Monday 25 September 2023

Four Civilizations of The Galactic Realm (And a Micro Review of GD20)

 I am currently working on a little sci fi thing called "The Galactic Realm of the Hyperspace Sea" for the GD20 Jam (run by the fine folks over at CSS). 

It's a galaxy where hyperspace travel is near instantaneous, but requires the presence of hyperspace seas - which works likes areas of ocean in our world, travel by boat is much quicker than travel by foot.  Space travel outside of hyperspace will be sublight speed, much slower, thus areas on "the coast" will be much more cosmopolitan/built up but prone to being attacked. Areas not on the coast are more disconnected from much of the events of the realm, enjoying the safety and isolation this brings but miss out on newer developments closer to the hyperspace seas. 

The plan is to have 10 space faring civilizations outlined, semi inspired by ancient earth civilizations, alongside 24 skills. I'll then map out the realm and this will represent the galactic realm in a peaceful/stable moment in history - from there I hope to run a domain game with each player in control of a civilization and we play through a few centuries of history to get a more chaotic/conflict riven setting (unless my players prove me wrong and somehow end up with universal peace).

I like GD20  because it seems to be the system that gets the absolute most bang out of each d20 dice rolls. The game is: Roll a d20 (adding an bonuses) and equal or beat a number. That's it! If its a dangerous action you are attempting you lose the amount of HP that you fail the roll by. Enemies "stats" are simply a target number you can either beat or lose to in a roll - either combatant losing the amount of HP they lost the contested roll by.  I love this for a play by post game, because you can extrapolate a lot of in game fiction from a single dice roll. My experience with play by post is that combat becomes INTERMINABLE very quickly, with GD20 this doesnt need to be the case - with a lot of importance sitting on a single dice roll things can move quicker. Even as I am writing this I am considering changing the combat system so all combats are resolved by a single roll. 

So with this kind of system I can just make up a bunch of weirdo sci fi skills, present them to the player, and we are good to go - which is what I plan to do! Maybe get involved in the GD20 to try out something different yourself:

Now, to the civilizations...

(They are presented in the following format if you want to make your own:

  • Name
  • Government. Culture. Religion. Entertainment. 
  • Architecture. Costume. Misc. Vehicle Design.
  • Background name (skill bonus) x 4 )    

Pantheonic Planetary States 

An alliance of self governed planets who all value the political agency of individual citizens. A culture of free thought, public debate and dramatic performances. The planetary states see themselves as subjects of and protected by a common pantheon of gods - an array of deities each with their own realm of control. These gods require ongoing sacrifices to remain content and appeased. Dramatic performances exploring metaphysics are the endemic form of entertainment. 

Aesthetics: White stone, columns, arches and domes, immense statues of gods in human form. Robes of flowing cloth. Vehicles are curved and plumed metals of orange and gold. 


  • Priest (Advantage to sacrifice magic) 
  • Sage (Advantage to philosophy) 
  • Academic (Advantage to encyclopedia)  
  • Councilor (Advantage to civics) 

Emperor's Peace 

An interstellar empire ruled by an emperor/empress elected by a council of military officers. A strict and rigid culture, devoted to both the edicts of the emperor and seeking glory through service to the empire. While a staggeringly wide range of deities are sacrificed to and worshiped within the empire, the deified emperors of the past are widely considered the most potent and powerful. Brutal gladiatorial matches, often to the death, are the endemic form of entertainment. 

Aesthetics: Black stone, columns, arches and domes - often spiked, immense statues of gods in human form. Robes of flowing cloth, hardened by pieces of spiked metal armour. Vehicles are curved and spiked metal of silver and red.


  • Centurion (Advantage to melee or ranged fighting) 
  • Officer (Advantage to civics) 
  • Fabricator (Advantage to engineering)
  • Priest (Advantage to sacrifice magic)

Empire of The Solar Dynasty 

An interstellar empire ruled by a semi deified family. While positions of symbolic power are only ever granted to those of the line of the Solar Dynasty an immense meritocratic bureaucracy ensures the empire is impeccably well managed. Shrines devoted to the solar family are ever-present, as is a steadfast devotion to one's own family - living and dead. Intimate and private poetry readings and musical performance are the endemic form of entertainment.     

Aesthetics: Green stone pagodas, ornate golden eaves, solar iconography and enshrined portraits. Silken suits with long skirts for pants. Vehicles of red, gold and green metals given the visage of flying lizards and birds.  


  • Solar servant (Advantage to civics) 
  • Solar ethicist (Advantage to philosophy) 
  • Industrial artisan (Advantage to engineering) 
  • Trade captain (Advantage to economics) 

Clans of the Outer Spheres

A loose confederacy of self governed planets, linked in a shared belief that the planetary body itself is ruler and owner of the peoples that inhabit it. In reverence to their planet, Outer Sphere clan worlds are sparsely populated. From each major group within this population a representative is sent to a low orbit space station. Here the Council of World Speakers interprets communications from the planet and canonizes them into edicts to be followed by those living below. Tranquil appreciation of the god planet's beauty and highly ritualized dance are the endemic forms of entertainment. 

Aesthetics: Structures that appear to be part of the natural landscape, sculpted tree and stone. Near nudity in warmer climates, wrapped in barely tailored skins and furs in colder ones. Vehicles of unfinished metal in hues of natural ore, shaped as simple ovals or spheres. 


  • Warden (Advantage to terra magic) 
  • Gatherer (Advantage biogenering)  
  • Wanderer (Advantage to survival or terra navigation)
  • Hunter (Advantage to melee or ranged fighting)