S3M Setting Notes

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Everything here is currently subject to occasional GM adjustment, and will probably get moved elsewhere as pages are added to the wiki.

Science & Technology Notes:

Tech Level

  • Overall TL:10. Lower class is TL9, middle-class and military is TL10. A given TL can use higher TL tech, but cannot maintain or reproduce it.


Nearly all technology of the entire galaxy revolves around a synthetic heavy element referred to by Terrans as Elerium, or Brin in the Ozrahdi tongue (lit. "essence"), the processed form of Silima ore (a term used by the Ozrahdi for millenia, although not of Ozradhi origin), a mineral naturally occurring only in planets of older star systems in the galactic core. It must be refined in microgravity. Once processed, E-115 is gold-colored, super-heavy and soft (like gold), having a specific gravity of 21.22 and weighing 1324.4lbs per cubic foot. It is generally stored and transported in rods, .15m dia (≈6"), 1m long (.624cf); one rod of fuel-grade E-115 weighs 825lbs (.41T). Generally transported in 1x.45x.45m crates of 9 weighing 4.77T. Raw Silima ore is much less dense and heavy, and is a phosphorescent greenish-gold color (Ref:Kryptonite). It is processed into several variants, including fuel-grade, industrial-grade and weapons-grade; E-115 derivatives are used as a medium for all gravitic manipulation technology and advanced beam weapons, and are used extensively in power-storage technology and explosives. Some byproducts of the refinement process are a powerful drug, called Silimanji, that can have effects that include temporary psionic abilities, depending on the users' biological makeup (among Terrans, it is referred to as "spike" when mixed in small doses with other Terran drugs). As a result, Elerium is the most sought-after substance in the galaxy, and is the basis for the galactic economy.


Power is universally derived from mutual annihilation of anti-matter, fueled by E-115.


Exposed Radiators Switch in use. Power Plant systems generate 1 Heat Point per Power Point. [Beam Weapons. Engines. Distance from sun effects, solar flares. Reduction: Radiators, Liquid Coolant, Air-Cooling]

Power Plant

All use A-Mat PP @TL+1. Elerium-115 is used as fuel. Solar panels are in common usage, at appropriate TL, to assist during recharging or to run systems in case of PP failure. Consumes .001sT of fuel-grade Elerium per Power Point per hour.

Maneuver Drives

  • Terrans: TL+2 Total Conversion Torch; uses heavy-water(D2O) for reaction mass, which is consumed at a rate of .5sT per day (24hr) per engine at full burn. Water is recycled, and used as coolant as well as for life support purposes. Terran drives also require a power point to operate (1 point for all engines).
  • Kyahnt: TL+1 Reactionless (Polarity)
  • UKT: TL+0 Reactionless (Force Propeller)
  • Others: TL+1 Reactionless (Force Sail)

UKT Force Propeller units are fixed-power unidirectional, having many units facing along different axes, sometimes swivel-mounted. RPI Force Sails are fixed-power omnidirectional, and use many smaller units that are opened as necessary to control amount of thrust. OKU/TCC Force Sails are variable-power multidirectional; TCC uses flippers (Ref:Vorlons), OKU uses “wings.”


FTL is universally enabled by what Terrans refer to as a Correspondence Drive, which uses Holtzmann-wave principles to "fold space" into a single relative point and then unfold it, leaving the vessel in a new location. The drive consists of a "core" (that includes a significant amount of Elerium at its heart), specialized sensors to acquire the destination, and a focusing device to lock it in (referred to as the "aperture"). Travel is basically instantaneous, and requires a huge amount of power.

See also: Astrogation

Gravity Manipulation

TL12 type (TL13, OKU). Gravity manipulation technologies and the secrets of Silima were "given" to all the races by unknown sources. At less than TL11 this technology is still not fully understood, but by TL11 some of the concepts are beginning to be grasped, allowing some modifications.

TL12 Countergrav (CG) tech works by "screening" the countergrav unit from part or all gravity affecting it, needing other methods to actually propel the craft (usually A-Mat pulse drives). The ship itself still feels the effects of gravity, but it is suspended by the CG units. These are usually placed on the bottom or sides of then craft in a landing gear-type configuration. TL13 (Repulsorlift) actually change "gravitic polarity", causing the craft to repel the gravity source like a like-poled magnet. At TL9, countergravity is primarily available for Capital-scale and Fighter-scale, and is available at Vehicle-scale at TL10

Anti-Gravity Generator (AG) coils are usually placed on or near left and right sides with overlapping fields so as to equal out the pull and avoid things drifting toward the center of the craft. A more expensive method is Grav-Gen plates producing an evenly distributed field.

Lateral Gravity Compensators (G-Comp) are usually set with a split-second delay so the movement of the ship can be felt slightly. Axial G-Comps are usually set to screen all but a fraction of acceleration so movement can be felt slightly.

Standard Combination Components: Ships almost always use the following combination components: Stardrive serves as axial G-Comp; CG/AG unit serves as AG or CG (selective), and lateral G-Comp (constant).

Force-Fields: All shield technology is 2x cost, including force swords. All Force Fields and Deflectors are semi-transparent, gold-colored (Ref: Dune), and distort visibility somewhat into and out of the field.

  • OKU have omni-directional vehicle-scale shields/deflectors. Deflectors are velocity-limited, giving no PD vs. melee weapons (except force swords). Force swords are available at TL11. Uni-directional vehicular shields/deflectors are generally used in pairs, one on either side, and may be angled to protect either the front or the rear.
  • Kazha ships use older uni-directional shields/deflectors. Personal-scale uni-directional deflectors are available.
  • RPI have uni-directional vehicle-scale deflectors only, although personal-scale deflectors are just becoming available.

FTL Communication

N/A, by courier only


Most communications gear can detect the race of the speaker through voice-patterns, and may identify the speaker specifically if appropriate databases are available.


Bioscanners and Chemscanners operate as per "hard science" options, per SP70. This also applies to bio or chem functions of multiscanners. Vehicular Chem/Bioscanners have 1% listed range.


Computers jump +2 Complexity/100x storage capacity per TL, rather than the standard +1/10x. All except Terrans are -1TL in computers.

Data Storage

CHW uses 3.5"dia flat circular CD-type disk, usu. w/ cover; ARS, Kyahnt use a 2" cube; UKT uses a crystal a la B5 ; ChiCom uses a .5"x3" crystal rod ; OKU uses a 2" metallic sphere w/ ring-type retracting handle. Capacity is per UT or UT2.


Holograms require a glass or clear plastic "screen" (generally curved) to project onto. [GM] Thinking of dropping this


Nano-tech is too complex and precise to be of widespread industrial use until TL12 (Technomancers). Ozrahdi (TL11) have available nanotech at 3x cost.

Living Materials

Bioplas is unavailable until TL11.


Power Cells in effect at double the weight, D-E cells for weapons are belt/backpack mounted respectively.

  • Vehicle-scale weapons (including man-portable heavy weapons) are available at intro-TL, personal scale one TL later.
  • Beam weapons are equivalent to TL4 Black Powder weapons. Max RoF for any beam weapon (UOS) is ~2 (due to slight firing delay); full-auto does not currently exist, except with gatling-type multibarrel weapons. BW have a tendency to overheat which is aggravated by rapid firing (not allowing the weapon to cool between shots); maximum Malf is Crit at RoF 1/3, and adjusts one step down per additional RoF adjustment at introduction TL; overall reliability improves by a maximum of one step at next TL. Treat malfunctions as for a Level 1 Autofire Conversion (UT22). Malf is raised to Ver(Crit) for all Beam Weapons, regardless of RoF, while in space due to the extreme cold (since malfunctions are primarily heat-related), and malfunctions that do occur are usually something other than overheating. Produces a significant amount of waste heat during normal firing, making them hard to hide from IR sensors.
  • "Concussion Guns"; BW equivalent of shotguns
  • "Wind-up" BW's (Ref:MinReport); slower to fire (RoF:1/2), but more-or-less infinite charge, variable power (like pump pellet gun); each Turn spent in a Ready maneuver, charging the weapon, provides it with a +2 damage (convert to dice, when applicable); SK:RapReload can shorten this requirement (see BPW)
  • Personal-scale blasters available at TL11, vehicle-scale at TL10, plasma blasters available 1 TL earlier, omniblasters available at TL11
  • Xray, Gamma lasers ineffective in atmosphere -divide range by 1000 in atmosphere, multiply by 100 in vacuum
  • Charged particle beams ineffective in vacuum, neutral particle beams ineffective in atmosphere. Man-portable or aerospace units typically have selectable settings.


