Dark Nebula–December 3200

For my first five-day blitz, I’m retconning the Dark Nebula faction turns up to April 3201. Let’s begin with the status at December 3200, just before the campaign begins.


I spent a long time trying to work out what would be the optimum thing for each faction to do strategically, then decided I was overthinking it; it’s only supposed to take 15 minutes at the end of each session, not the days I’ve been spending on it. What actually matters is that what the factions do makes sense in the context of what the PCs already know.

Established continuity for the Dark Nebula as known to the crew of the Collateral Damage is:

  • The Great Archive and Mizah Combine build Surveyors in January, send them to Kov in February, and establish Bases of Influence there in March.
  • The Solomani Confederation is at war with the “space bugs”, whoever or whatever they are. So that this action stays on the map, I have relocated the bugs from their former position beyond Simba to Karpos, which may be their homeworld or just an outpost. (The bugs, incidentally, are inspired by  Peter Watts’ novel Blindsight and a little-known short story by James Blish called This Earth of Hours.)
  • The Aslan Hierate is a feudal, expansionist and militaristic state. The Solomani Confederation is in an essentially defensive stance against the Hierate, as it wishes to avoid a war on two fronts (and the bureaucracy can’t make its mind up what to do).
  • There are two major trade routes, as shown in previous posts, and two minor routes.


  • Aslan Hierate: Seize control of every system on the map from the spineless weaklings who currently hold them.
  • Great Archive: Peaceful uplift of every inhabited system on the map, culminating in a sector full of harmony, with crystal spires and togas for all.
  • Mizah Combine: Make tons of money. No, seriously, that’s all they want.
  • Solomani Confederation: Re-establish the Terran Mandate, this time under Maadin’s control of course. However, they will need to stop bickering over how to do that before they start in earnest.


December 3200

This map shows the situation just before the game begins. Assets are colour-coded to show ownership; red for the Aslan Hierate, blue for the Solomani Confederation, green for the Great Archive of Mizah and yellow for the Mizah Combine. Squares show who has the Planetary Government tag; Bases of Influence are triangles labelled with their current hit points; other assets are circles labelled with an abbreviation to show what they are, you should be able to work that out.


What I’ve done here is to import version 9 of the sector map into Hexographer, and then blow it up so that there are seven smaller hexes inside each of the ones on the grid. (I should see if I can resurrect the map of the Dread Sea Dominions with all the adventures marked on it using a similar technique. Maybe later.)

Aslan Hierate

The Hierate has the Planetary Government tag for, and full-strength (24 hit points) Bases of Influence on, every primary and secondary system in the Aslanic Hierate. It has an income of 6 FacCreds per turn. It will begin by gaining control of Moralon.

  • Kuzu: Planetary Defences, Tripwire Cells, Pretech Manufactory. These are the reason why Kuzu is a Hegemon and the units tasked with defending it.
  • Panas: Space Marines, Extended Theatre, Blockade Fleet, Shipping Combine, Cyberninjas. These are at a jumping-off point for controlling the sector, except for the Shipping Combine, which ought to be as close to the centre of the U-Route as it can get and still be inside the Hierate.

The Blockade Fleet is a bit of a liability, given the lack of spike-1 routes on the map, and is likely to be sold off or refitted in short order.


Great Archive

The Great Archive has the Planetary Government tag for Mizah, and a full-strength Base of Influence (14 hit points, as it is a lesser faction). All its assets are on Mizah. It wants to establish Bases of Influence (subordinate, missionary Archives) on every inhabited world in the Fastnesses, and pass on all the Mandate knowledge it considers suitable; that will employ it gainfully for roughly a year. Its monthly income is 5 FacCreds.

Mizah Combine

The Combine is unique in not having a Planetary Government tag, but it does have a Base of Influence on Mizah (14 hit points). All its assets begin on Mizah, and its monthly income is 5 FacCreds. It will begin by establishing Bases of Influence on all the worlds of the Triskelion Route, that being the main trade route in the region. That’ll keep it busy for about a year and a half.

Solomani Confederation

The Confederation has the Planetary Government tag for, and full-strength (24 hit points) Bases of Influence on, every primary and secondary system in the Solomani Confederation. It has an income of 6 FacCreds per turn. Confed needs to establish defensive phase lines along the invasion routes from the Hierate and the space bugs; that initially means Bases of Influence on Hasara, Tangga and Kov in the Fastnesses, and Salan, Changa and Irbev in Vecinos.

  • Maadin: Planetary Defences, Tripwire Cells, Pretech Manufactory; same reasoning as the Hierate.
  • Gazzain: Shipping Combine (it’s the central node of the Triskelion Route, which is the main trade route on the right side of the map); Blockade Fleet (established in series continuity).
  • Icat: Cyberninjas (probably where they are made).
  • Kamat: Extended Theatre, Space Marines (defending against potential bug invasion – established in series continuity).

Again, the Blockade Fleet is a bit of a white elephant unless it can move into the Fastnesses, which it can’t.



It was only when I drew this on a map that I realised how busy Mizah is, and how many Shipping Combines there are knocking around.

Concerning Factions

As a boy, my imagination was fired by Wily Odysseus, king of Ithaca; I imagined him as a leader of a mighty army. Now that I have seen Ithaca and realise that it is less than 50 square miles in area with a population of about 3,000, and looked at Homer’s Catalogue of Ships rather than the watered-down version found in children’s books, I picture him as leading a dozen ships, each with about 50 rowers aboard; roughly a battalion, which in modern terms would make Odysseus a Lieutenant Colonel.

How is this relevant to Stars Without Number? In preparation for the retcon of the Dark Nebula campaign’s initial faction turns, I’ve been reading the densely-packed Factions chapter with the intention of getting things right this time (I’ve already tried several times before, both on- and off-stage). As a result I’ve discovered some fairly hefty limitations on what factions can and can’t do under the rules.


First, there is quite a severe limit on how many units a faction can have; no more of any type than its rating in that area. As an example, a Regional Hegemon is the most powerful faction in the basic rules, with an income of 6 FacCreds per turn, and ratings of Force 8, Cunning 5 and Wealth 7; it could have no more than 20 assets at a time, possibly bumping that up to 26 for short periods by spending its entire income on maintaining such extra units. Fortunately, Bases of Influence don’t count against that limit.

Second, moving units around is difficult and expensive. The only way to project naval power outside a cluster of worlds linked by spike-1 drills is to build a capital fleet; none of the logistical assets in the rules can carry Starship assets. The only way to transport Military units more than one hex is by using an Extended Theatre or Blockade Runner asset and paying FacCreds to do it; and since you only have a handful of units you have to think very carefully about how many non-combat Force assets you want. There are, however, a number of ways of moving Special Forces assets up to six hexes in a turn.

Third, while a FacCred for players is about Cr 100,000, a FacCred for a faction – which is more about logistical capability and political will than it is about hard cash – is more like several million. The smallest thing one could reasonably call a capital fleet would have half a dozen vessels including at least one battleship or carrier, and would weigh in at well over a hundred million credits; so its 40 FacCreds are roughly Cr 3,000,000 apiece. Using an exchange rate of one FacCred equals Cr 100,000 means a capital fleet would consist of a fighter squadron with nothing to carry it.


Pocket empires like Regional Hegemons will tend to form in clusters of worlds connected by spike-1 routes. One which does so will be able to control them more cheaply, and have more firepower available, than one which does not. One which builds a Capital Fleet or an Extended Theatre asset is signalling an intention to expand outside its home cluster.

Regional Hegemons which wish to expand can do so most effectively by sending Special Forces units to nearby worlds, creating a Base of Influence there, and then building new units at that Base of Influence; the cheapest way to do this is by building Surveyors, as they can move two hexes free of charge. Buying a BoI on a planet is therefore a potentially hostile act, as even the smallest one could spew out something nasty next turn and ruin your whole day; fortunately you don’t need permission from the local government to build one.

