Monday, July 16, 2012


Nova Bombs, Singularity Missiles, Atmosphere Burners, Nanoplague Cluster Bombs, Orbital Mass Driver Strikes, Good Old Fashioned Nukes. All of these weapons of mass destruction have been banned by numerous civilizations, including the empire. But not Excommunication.

Some weapons aren't really weapons. The empire doesn't even admit that it has Excommunication technology. The fact that hundreds of systems within the empire have simply disappeared is blamed on a terrible external enemy. A ruthless, inexplicable alien force. One that justifies all of the repressive security measures that the empire practices.
Excommunication requires the presence of six Hierophant-class Battle Carriers. And the Imperial Sovereign, because using this technology can only be potentiated by the presence of someone with the highest level Imperial Gene Marker. The six Battle Carriers assemble in diamond formation on the periphery of a system - usually outside the orbit of the system's furthest planet, but inside of the system's Oort Cloud.

Each vessel travels in stealth mode until it is in position. Once the vessels are in position, the Imperial Sovereign authorizes Excommunication from the helm of the flagship of the Battle Carrier formation. On each vessel, a device comes to life.

Excommunication Devices are reverse-engineered technology. First found by Maltruskan scientists in the Ancients' vast ruins beneath the surface of the imperial throne world of Amarna, these devices are believed to be related to the hyperspace suture technology that the Ancients used to create artificial slipknots between systems. Excommunication Devices do the reverse.

Once the devices are activated, the curvature of spacetime within the target system becomes precipitously more curved. Within a few hours, the system pinches off completely from our spacetime. The target solar system will then inhabit a starless pocket universe of its own.  
The spacetime distortion resulting from the use of this device is devastating for the worlds/systems targeted in this manner. On many such worlds, civilization collapses entirely. And Excommunication lasts a long time.


An Excommunication Device is Technology +4 in Diaspora, and the Legendary +8 Tech Level in Starblazer Adventures.

Once this kind of technology becomes widespread, a civilization is at extreme risk. For that matter, even the vessels using this technology are at great risk. They will take 2 Consequences immediately upon using the weapon, due to the spacetime distortions caused by Excommunication.

Excommunication adds the - for all intents and purposes - Permanent Aspect "Pocket Universe" to a system. Its physics will be different in subtle ways from normal space. Magic may work, some kinds of technology may not work, there may be strange alien intelligences (gods, demons) within the pocket universe.

The actual duration of any Excommunication is D100 x 10,000 years. After that time, systems should in theory return to normal space.


  1. That sounds great. Aside from the numerous scenarios of trying to use it (all of the background politicking that goes into it, etc) I immediately image running a game where one of these systems returns and the myriad ways that could go down.

  2. @ Robert: There are all sorts of opportunities there: cultural shock, political embarrassment, political crises, acts of revenge. And given the duration of Excommunications, one is quite likely to be surprised by the sudden reappearance of a system banished by a long forgotten civilization.

  3. Whoa. This is like a Dyson sphere that encompasses an entire system? Talk about harsh punishment.

  4. @SambearPoet: if a Dyson sphere were made of spacetime, that would be the general idea...

  5. The game world of Tekumel has a similar origin ... and in that setting there are 700+ worlds that disappeared into pocket universes.

  6. You are describing what occurred to the solar system of Tekumel, from M.A.R. Barker's "Empire of the Petal Throne." Not that might make for an interesting adventure: having Tekumel, with its myriad cultures/races/technologies/etc. reappear in Imperial Space, after its 10,000 year Excommunication.

  7. @Draqo: Yes this is very similar, although my understanding (which is pretty close to the source) is what happened to Tekumel was in fact the doing of another race. And more than 700 worlds were disappeared by that race in the same way Tekumel does. I love that world and game in it, but these days, I am equally interested in exploring what the other 700+ worlds trapped in pocket universes might look like.

  8. @LordDraco: The one time I spoke with the Professor, I was left with the very strong impression that he wanted visiting Tekumel to be a one way trip. That being said, it is also a fact that there are forces at work within Tekumel that are in active collaboration with entities from the former space empire. And scientists in the empire very much want their worlds back. I can imagine the fun times ahead should extremely conservative and hierarchical Tekumelani culture rejoin the equally hierarchical and rapacious Humanspace Alliance!