April 4th 2013
Hello, and welcome to the first installment of the Star Citizen’s Writer’s Guide. This is meant to be the beginning of a growing document to help aspiring writers conceive of stories that fit within the developing Star Citizen canon.
Before we begin, a few caveats:
a. Star Citizen is in its development process. We designed the fictional universe before the crowdfunding began. Now that the game’s construction is actually underway, we’re going to reserve the right to change the fiction to suit the game for mechanics, balance, etc. Now I doubt these changes will be massive (i.e. we won’t be suddenly introducing dragons in space), but just want to remind everyone that this still a work-in-progress.
b. No Spoilers. In most cases, writer guides/show bibles are meant to be almost academic blueprints of the mythos, not read for dramatic or entertainment purposes. Thusly, they pull the curtain back on all the mystery to show writers what makes the world tick to help them better conceive stories that fit within the rules and tone of the universe. As stated in caveat A, we’re still developing the universe so there are still decisions being made but also we want to create an experience for you, the fans, in the unveiling of information. So this document will grow and change, incorporating new facts after they are unveiled in the development process.
c. Not for Gameplay. This is strictly an explanation of the fiction around the game. While there will inevitably be aspects that cross over into the game design, this isn’t going to shed light on how to play the game.
Also, here’s how we’ll structure these installments:
- First we’ll kick off with Errata, addressing any lingering questions not covered in the previous week’s entry.
- Second, we’ll focus on an aspect of the universe (which will address comments/questions) first.
- At the end, we’ll address some specific fan questions that might not necessarily fall within the general topics.
Let’s get started, we’re going to start tackling the most developed aspect of the Star Citizen universe … us.
Here is a link to the Time Capsule entries, which attempt to contextualize each event in the time line:
The Timeline’s Intent
The original intent was to model humanity’s future society to the waning days of the Roman Empire, specifically that era where its resources were stretched too thin and a break was inevitable.
It was also important to avoid a moral clarity. We weren’t trying to build the Empire from Star Wars. This wasn’t meant to be a civilization that we wanted everyone to cheer for its demise. Ideally, reactions would be divided.
The Government Structure
Here’s a quick guide to the organization of the UEE
Counseled by the High-Secretary and High-Advocate, the Imperator is the figurehead of the government, now bound to a single ten-year term limit.
Formed in 2523 when the United Nations of Earth transformed into the United Planets of Earth (UPE). The Advocacy was designed to be an inter-system police force under the High Advocate. During the fascist Messer Era, the Advocacy took on a darker role as the Imperator’s Secret Police, Intelligence, and Espionage agency. The extent of their actions are still unknown but Advocacy officials at the time were implicated in high-profile assassinations, the apprehension and torture of non-compliant elements in the populace, and propaganda mongers.
When the Imperator fell, they were reconstituted to their original purpose. While most planets were expected to police themselves, the Advocacy handled crimes that crossed planets and systems, fugitives and even extra-jurisdictional extractions (pursuit into Banu or Xi’An territory). Advocacy Agents are generally feared among the criminal community. They are well-trained in pursuit and apprehension techniques, equal parts hotshot pilot and thorough investigator. Most Advocacy Agents operate alone but teams of them can be dispatched for high-profile targets or situations of implied violence. The real danger of the Advocacy Agent is what they represent. A criminal could kill a cop and could probably kill an Agent under good circumstances… but they will just send another and another until they ghost him.
While the Advocacy does handle fugitives, they have been known to outsource to the Bounty Hunter Guild.
If the Navy are the guardian angels and the Marines are the swords of righteousness, the UEE Army is the mortar that holds the civilization together. An ultra-mechanized ground force, the Army is responsible for land-based military operations and keeps a watchful eye over primitive species on developing worlds. While it doesn’t have the numbers of the Navy, the UEE Army is the oldest established branch of the military, founded in 2380 as part of the creation of the United Nations of Earth.
The primary mission of the army is “to fight and win our Empire’s wars by providing prompt, sustained land dominance across the full range of military operations and spectrum of conflict in support of combatant commanders.”
While the public has been enamored by mighty carriers and hotshot pilots of the Navy for the past few centuries, the UEE Army managed to briefly seize the public consciousness during the first Tevarin War where just as many battles took place across shattered landscapes than did in space. Specifically, the Battle of Idris IV which became the largest turning point in the War both strategically and to the public, thanks to the brilliant tactics of a young officer named Ivar Messer.
First responders. The Shock Troops. The howl of their drop-pods (nicknamed: Nails) screaming through atmo is a singularly unique and terrifying noise. There isn’t a combat zone hot enough to scare off a battle-hardened marine.
The Marines were initially kept under the umbrella of the Army’s command structure, they weren’t officially separated and formed as their own division until the end of the First Tevarin War. A noteworthy 2558 Quantum Obelisk Computer analysis of infantry actions during the conflict resulted in a flurry of changes to organization and tactics, chief among them the need to disassociate the ASO (Marines) from the Army’s command hierarchy, and in 2560, the UEE Marines were established as their own military branch. Their focus and primary application became planetary invasion. Marine units are specialized to be weapons of warfare, nothing more. They don’t handle diplomatic escorts or pull guard duty, they dust things. When the Imperator doesn’t need them, the Marines sequester themselves to their planet-bases on Corin (Kilian System) and train for the next conflict that will require their services.
Marine-Candidates are selected from the general pool of Army and Navy recruits. The criterion for selection is unknown and inconsistent at best. Some speculate that it is intentional to cement the fact that you don’t apply to be a Marine.