Ships are too expensive to be mass-produced in any way, and are custom built, usually commissioned by corporations or government agencies (primarily the military) and the occasional multi-millionaire. They are, however, common enough that pretty much any Joe Spacer can end up with one in spite of the high price tag, either by inheritance, capture or salvage.

Ship Reference:
  • CHW=B5-EA
  • TFR=Aliens/B5-EA mix
  • USA=Aliens
  • OKU=B5-Minbari
  • Capital Ship Profile: USA, TFR, MF, CNB and Chi-Com prefer head-on engagements; all others prefer side-on
  • Capital Spacecraft vs Aerospace: USA, TFR, MF and CNB are orbital only, except cutters or patrol craft; all others are re-entry capable
  • Warships: USA, MF, CNB, ARS and ChiCom use full-size carriers; OKUand RPI use squadron carriers; UKT has no dedicated carrier, all capitals carry fighter complement; Kya have no dedicated carrier; TFR uses battlecarriers, no battleships; USA has one battlecarrier
  • Undetectables (Submarines): Composed of exclusively non-ferrous metals and composites (reducing the magnetic signature), have advanced emission cloaking systems, chameleon skin coverings, and are geared to run for long periods without artificial gravity. Chi pioneered this type of vehicle. Terrans followed with their own, in response to the constant Tohre-Chi pirate threat. Undetectables are used only by Chi-Com and some Houses of the CHW.
  • Courier/Mail ships: Dedicated courier/mail vessels, if not part of an express "chain", typically carry extra Energy Banks, enough for more than one jump, to save layover time
  • Ownership: In OKU or ChiCom, military officers are "granted" a ship as a reward for service in a sort of co-ownership, position often may be bought. In Chi-Com, an individual may challenge the current owner-captain and win a ship by defeating him.
    • CHW: Corp (non-warships) or Gov't (warships), as per 17th cent. Captures property of Captain or Corp, depending on the contract, military captures always property of the military.
    • Kya: Corp/Civ, some small system defense craft owned by Gov't. Captures property of Captain or Corp sponsor, depending on contract.
    • RPI: All shipping owned and operated by the Spacing Guild. Captures property of the Guild.
    • OKU: Gov't, although a ship will typically stay within a particular family. Captures property of Gov't sponsor, often "given back" as a commendation.
    • TCC: Gov't. Captures considered property of Captain but pass on to Gov't when that Captain retires or dies.
  • Identification: Ozrahd do not name ships, although the CHW has "code" names for Ozrahdi warships, markings are individual, gaudy and generally change with ownership; ChiCom ships named after its captain, considered the same entity
  • Misc:
  • Ozrahd have perfected a thought-controlled steering system, Ref: Firefox. Must be able to think in Ozrahdi Common in order to use.


