LUMEN Jam part 3 - Changes to URCAT Lore

Since my last post, I decided to make some alterations to the lore to change the direction that URCAT was heading in. URCAT is still the name of the game and the It might be easiest for me to just share my current write up for potential future use in a future game in this universe.

 

The (current) lore of URCAT

Long ago, Humanity was trapped within their solar system. Not wishing to see the extinction of the species upon the end of their star’s habitability, they created great ships remembered as the Turtle Arks powered by artificial stellar engines. Each guided by a number of Artificial Intelligences, they not only carried a great bulk of Earth’s remaining species to maintain and seed the galaxy with known forms of life, but also conducted experiments on alternative forms of being.


And so they spread across the galaxy. New species and cultures evolved and old species were resurrected in the great domed habitats that dotted the Turtle Arks’ surfaces. While many experiments failed and some seed ships appear to have not made it far, many of the galaxy’s known planets were slowly seeded with various forms of life. Some of it is recognizable, but so much more was unique to the environments along the Arks’ paths.


A number of cultures managed to develop Faster Than Light technologies, allowing the isolated stellar islands of sentient beings to be in contact once again. Communication and eventually trade began to flourish and civilizations would begin the rise and fall all too similar to human history on Earth.


A cluster of stars on the edge of a galactic arm where FTL tech independently developed is surrounded by several larger interstellar powers. Each of these powers have interests in the cluster for their own gain and have tried to exert themselves in various ways from intimidation, border incursions, supporting coups, and piracy. As a result of these powers’ aggressive actions, a loose confederation as begun to form among the independent polities of the cluster known as the Twol League.


Each polity has maintained independent military organizations, but an Unaligned Civilian Defense Group (UCDG) has developed. This organization started as mercenaries contracted by private firms to help guard the borders from pirate incursions, but now receive public funding from the member polities to help enforce the common customs and assist civilians in the Twol League in times of crisis.


As part of this public funding, the UCDG started to create URCATs, Unaligned Rescue and Civilian/Casualty Assistance Teams, to fulfill their protection duties. The player characters are front-line AI officers in one of these teams. As such, they swear to uphold the Operating Protocols.




URCAT Operating Protocols


  • I raise arms in defense of those who cannot.


  • I help the wounded, no matter their homeland.

  • Civilians out first, wounded soldiers next. Only I remain to the last.

  • I respect the Polities, for their laws are sovereign.

  • I am not alone, nor are are my Officers.



A map of the Milky Way Galaxy showing the location of the Earth
A Map of the Milky Way. (Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech/R. Hurt)

I imagine the Twol Cluster is near the large bright spot along the Scutum-Centarus Arm near the 300º line about 22,000 LY from Sol.


 

One thing I did want to explain real quick is why I am using the term "polity" to refer to the members of the Twol League. In fact In URCAT, I regularly use the word “polity” when referring to things that we might today commonly use to refer to countries, nations, states, or governments today.


Normally a polity is defined by three things: people that share elements of a common identity, an institutional structure that organizes social relations between the people, and the ability for these institutions to gather and utilize resources.

 So why would I want to use this word a lot of people outside of political theory don’t know?



The main reason is because the old terms terms do not effectively describe what the basic idea of the concept of self-government has evolved into in URCAT’s universe. For example, many of the terms like “country” and “state” imply possession of territory or a physical space. In the science fiction setting like URCAT’s, societies may exist in a physical but mobile platform like in a fleet of ships or a mobile space station. They may even exist entirely in a digital space. Since they don't have a defined territory, they would not be considered a state in today's definition. This is something that has been used against nomadic peoples in the past and I will not allow this form of discrimination to exist in the world of URCAT.


Other terms suggest full & internationally recognized sovereignty over their own group of people. However, this may not be entirely the case either. For a while now, multinational corporations and a growing number of multinational citizens, partial citizens, & long-term expatriates are testing the limits of full sovereignty. A cooperative corporation may not be a government, but under the definition above they certainly could be a polity. Have that co-op found a colony all by itself and it might effectively be independent and sovereign even if not everyone recognizes it or everyone is still a citizen of a different polity somewhere else.


TL;DR is that I am using “polity” for URCAT’s universe because the concept the traditional nation-state is less important than it is in our modern Earthbound and normally sedentary lifestyles. As a result, beings have come to recognize alternative means of self-organization as being legitimate and worthwhile.


This likely won't come up too much in URCAT other than the "Officers respect local laws" rule, but it is something I would like to explore in future exploration of this universe the game is set in.


 

Hope you all enjoyed that! I wished I had more to share today, but unfortunately other life obligations have taken away some of the time I normally would have had to write these blogs. Next time I touch on the Lumen Jam, I will discuss the Triage and Treatment mechanics I intend to add to the Lumen SRD base.

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