The largest branch and public face of the UEE military. The Navy is responsible for transportation of military resources, maintaining the borders and waging military strikes throughout the UEE. Service members of the Navy are deployed in nearly every system of the empire. In the early days of humanity’s expansion into space, the unified Navy primarily served as a police force, patrolling the systems for damaged or broken down ships. Upon the discovery of the Banu, the government realized that the Navy needed to be re-purposed as a military presence. The Navy’s fleet began to swell as it was the most obvious visual representation of humanity’s military strength.
Fueled by the never-ending stream of stories and Vids of daring pilots, recruits flocked to the Navy’s stations to sign up. Even before the Draft of the First Tevarin War, the Navy’s enlistment numbers had barely dipped. During the Messer Era, the Navy, along with the rest of the UEE military, grew at an exponential rate. Helping in the Imperator’s mad dash for planets and systems.
Structurally, the UEE Navy is formed around Squadrons which are assigned a carrier and a fluctuating number of support ships. An Admiral is in charge of the carrier and squadron with Wing Commanders running the multiple Wings that operate at any given time.
Recruits train in the shadows of the massive shipyards at the academies and boot camps on MacArthur in the Kilian Systems.
THE SENATE (How that works)
The Senate is comprised of senators. Thank you. We came up with that one. Moving on …
So there are a lot of systems under UEE control. Each system is comprised of a handful of planets; some are terraformed for settling, some for resources and some are useless rocks.
When a planet reaches a certain population size or ascends to a certain level of influence (provides a unique and valuable ore for example), it can petition for recognition by the government (like achieving statehood). If successful, the planet is allowed to elect a Citizen to act as their representative in the Senate on Earth. This Senator serves for five years and can serve multiple terms. Only the largest and most influential planets have multiple Senators (Earth having the most at five).
The Banu’s primary business is trade. It saturates their society. Everything comes at a price, everything can be bought.
Xi’An Empire: Formerly hostile but friendlier now. The UEE has made great strides to try and reconnect with the Xi’An after the tension of the Messer Era (comparable to the United States’ Cold War with the Soviet Union (they were the boogeymen)). As such, the UEE endorses healthy trade across the borders. But old habits die hard, while the UEE is diplomatically friendly, the Xi’An are a heavily armed and organized civilization with long lifespans, we aren’t going to abandon our defenses.
Vanduul: We don’t. Humanity’s entire relationship with the Vanduul has been mired in blood. They have never attempted to contact the UEE in any capacity. The Vanduul themselves are nomadic with fierce infighting between the various enclaves so there isn’t a consolidated government to make peace or war with.
Every so often, a Senator or Diplomat will attempt to “reach out” to the Vanduul. If they’re lucky they can’t find any.
Most politicians just regard the entire Vanduul species as a violent act of nature. They’re just a certainty, like death and taxes. An ugly reality of space.
Kr’Thak: Their existence was only discovered recently. The closest Kr’Thak controlled system lies on the other side of Xi’An Empire. We know very little about them, the Xi’An weren’t keen to share as the two civilizations have unresolved tension, spawning from a multi-century conflict called the Spirit Wars.
The government has not made formal contact with the Kr’Thak as they are afraid it will unsettle relations with the Xi’An. That being said, there are undoubtedly plans of a more covert nature being tossed around but nothing has been attempted as the Xi’An guard their borders with the Kr’Thak with ruthless efficiency.
The early UPE was mired deep in the bureaucracy side, capitalizing on that public disgust with political stagnation was how Ivar Messer was able to consolidate power. Under the Messer Era, the UEE then swung too far in the opposite direction, becoming the stereotypical ruthless fascist government that seized land, power, and might.
When the Messer Era collapsed the UEE swung back and by the game start has ultimately settled in the middle. The government became fixated on making amends for the awfulness it committed for hundreds of years. The UEE now is a mixture of everything. There are good people doing good things, bad people doing bad things and every combination in between. There are seasoned politicos, idealist do-gooders, the palm-greasers, and crusaders.
So, to use an acting term, the UEE’s motivation is to make amends. Most of its behavior (from the Ark to the Synthworld) are simply extensions of that need. It’s trying (too hard according to some) to appear progressive and totally not evil any more. Seriously, we’re really sorry about that and we’re better, trust us. Joking aside, the UEE is not insincere about this sentiment. It just might be going a little overboard.
Due to the financial strain on the UEE, the unofficial motto for government & military operations has become “do more with less,” which creates an environment for corruption to flourish.
It’s also important to reiterate that diversity is good. This is not a simple black-or-white government (i.e. Empire = evil, Rebel Alliance = good). There are all types operating in every facet and on every level of the SC Universe. So, odds are, there’s a place for whatever kind of character you’re creating.
Q: Are the Dispatch Stories (Cal Mason, Kid Crimson, Tonya Oriel, and future ones) actual events in the Star Citizen universe or in-universe fictional characters/events? i.e. Can I get Janus?
A: These stories are fictionalized accounts of actual people. Yes, you can try and track Kid Crimson, or maybe even serve with Cal Mason. How much of the stories are real? That’s up for you to find out. Is there a copy of Janus? The back-up copy stolen from the Nebula Bank was destroyed with the Beacon II. As for the copy that Tonya raised … if you track her down, feel free to ask her.
From Kinshadow, Gater:
Q: Paraphrased but how long will it take to travel through systems?
A: This is an engine-question and unfortunately I don’t have the answer to it. It will be determined when the systems are constructed and tested to find the best balance between scale and the demands of the engine/number of players.