Conflict between Regional Hegemons is unlikely to be a mighty clash between giant battle fleets; it’s more probable that Special Forces troops and spies are inserted covertly to arm and train local malcontents, who then fight a proxy war on the Hegemon’s behalf.

If an interstellar hot war does break out, it moves slowly across gaps between clusters of worlds, because of the need to preposition Extended Theatre assets which then move other Military Units across those gaps.

This is all rather clever, actually, as it means the PCs matter at the faction level, however powerful the faction is. Even the biggest faction has only a handful of relatively small units, meaning that although the PCs can’t wipe out a planet of billions, they do stand a chance of thwarting its aims and possibly crippling its ability to project power. If they have a ship, as mine do, even a Regional Hegemon has need of such as they to transport its assets.

Concerning Free Traders

Almost all space opera RPGs have free traders, tramp freighters, trampers, call them what you will. They are a perfect excuse for PCs to roam the galaxy getting into trouble. What basis do they and their unusual names have in reality?


Commercial shipping is divided into liners (either passenger or freight), which have fixed schedules and published ports of call, and trampers, which don’t. Liners trade in futures, promising to deliver a cargo at a specific time for a price agreed in advance. Trampers work the spot market; they’ll take anything, anywhere, any time – but they charge a premium for that flexibility.

Some shipping lines have trampers in their fleet; these allow them to service a contract at a moment’s notice, and even in a down market, something is always needed urgently somewhere. The alternatives are to ignore those opportunities, or buy out existing contracts and reroute a liner.

Rather than work out the details of commodity trading in the Dark Nebula, I’ve ruled that liners ply the shortest routes between primary systems, but will not traverse a tertiary system. That means the main trade routes are the Triskelion Route, connecting Maadin, Mizah, Gazzain and Bulan, and the U-Route, connecting Vaxt, Kuzu, Valka and Godoro.

The Great Archive’s surveyors, arguably also liners of a sort, ply the Triangular Route (Mizah – Simba – Omaro) and the Hasara Chain (Mizah – Kov – Salia – Tangga – Hasara).

Notice that less than half of the sector’s planets are on regular trade routes, which emphasises the into-the-unknown freebooting style of trading that sits well with many players.


There are three roles to consider; the shipowner, the charterer, and the broker. The first owns the ship, the second charters it for a voyage, and the third provides cargoes for the other two; they meet physically or virtually in an exchange, where they have easy access to information on markets and ship availability. The broker then matches a cargo to available ships if he is working for a charterer, or a ship to available cargoes if he is working for a shipowner. Easily the biggest such facility in the Dark Nebula sector is the Erdemir Exchange on Mizah, though any world on the Triskelion Route or U-Route has some such facility.

Normally, a tramper is hired on a voyage contract, in which the shipowner provides a ship and crew, and the charterer(s) provide the cargo and the destinations; this is perfect for my PCs as they don’t need to worry about the actual trading, the broker does that for them – they just need to get to a specific port as soon as possible. There are also time charters, in which the charterer rents the ship, and it does what he says so long as he keeps paying the bills; and bareboat or demise charters, in which the shipowner provides an empty ship and the charterer does everything else – ownership may transfer to the charterer after some years, in which case it’s effectively a hire-purchase agreement. Arguably, the Type A Free Traders that Merchants can gain as a mustering-out benefit in Classic Traveller are demise charters.

Not strictly charters, but there are some people who take holidays on tramp freighters; people who like travelling on ships, but don’t mind where they’re going. They have their own cabins, eat with the crew and so on – Shepherd Book in Firefly is a good example of this kind of passenger.

Finally, the crew can indulge in speculative trade, which is what SF RPGs tend to focus on; in this case the crew act as their own brokers and effectively charter their own ship as well.


In the typical space opera setting, communication is limited to the speed of a ship, and access to information from another world is expensive and time-consuming, so ship names need to stand out – brokers and charterers who remember your ship’s name are more likely to contact you with more business. This was important historically, and even in the 21st century you can still find ships called things like Never on Sunday for the same reason.

