“What do you know?” he would have asked me, and “What do you suspect?” – Robin Hobb, Assassin’s Apprentice
In preparation for some Last Parsec space opera, I have been rereading my SW Sci-Fi Companion and all the pieces of The Last Parsec I have, starting with politics; and I have some suspicions.
I know that the United Confederation’s troops use the basic Soldier/Marine and Starship Crew profiles (SFC p. 74). I know that those templates are probably human (SFC p. 66) because they have no racial abilities. So, I suspect that the UC is human-dominated.
I know that the Tazanian racial enemy is the largest organised opposition in the setting (SFC p. 73). I know that there are only three “empires” mentioned in the SFC (pp. 72-74); the Rigellian Slave Fleet, the Tazanian Empire, and the United Confederation. I know that the Rigellians are wanderers from a distant, long-lost system (SFC p. 72), that the UC has dozens or hundreds of member worlds, and that the Tazanian Empire has thousands of conquered planets (TLP Primer, p. 10) and a policy of militaristic expansion (SFC p. 73). So, I suspect that the Tazanian racial enemy is humans, and the UC was originally a defensive alliance intended to fend off Tazanian aggression.
I know that the Rigellians are slavers, selling captives to unscrupulous empires (SFC p. 72). I know that subject races on Tazanian worlds toil beneath the lash of their overseers (TLP Primer p. 10). So, I suspect that the Tazanians are some of the Rigellians’ biggest customers.
I know that JumpCorp is a galaxy-spanning corporation, big enough and influential enough that its company scrip is the de facto interstellar currency (TLP Primer, p. 4). So, I suspect one of the themes of the setting is a futuristic reflection of the contemporary tension between nation-states and large corporations.
Already, I can see that my Last Parsec campaign is likely to diverge from the official setting, which is disappointing. This gives me several options:
- Wait for Pinnacle’s future TLP products to resolve my questions. Who knows when that might happen, or if I will like the answer?
- Build a TLP campaign based on my suspicions, and retcon it later as and if those are contradicted; or more likely not, because my players are unlikely to have enough TLP products to spot the join.
- Build a campaign which sidesteps these issues entirely by not using the Tazanian Empire, for example by using one of the plot point campaign books.
- Scrap TLP completely and drive on.
I shall reflect on all this, and pursue other interests for a while. There’s no point investing a lot of effort in this campaign only to delete it later.
“We demand rigidly-defined areas of doubt and uncertainty!” – Douglas Adams, The Hitch-Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy