Once upon a time, there was an enormous world, shaped like a ring, built around a sun. It was a masterpiece of design and engineering, created by the forefathers of the Astraterrans of today – the Ancestors. It was a paradise, where folk of every nation and species lived together, not knowing sickness, old age, or evil. But then, the worst disease of all took root among the Ancestors – pride. Pride led to arrogance, and arrogance led to conflict. The conflicts divided the Ancestors into factions, and finally broke out into open warfare. It did not end until the mighty ringworld had been shattered.
Some of the pieces of the shattered ring settled in an orbit around the Sun, today forming the area known as the Belt. The rest of them started a slow descent into the star, and these form the still-inhabited Spiral, the dangerous Tempest, and the sun-baked Vortex.
Over the centuries, three great countries arose in Astraterra, now ruling most of the Belt and the Spiral: the Kingdom of Escalon, the Malorian Empire, and the Arcadian Dynasties. Escalon has long been the largest of the three, but the ever-expanding and quickly industrializing Malorian Empire has begun to challenge it as the dominant power of Astraterra.
For a long time, sunsailing ships were the only way to travel between the islands of Astraterra, but since the fargate network has been reactivated, they have also been taken into use. Fargates connect to other fargates and can be used to travel from one side of the Belt to the opposite, in the blink of an eye. Many fargate connections lead to forgotten corners of Astraterra, and expeditions of courageous heroes are dispatched to investigate them.
Conveniently, the player characters happen to be bold and adventurous enough to become teleport explorers.
The player characters are treasure hunters and adventurers who have taken the challenge to explore the teleport routes built by the Ancestors ages ago. The players can make up their own explorer from two main components: species and role. There are four major civilized species in Astraterra: Humans, Cavens, Chimeras and Solars.
- Humans are the most widespread species in Astraterra. They are considered to be very tough and resourceful folk.
- Cavens are short and stocky creatures with strong limbs. They somewhat resemble turtles without the shell. Cavens live in underground cities and are excellent craftsmen.
- Chimeras are the most varied species of Astraterra. Actually Chimeras are a whole range of different human-animal hybrid species. Chimeras have very keen senses of smell and hearing.
- Gnolves are small humanoids with long noses and a knack for alchemy, cooking and tinkering. They do not have many permanent settlements as they lead a traveling lifestyle. They wander around Astraterra in airship flotillas that are easily recognized from their colorful solar sails and eccentric design.
- Solars are a proud humanoid species who live in wandering fleets. Solars have a very slender build with fairy-like features and they have wings.
- Synthroids are artificial creatures that resemble animatons in many ways, but are built to closely resemble humans. All the synthroids are built by the Ancestors, but most of them were in long hibernation and woke up just recently without any recollection of the events prior to their re-activation.
In addition to their species each player gets to choose a role for their hero from four different choices:
- Daredevils are the bold scouts and pathfinders of the expeditions.
- Doctors are the learned scientists and investigators contributing to the expedition with their intellect and vast knowledge.
- Shadows are explorers who specialize in infiltration, subterfuge and disguises. They can be valuable thie… ehm, scouts or negotiators.
- Starknights are the protectors of the expeditions. Starknights are wandering peacekeepers trained in the arts of combat and diplomacy.
- Mechanics take care of the expeditions’ equipment, and understand the Ancestor machines and devices better than others.
- Vagabonds excel in survival and wilderness lore, but they also archive and share information about the Ancestors with each other.