Ship names may not, however, contain (or sound like) distress calls, racial or ethnic insults, obscenities or profanities. They must be no more than 33 characters long in the Latin alphabet, though they may include Roman or Arabic numerals. The name must be clearly printed on both sides of the bow, on the superstructure if any, and on the stern (where the home port must also be shown).

Military vessels tend to be named for martial virtues, places or famous people; sometimes there is a pattern to this, and sometimes not. Commercial ships are often given female names, possibly those of the shipowner’s wife, daughter, mistress or sovereign; trampers have been known to be named after "working girls" in their ports of call. Taking a leaf out of Iain M Banks’ books, in my campaign Mandate vessels have names chosen by their AIs, ranging from the humourous to the downright disturbing.

Ships may be renamed when sold, in which case their papers record them as (for example) "MT Mediterranean, ex-Exxon Valdez". Ship names are italicised in print.

A ship may have two names, one printed on the hull and another in the charter documentation, to meet particular legal or financial needs – this can happen if the ship has a "flag of convenience" or is owned by a shell corporation. Having two names is an indicator that the ship’s owner, or charterer, is trying to conceal their ownership or avoid troublesome regulations; some owners go so far as to have "bearer shares", which like bearer bonds, convey ownership on whoever physically has the document.

Imagine the fun you could have with that!

Now We All Have Turkish Names

Given that over 98% of the NPCs in the Dark Nebula campaign are going to be culturally Turkish, I’m going to need GM Resources of the kind that Stars Without Number lavishes on the GM using Arabic, Chinese, English, Indian, Japanese, Nigerian, Russian or Spanish cultures. So I spent a lazy Sunday morning pulling those together from the internet; the Turkish government have obligingly provided lists of their most popular given names and surnames online, and I’ve pulled a list of the 11th through 60th most populated cities for use as placenames, reasoning that the top ten would be too obvious and well-known.


Turkish names consist of a given name followed by a surname, either or both of which are also often meaningful words in Turkish. Given names are usually gender-specific, but may be unisex. Married women may use both their maiden surname and that of their husband.



Traditional Turkish cuisine is rich, savoury and colourful, relying on vegetables with small portions of lamb or mutton, usually roasted or grilled.  Fruit, fruit juices and yoghurt are common, as is honey, which appears in many desserts. Drinks are usually tea or water, with coffee less common than one might expect; although alcohol is theoretically forbidden on religious grounds, a minority drink beer, wine, or rakı, a diluted grape brandy flavoured with aniseed, with meals.


In cities, European or English styles prevail. A few women wear Arabic clothing, but more common are essentially European garments covered by a light topcoat and headscarf. In rural areas, men continue to wear European-style shirts and trousers, but women favour long-sleeved tops over bloomers or trousers.

Review: Fantasy Age

In the beginning was D&D, and D&D (eventually) begat D&D 3.5, and D&D 3.5 begat True20, and True20 begat Dragon Age, and Dragon Age begat Fantasy Age…

In a Nutshell: Basic, generic fantasy RPG rules aimed at new players and Game Masters; expect a range of settings (Titansgrave, Freeport, Blue Rose, etc) to follow. Requires only six-sided dice rather than the usual set of polyhedrons. 145 page PDF in my case, $16 at time of writing; lead designer Chris Pramas, published by Green Ronin.


Introduction (5 pages): Fantasy Age is very friendly to the new Game Master and new players. I won’t dwell on the contents because jaded grognards such as I (and, I suspect, most of you) already know what a roleplaying game is and how to play one. If you don’t, you could do worse than starting with this.

Character Creation (21 pages): This is familiar stuff if you have ever played anything D&D-like; choose a character concept, roll for abilities (9 of them), choose a race (there are 6, Tolkien’s usual suspects and a couple more), social class and background, and character class, pick starting equipment, calculate Defence (more on that later), choose a name, goals and character ties.

