numbers. Many ships and settlements are united under the banner of one of the Founder Clans.
We have a tentative foothold in this galaxy. Each of the five Founder Clans honor the name and legacy of a leader who guided their people in the chaotic time after the Exodus. Vast reaches of the settled domains are claimed by the clans, and territorial skirmishes are common.
Iron vows are sworn upon totems crafted from the enigmatic metal we call black iron.
Black iron was first forged by a long-dead civilization. Some say it is a living metal, attuned to the hidden depths of the universe. Remnants of this prized resource are found within ancient sites throughout the Forge. It is resistant to damage and corrosion, but can be molded using superheated plasma at specialized facilities. The Ironsworn carry weapons, armor, or tokens crafted from black iron, and swear vows upon it.
Laws and governance vary across settled domains, but bounty hunters are given wide latitude to pursue their contracts. Their authority is almost universally recognized, and supersedes local laws.
Through tradition and influence, bounty hunter guilds are given free rein to track and capture fugitives in most settled places. Only the foolish stand between a determined bounty hunter and their target.
Our gods failed us. We left them behind.
The Exodus was a tipping point. The gods offered no help to the billions who died in the cataclysm, and spirituality has little meaning in the Forge. Most now see religion as a useless relic of our past. But the search for meaning continues, and many are all-too-willing to follow a charismatic leader who claims to offer a better way.
Supernatural powers are wielded by those rare people we call vions and versitors.
While not magic in the truest sense, the abilities of the paragons are as close to magic as we can conjure.
These powers are born of: Psychic experimentation
Communication and Data:
Information is life. We rely on spaceborne couriers to transport messages and data across the vast distances between settlements.
Direct communication and transmissions beyond the near-space of a ship or outpost are impossible. Digital archives are available at larger outposts, but the information is not always up-to-date or reliable. Therefore, the most important communications and discoveries are carried by couriers who swear vows to see that data safely to its destination.
Orders of sworn healers preserve our medical knowledge and train new generations of caregivers.
Life-saving advanced care is available within larger communities throughout the settled sectors of the Forge. Even remote communities are often served by a novice healer, or can request help from a healer’s guild in an emergency.
We no longer have access to advanced computer systems. Instead, we must rely on the seers we call Adepts.
Our computers are limited to simple digital systems and the most basic machine intelligence. This is because: We have lost the knowledge to create and maintain AI
The Adepts serve in place of those advanced systems. They utilize mind-altering drugs to see the universe as a dazzling lattice of data, identifying trends and predicting outcomes with uncanny accuracy. But to gain this insight they sacrifice much of themselves.
War never ends. Talented weaponsmiths and shipwrights craft deadly, high-tech tools of destruction. Dominant factions wield mighty fleets and battle-hardened troops.
Those in power have access to weapons of horrific destructive potential. Skirmishes and wars flare across the settled domains, and most are pawns or casualties in these destructive campaigns.
This is a perilous and often inhospitable galaxy, but life finds a way.
Life in the Forge is diverse. Planets are often home to a vast array of creatures, and our starships cruise with spaceborne lifeforms riding their wake. Even animals from our homeworld—carried aboard the Exodus ships—have adapted to live with us in the Forge.
Over eons, a vast number of civilizations rose and fell within the Forge. Today, the folk we call grubs—scavenger crews and audacious explorers—delve into the mysterious monuments and ruins of those ancient beings.
Incomprehensible technologies, inexorable time, and the strange energies of the Forge have corrupted the vaults of the precursors. Despite the perils, grubs scour those places for useful resources and discoveries. But some secrets are best left buried, and many have been lost to the forsaken depths of the vaults.
Put enough alcohol in a spacer, and they’ll tell you stories of ghost ships crewed by vengeful undead. It’s nonsense.
Within the Forge, space and time are as mutable and unstable as a flooding river. When reality can’t be trusted, we are bound to encounter unsettling phenomenon.