|The Star Queen Nebula|
Today is the 500th post at FATE SF. So perhaps it's not inopportune that this morning, as I was awakening from a good night's sleep - the third night in a row - I had a great idea for a new Fate setting: Adventures of the Ancient Star-Queens.
Long before our storied Empire, ages before the rise and welcome fall of Earth's wanton Star League, the Star-Queens explored the galaxy. From jeweled worlds scattered among the stars, the ancient Star-Queens sent out their Emissaries to visit other worlds. Some Emissaries established settlements, while others simply explored or traded. Many helped worlds end age-old strife, establish a lasting peace, or solve seemingly intractable problems.
Today, the Star-Queens and their Emissaries are best remembered in their epics and songs, still sung by their descendants on many worlds. Their traces can also be found in the gate-relics that once tied world-to-world, and by the rediscovery of their ancient star-vaults: the time lost treasuries still found in these latter times. They were great when we were naught but the distant potentialities of their own far flung Outreach.
-Saga of the Star Queens
The Setting: The game is set during humanity's ancient, first Diaspora. By unknown means, humans had been scattered among the stars long before the first generation ships set forth from Earth in the early days of the Star League. Many of these early societies were matriarchal, with communistic, socialist, or anarchistic leanings. A few -the Wolf-Queens - were authoritarian, mercenary, aggressive, or militaristic. In time, many of these worlds discovered how to visit other planets using gates, sorcery, or starships. The ancient Star-Queens sent out Emissaries to make contact with other peoples.
The Emissaries: Each group of Emissaries represents the Star-Queen of a particular world. Such teams are always led by a female, but typically include a mix of genders. Skill sets include diplomacy, trade, science, exploration/survival, and (an unfortunate reality) warriors. Many of the latter are warrior-scholars or poet-warriors (yes, the "bard" is a highly regarded archetype in this setting). Most Emissary groups also include a psion or sorcerer to open gateways between the worlds. As Emissaries have contacted other worlds, their teams grow to include beings of other species. (In fact, there is every reason to believe that some of the ancient Star-Queens were actually members of insect and reptilian species.)
Adventures: The emphasis is on exploration, discovery, diplomacy, and other forms of problem-solving, Empire-building isn't the norm among the Star-Queens, although there is some degree of competition among the Queens for fame and glory. Groups of Emissaries will be largely on their own. Back-up from the homeworld is infrequent, as operating gates requires significant expenditures of magical energy. Emissaries must act on their own, and are expected to uphold the largely altruistic values of their homeworld.
Inspirations: The biggest one for me is Catherine Asaro's Skolian Empire series. We know that the original Ruby Dynasty was a star empire led by matriarchal warrior queens. Unlike the Star-Queens described above, the queens of the ancient Ruby Dynasty were imperialistic and given to a great deal of internecine rivalry. They also kept male harems. Some of the males in the harems were masters of a glass bead game (although remarkably the author told me she wasn't familiar with Herman Hesse's novel). The game helps the queens anticipate the moves of their rivals, as well as simulate and extrapolate a range of cultural and political contingencies.