Now, I’m going to skip ahead here, because character generation makes more sense if you understand the game’s basic mechanic, which is this: When your character tries to do something, you roll three ordinary six-sided dice (one of them a different colour to the others, called the Stunt Die) and add the relevant attribute to your score; you can add +2 if you have a relevant focus – more on those later, but for now note that focuses don’t stack, you get either +2 or nothing. If the total meets or beats the target number set by the GM, you succeed. If you roll doubles, the score on the Stunt Die shows how many points you have for stunts – I’ll explain that in a minute. Back to Character Creation then…

Abilities (Strength, Intelligence etc) are determined by rolling 3d6 and looking up the result to give a value between -2 and +4. Races each give the PC a number of mandated benefits and two random ones, typically either a stat boost or a focus. Your background gives you another focus. Your class determines what armour and weapons you can use, how many hit points you have to start with, and class powers, which might be more focuses or talents; a talent unlocks a capability rather than giving a bonus on test rolls, for example an alchemist can create grenades.

As far as equipment goes, everybody gets a pack, a waterskin and some clothes, and weapons and armour determined by their character class. They get some money too, determined by dice rolls and their social class.

Goals and ties are pure roleplaying elements; what’s important to the PC, why they are adventuring, and how he or she knows the other PCs. These give no mechanical advantage or disadvantage, just story hooks.

Basic Rules (11 pages): I explained the core mechanic earlier, except for target numbers. These are set by the GM based on how hard the task is and the specific circumstances; in an opposed test, your target number is the other guy’s result. If you succeed, the Stunt Die shows how well you did – 1 means you only just made it, and 6 is flawless execution.

Combat follows the familiar pattern of roll for initiative, act in descending order of initiative, make either a major action and a minor action (including attacks) or two minor actions. Casting a spell might be major or minor, depending on the spell.

Your Defence is 10 + Dexterity + shield bonus, if you have a shield. This is the target number for anyone trying to hit you, with attacks being a normal attribute and focus roll. If they hit, they roll for damage, you deduct your armour value, and anything left over reduces your Health (hit points). At 0 Health you are dying, and have 2 + Constitution combat rounds to get healed, or else.

Combat stunts (bought with the points on the stunt die if you rolled doubles on your attack) include things like pushing the target around, disarming him, doing extra damage, bypassing armour, and moving yourself to the top of the initiative order. Like the random attribute generation, this simplifies and speeds up creating a PC, because instead of digesting pages of rules to work out how your character could (say) do extra damage and adjusting the build to do that, you just buy the effect of your choice on the fly whenever you get lucky enough. This is a very clever rule.

Character Options (13 pages): This covers talents and specialisations your PC can learn as he or she levels up. Talents are available to a character who meets the requirements for class and abilities, and as mentioned above unlock special capabilities; each talent can be taken up to three times, unlocking a different ability each time. Specialisations are more powerful and have a minimum level requirement as well.

Equipment (13 pages): Here are the usual suspects for ancient, mediaeval and renaissance armour, weapons, camping gear, clothing, and so on. Slightly unusual are the focuses and equipment for crafting in the videogame sense, building your own gear from animal parts and other things you find on your travels.

This chapter jarred a tiny bit; I know it’s aimed at beginners, but explaining to me that a skirt (for example) is "a loose garment worn around the waist and draping down to billow around the legs" is taking it further than strictly necessary.

The lists of trade goods and raw materials could be useful for unusual treasure items or actual trade. As well as the usual food and lodging prices, there are prices for things like furniture and crockery. So this is an unusually thorough equipment chapter, underlining the game’s focus on beginners.

Magic (11 pages): Magic is divided into 12 talents, which would be called schools of magic or subclasses in most games. A mage begins with the lowest level (Novice) in two magic talents, two spells for each talent (four in all), and 10 + Willpower + 1d6 magic points, which are expended to cast spells – casting is a normal ability test using Intelligence and any appropriate magic focus. Spellcasting has its own stunts as well, such as increasing spell duration or doing more damage.