  • Cloning full bodies at force-growth speeds is unavailable, although individual organs may be grown at a somewhat accelerated rate, and full bodies may be grown at normal speed. Braintaping is unavailable.
  • The technology for cryonic suspension is widely available, but not widely used, due to an old pirate tactic of hitting a ship quickly before the ship's computers can wake everyone up, and in the OKU, an distrust of automation.
  • Cancer cure readily available
  • Spike: smoked (usu. combined with another smokable substance, hence the name) or taken orally, doses are ver small, very expensive, illegal in most GalNats as of 2248 (science prior to 2248 has yet to link AND to its use). Causes temporary sometimes-beneficial brain tumors (Ref: Phenomenon). Multiple doses at once (per dose) grant duration +100%, as well as increasing the HT penalty by -2. Unless otherwise specified by GM, latent abilities should total +50pts and psychosis should total -50pts.
    • Carbon Based: Causes euphoria, gives Enhanced Time Sense, must make HT-5 check, hallucinations or other weirdness on failure, psychosis on Crit Fail, latent abilities become active on Crit Succ, effects last HT-8 hrs (psychosis or latent abilities are permanent), very mentally addictive.
    • Silicon Based: Skin tingle, must make HT-4 check, ±1IQ per 2 succ/fail, awaken latent abilities on Crit Succ (Ver.Crit), permanent IQ loss on Crit Fail, effects last HT min
    • Phosphorous Based: No obvious effect, must make HT-3 check, ±1IQ and PR per 2 succ/fail, awakens latent abilities on Crit Succ (Ver.), stunned for duration on Crit Fail, effects last HTx3 min, rumored to cause severe psychosis and other health problems, but not scientifically proven
  • AND: A relatively new phenomenon, believed to be caused by long-term handling of raw silima, although studies are inconclusive and preventative measures have been little help. Early symptoms include shaking, paranoia and general craziness. Symptoms worsen quickly, usually resulting in victim "going postal." Most subjects die by violence before the full course of the disease is reached, aggravating research attempts. by 2248, it is known that AND is directly related to spike usage, resulting in the ban of the drug.
  • Phosphorous Pills: Dietary supplement for phosphorous-based organisms in lieu of a proper dietary source. Coated in a substance that prevents them from being ignited in contact with air. Ignite when smashed or broken open (and in contact with oxygen).

Technology, by GalNat (TL10):

Confederated Human Worlds(CHW) (Overall):

  • TL8/9 gear still more common than TL10

Federation of Rising Suns(FRS): TL10

  • Electronics generally 1-step better @$; photonics commonly available
United Kingdoms of the Tharê(UKT): TL10
  • Distinctive "chainsaw" monowire utility shortsword/cutlass in universal military use
  • Primary method of motive thrust in small and capital craft is the ForceCoil (Ref:Hovercraft “pads”-Matrix); generates velocity 360° along the edges. Does arc in most atmospheres, and does produce a kinetic wake.
  • Slugthrowers (inc. gauss) going out of style, becoming less common
  • Photonics replaces electronics
Præxiõn Empire(RPI): Respublicõ Præxiõ Imperatoriõs
  • Mostly Advanced: TL11 tech not readily available
  • Retarded (TL9) in a Science: Computers
  • Quantity over quality, military tends toward less expensive solutions
  • TL11 gear is widely available to special forces and such, considered "highly sensitive"
  • Primary method of motive thrust is the ForceSail (Ref:TIE panels); generates velocity in the forward along the edge (may be reversed). Does produce a kinetic wake, but does not arc in atmosphere. Considerably more efficient and damage resistant than Tharêan design, with a generally larger “sail” surface area.
  • Extensive use of 'droid troops
  • Slugthowers are primarily E-Therm type
Tohre-Chi Combine(TCC): TL10
  • Modern
  • Some experimental TL11 tech becoming available on a limited basis
  • Advanced (TL11) in a Science: Stealth (BT), Cybernetics (BT)
  • Retarded (TL9) in a Science: Computers
  • Retarded in an Art: All
  • Chi-made goods are always waterproof
  • Chi-built tech tends to be somewhat bulkier and uglier
  • Primary method of motive thrust is a variation on the ForceSail, using several large “flaps” hinged at the rear mounted at the ship’s stern, that vary their thrust generation through open flap angle (Ref:Vorlons). Does arc in most atmospheres, and does produce kinetic wake, although the external gravitic signature is generally much harder to detect.
  • Chi ship design is very stealthy; slick, low-profile for atmospheric/submersible craft (Ref:B-2). Hulls always made of EM absorbent material. Warships tend to have a patchwork look to them. All Chi ships are designed for head-on engagements. External weapons designed to be “tucked” to reduce signature. Atmospheric craft are designed to re-enter atmosphere/water in reverse.
  • Nearly all aerospace and air/watercraft are submersible
  • Waterproofing/hydrodynamics at 1/2 cost
  • Cyberwear cost is lowered 25%, obvious cyberwear availability increased by one step
  • Cryonics unavailable
  • Slugs are nearly exclusively liquid-propellant type
Ozrahdi-Kazha Union(OKU): TL11
  • Advanced: TL11 tech available, but TL10 still quite common
  • Advanced in an Art: Visual Arts
  • Advanced in a Science: Ergonomics (BT)
  • Retarded (TL9) in a Science: Computers, Robotics, General Automation
  • Quality over quantity, aesthetics and ergonomics over function
  • True automation is rare, no "automation" discount available.
  • Ozrahd export TL9-10 antiques at greatly exaggerated (as new) prices. Exports generally only sold to ARS or UKT reps
  • TL11 goods not for sale to outsiders, incurring extreme penalties for violators.
  • "Flamberge" force swords available, no extra effect, double cost
  • Force swords are toys for nobility and are in common, but not official use
  • Slugthrowers rare
  • Way too confident in shield technology
Kyahnt: TL10(early)
  • Slightly Retarded: TL10 tech not readily available
  • Military is fully TL10
  • Advanced in a Science: Magnetics (BT)
  • All magnetism-based products can be had at 1/2 cost or +50% effect
Makke: TL10(early)
  • Slightly Retarded: TL10 tech not readily available