Each arcane talent has four spells, for a total of 48 in the basic rules. Again, we see the game’s focus on supporting beginners by reducing the amount of stuff they need to know before making a decision; if you have the Fire arcane focus and advance it from level 1 (Novice) to level 2 (Journeyman), you unlock the Burning Shield spell, case closed.

Stunts (5 pages): The Basic Rules chapter explains combat stunts, and the Magic chapter explains spellcasting stunts, but there are more, and this is where you find them; specifically, exploration stunts and roleplaying stunts. Exploration stunts are useful when searching for things or getting into an advantageous position, while roleplaying stunts are about talking to NPCs and allow you to sway crowds, make a witty remark or insult, flirt and so on. These types of stunts give benefits which are less mechanical in nature, and more things that can be woven into the narrative or provide story hooks – enraging NPCs so that they storm out of the room, seducing an NPC, and so on will all have ongoing repercussions for good or ill.

The Game Master (14 pages): So far everything we have seen could be shared with the players, but now we move into the covert realm of the game master. Again, this is aimed at a novice, with a series of short paragraphs explaining what the GM does and advice on how to do it; running a session, creating an adventure or a campaign, play styles, handling problem players, things to do or to avoid. There’s nothing new for veteran GMs, but if you are just starting out this is solid stuff.

Mastering the Rules (7 pages): While the previous chapter was about how to be a GM in general, this one gives advice specific to Fantasy Age; how to decide which abilities and focuses are relevant, what target numbers to set, major and minor NPCs, considerations in combat, handling hazards like fires and traps, that kind of thing. Again, nothing a grognard wouldn’t be able to figure out for themselves, but things that a novice GM might want help with.

Adversaries (12 pages): Here we have some 16 NPCs and monsters, with advice on how many to throw at the PCs, how to make them tougher if you need to, and what special abilities they might have. You’ve got everything you need to do Lord of the Rings or Conan, and probably Dragon Age as well (though I never finished that, so I’m guessing here).

Rewards (7 pages): The GM is offered a choice between rewarding the PCs by advancing them a whole level when they do something worthy of that, or awarding experience points and levelling up when they accumulate enough. New levels bring the PCs more hit points, focuses, talents, specialisations and in the case of spellcasters more magic points as well. Additionally, the PCs can be rewarded with treasure, there being six levels of treasure hoard to be found. Finally, PCs can acquire magic items, ranging from the common (might be for sale, fairly easily acquired, typically give a temporary effect – potions or similar) to the legendary (unique items worth a king’s ransom, consider yourself lucky if you find even one in a character’s career). A magic item might give you a bonus on some ability, weapon damage or armour rating; let you perform a specific stunt for fewer points, grant you immunity to a specific effect, and so forth; example items are given.

The Campaign Setting (6 pages): This being a generic rules set, there is no default setting specified. Instead, this chapter speaks to whether you might want to use a published setting, something based on real world history or a fictional world, or one of your own devising, then follows up with best practice on building a world from scratch. So again, nothing revolutionary here, just a solid explanation of the basics for someone new to the hobby.

Adventures in Highfalls Swale (12 pages): Here is a small, portable setting – a single valley with lakes, rivers, woods and villages – and an initial adventure, in which the PCs take part in a coming-of-age ritual involving camping out overnight on an island formerly occupied by a sorceress. What could possibly go wrong?

…and we close with a glossary, an index, and the obligatory character sheet. Which has a typo on it ("Interlligence").


Two-column black serif type on a white background, restrained use of colour, full-colour illustrations every couple of pages. Simple, straightforward, gets the job done.


There are a few things that would be nice extras. Layers in the PDF, making it more printer-friendly; some pre-generated characters for various classes maybe (although the rules are so simple one could argue they are not necessary); a few more monsters.


This is a good introduction to roleplaying for the neophyte, and a perfectly viable fantasy RPG for the experienced player. If my grandchildren were old enough to start playing, I might well this use to entice them in.

I was hoping it might be simpler and faster in play even than Savage Worlds; but I don’t think it is, as near as I can tell without playing it for a while. It has hit points, which in my opinion do slow things down. It isn’t simpler than SW, but it feels more mechanically consistent – some of my players have problems with the Wild Die in SW even after five years’ play which I don’t think they would have with the FA Stunt Die.

Overall Rating: 4 out of 5. This is tempting enough for me to try it at some point, but not tempting enough for me to drop my current campaign(s) in its favour.

Culture, Government and Law

As the PCs charge about my little sandbox, I need to tell them about the local official language, government, and laws (oh all right then, weapons restrictions). As usual in such situations, I use the contemporary real world as a template. Is that accurate? Who knows. Does it give answers which are intuitively familiar to the players? Probably. Is it fast and easy? Oh yes.

For the most part, it’s clear which present-day nation I should use as an example for each of the cultures in the Stars Without Number rulebook; for English I selected the UK based on the cuisine described, and for Arabic I chose Egypt as it has the biggest population among Arabic-speaking countries and influences many of the others.

Then I added Turkish to the mix because many of the worlds in my Dark Nebula campaign turned out to be Turkish. You’ll see a Turkish cultural writeup along SWN lines shortly.


Government: The notes in parenthesis after the government description are the SWN Core Edition government type (the word) and the Classic Traveller government type (the number or letter).

Weapons Restrictions: Legal weapons usually require a licence which depends on passing background checks and possibly other tests, and takes weeks or longer to get. Unlawful possession of weapons is generally punished by years to decades in prison, possibly with a fine as well; Egypt might let you off with a month in jail, China might execute you. (“Rifles” in this context means hunting or sporting weapons, not semi-auto battle rifles. Nice try.) The number in parenthesis after the weapons restrictions is the Classic Traveller law level.


Template: Arab Republic of Egypt. Official Language: Arabic. Government: Republic (Republic, 4). Weapons Restrictions: Handguns permitted (7, sort of).


Template: People’s Republic of China. Official Language: Mandarin. Government: Communist state (Oligarchy or Theocracy? C or D?). Weapons Restrictions: No firearms permitted (7).


Template: United Kingdom. Official Language: English. Government: Constitutional monarchy (Republic, 4). Weapons Restrictions: Rifles and shotguns permitted (5).


Template: Republic of India. Official Languages: English, Hindi. Government: Federal republic (Republic, 4). Weapons Restrictions: Rifles, shotguns, handguns and semi-auto assault weapons permitted (3).


Template: State of Japan. Official Language: Japanese. Government: Parliamentary with constitutional monarchy (Republic, 4). Weapons Restrictions: All firearms and swords prohibited (8).


Template: Federal Republic of Nigeria. Official Language: English. Government: Federal republic (Republic, 4). Weapons Restrictions: Rifles and shotguns permitted (5).


Template: Russian Federation. Official Language: Russian. Government: Federation(Oligarchy? 7?). Weapons Restrictions: Rifles and shotguns permitted (5).


Template: Kingdom of Spain. Official Language: Spanish. Government: Parliamentary monarchy (Republic, 4). Weapons Restrictions: Rifles and shotguns permitted (5).


Template: Republic of Turkey. Official Language: Turkish. Government: Republican parliamentary democracy (Republic, 4). Weapons Restrictions: Rifles, shotguns and handguns permitted (4).


All PCs speak English for a reason. It’s an official language for three of the eight basic cultures in SWN, in the case of Nigeria and India because they have literally hundreds of languages and dialects each, and you need some sort of official language.

Not only is the representative democracy the default and most intuitive option for a planetary government, it’s also the commonest type among SWN cultures; except for the PRC and the Russian Federation, all of them have some form of it.

If you have no special plans for a world’s weapons restrictions, you won’t go far wrong by assuming that all firearms are prohibited except for shotguns and hunting rifles, which require a licence, and attract unwelcome attention from local law enforcement in urban areas.