Arrodi: TL5/9

  • Primitive
Voggor: TL3/9
  • Developing
Sk'ran: TL9
  • Bio-tech (Ref:HalfLife)
  • Ships are patchwork, merging available wrecks/captures with biological space-creatures; Ref:FFly-Reavers

Cultural Notes:

Universal Standards:

  • Hospitality tradition
  • Honor tradition
  • Constellations
  • Think their race is the center of the universe
  • Spirit world, demons
  • Std "right and wrong" beliefs
  • Craves freedom
  • Swords
  • Effective predators respected


  • Tohre-Chi, Ozrahd always attempt to scuttle a crippled ship, to avoid it's capture and subsequent study


  • Grav-Ball - zero G hockey/lacrosse/soccer
  • Yacht racing - Terra Cup, very small space yachts with no engines, only solar sails
  • Terran Olympics - held every 4 years on Terra, Summer at Greece, Winter at Anchorage, open only to humans. Neo-humans excluded.
  • Scavenger Black - Most popular group in Confederation, mixture of hip-hop, reggae, and metal with elements of blues & soul thrown in. You either love them, or you hate them. Rotating line-up; no one can stand lead vocalist for more than six months.
  • Art Fags everywhere consider Ozrahdi art to be the pinnacle of sentient artistic development.


  • The qeue back in style, almost universal with business-types, no powdered wigs though. Other 1700's influences can be seen in fashion.
  • A "suit" consists of a long waistcoat-type jacket, mid-thigh length, with cravat
  • Spacers can usually be identified by their wearing mag-boots
  • Flash Hazard; popular serial-vid character, a mix of Kirk and Crichton who does everything by the seat of his pants at insane risk...the epitome of better-lucky-than-good.
  • Chronicles of Riddick=long-standing Præxian myth


  • PChurch and UChurch long time rivals, at times openly hostile

Myth and Superstition:

  • Although noone knows for sure where the greys come from, they have been traced to a particular point in space within the "Grey Sector", from which explorers have never returned
  • Not uncommonly, spacers believe that the blackness outside during a jump can drive someone mad.
  • Some believe Dark Nebula to be sentient and malicious, or at least behave as if it is so


  • Banks and such will not risk electronic currency passed between worlds due to the ease of tampering. Cash only.
  • As humans spread out, accents became more distinguishable
  • Smoking in vogue (a la 20's-30's) due to readily available cancer cure.
  • Overweight people are not unusual, but truly obese are practically nonexistent, as obesity is easily fixed.
  • Prescription eyeglasses/contacts are practically nonexistent, as poor eyesight is easily fixed.

Political Notes:


  • Ref:Dune, CofRiddick
  • Ozrahd extensively use subjugated races in their bureaucracy: Von-Chaah as administrators, Boellann as entertainers (f) and security or hazmat(m), Pakzrüch as grunts/labor, Kazha as advisors, Stroggos as spies.
  • It is whispered that the Ozrahdi emperors do the bidding of a Kazha puppetmaster
  • OKU Skunk Works is working on an "instantaneous" FTL drive and is making significant progress
  • OKU scientists are obsessed with artificially developing Psi powers
  • "Lifelike" androids, regardless of apparent race, are LC-0 (quite illegal), due to past infiltrations
  • Psis are super-restricted
  • Ozrahd "worship" the Precursors, greys are "angel" messengers from the Precursors. Part of P-Church doctrine declares the Ozrahdi people to be the rightful rulers of the galaxy, called the Divine Right (=Monroe Doctrine)
  • Ozrahd, through PChurch influence, consider family to be of utmost importance, to include past family members. Everything is arranged by family. When someone gets a job, he gets it for the whole family. Areas are ruled by families, not just one member (although there is normally a single family leader). This is why PChurch is so influential in the FRS.


  • Ref:Mandalorians-KotOR
  • The CMI has no separate military branches
  • Used to use android-assassins against OKU and implicate the Tohre-Chi; has begun to use android spies in the CHW and Kyahnt systems


  • Ref:Mangalores-5thE, Necromongers-CoRiddick
  • Widely rumored that the Emminh-Rhi are the real leaders of the Chi-Com
  • Chi fear cryo-sleep, although Rhi may have their own pods on a Chi ship

The Confederacy:

  • Ref:EA-B5
  • Ship Names: (CSS) per B5; Greco-Roman historical/mythical heroes
  • Uniforms: Ref:NewBSG, w/ B5-type color scheme
  • Hanging has made a comeback as the primary method of execution.
  • General tendencies: Japanese=white collar, bureaucrats; Hispanics=blue collar, lower classes
  • FRS upper class is dominated by PChurch, lower classes by UChurch
  • Ship Names: Historical/mythical generals, historical/mythical heroes/figures, old-world places
  • Ship Names: per British tradition (HMS)
  • Uniforms: Ref:SW-Empire, w/ 17-1800's coat
  • Ship Names: per German tradition, with the addition of Arabic figures
  • Uniforms: Ref:SSTroopers
  • Ship Names: Ancient Civ Leaders, Ancient Sites, Countries/Capitals (TFS); Civ: (often) Explorers
  • Group of radical psis responsible for deaths of multiple gov't officials are to be put to death, defendants claim a "Star Chamber" of insane tepes is actually running the gov't
  • Uniforms, Ref:FFly-Alliance
  • Ref:Peacekeepers-FScape
  • Tharêan military rank by "Circle"
  • Lack of military funding has seriously hampered the Sk'ran operations in Aritchert and Netermest systems, officials scrambling to reallocate funds and 2 Pharoahs are openly suggesting appealing to the CHW council for aid
  • PChurch holds more influence here than UChurch, although the Old Gods trump them both.
  • Refer to the Kings as "Great House," and therefore refer to other political leadership/nat as "House [X]"; "house" reference has caught on with other CHW nats, through general cultural influence and via the Navigators
  • Ref:Firefly, 5thE
  • Ship Names: American Leaders/American war-sites (Ref:CMTM)/Cities-Planets-Regions; Ref:USNavy (USS)
  • Psi Guild petitioning Confederacy for additional legal rights and protections from various govts.
  • Mining Guild undergoing drastic leadership reshuffle
  • Acquired Neurological Disorder (AND) begins striking humans and neo-human, especially miners & anyone dealing with raw silima. [Fatal 70-85% of the time; not yet linked to raw silima but is caused by exposure to it. Causes victim to "go postal"
  • The reality of cyber-psychosis is still being hotly debated. Anti-cyber people are still pushing for controls, and eventually making it illegal. Cyber=guns
  • VR=alcohol/smoking?
  • Knives and shortswords common among spacers; more common combat knives tend to be a bit larger than TL8; shortswords are usually cutlass-type
  • Shotguns the more common slug weapon with spacers

The Kyahnt:

  • Largely privateer Navy, very few military-owned ships.
  • Mandatory 1-Kyr military service, can be easily avoided.
  • Kyahnt have been organizing the GPO to avoid being attacked by other nations. The wealth of the Kyahnt people is a prime target. The government is afraid of Ozrahdi lust for riches and conquest and and expects the Pax Præxi to break down at any time. Leaders have been repeatedly accused of selling their souls to the Terrans in exchange for protection. Most Kyahnt believe that the Terrans will not hold up their end when the time comes.