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Orion's Arm setting in a nutshell.

Orion's Arm is a complete genre in the making, an interactive hard science space opera, a joint effort in science fiction worldbuilding, a forum for cutting edge science fiction ideas, a way of exploring a possible future that is at once alien and yet familiar, and terrifyingly possible. Here you have the opportunity to explore a vast universe - to contribute your own ideas and input, to create an entire new way of seeing things.

Because this project is still under construction, and has already gone through several revisions, and because of the vastness, fluidity, and ability of the Orion's Arm scenario to incorporate and assimilate new ideas, there is plenty of opportunity to insert even the most radical and diverse themes and ideas, as long as they fit in with the basic premise of this setting.

Orion's Arm.

The Future is not here yet.

But don't worry....

It will be....

Because the Orion's Arm universe is so big and it is a nuisance to have to wade through pages and pages of introduction This page was inspired by (and shameless plagiarized some elements of ) A few facts (from the Banks Culture RPG) by Mark Harris

Orion's Arm uses a lot of strange words. Remember, when in doubt,ask ;-)

In no particular order then....

  • There is no FTL other than traversable wormholes.
  • Going through a traversable wormhole is not like going through a long tunnel.
  • There is no warp drive, hyperdrive, traversable hyperspace, or subspace.
  • There are no force fields.
  • There is no beam me up scotty.
  • You cannae break the laws of physics.
  • There are no humanoid aliens.
  • There are no large alien empires, apart from a few extinct ones millions and millions of years dead and gone.
  • Space is very big.
  • Space is very empty.
  • Space is a hostile environment.
  • Almost all planets that have not been terraformed are a hostile environment.
  • Most people live in orbitals and deep space habitats.
  • Most orbitals and deep space habitats are spacious and comfortable.
  • There are only a few bad guys.
  • The bad guys can shoot straight.
  • A single bionanoborg combat-enhanced warrior with powered exoskeleton and hyperturing targeting system can take on a dozen Jedi Knights and 10,000 Imperial Stormtroopers with one hand tied behind their back, and still win.
  • You don't get an advanced spacefaring civilization without having a few trillion separate transhuman singularity ascension events in the process.
  • Singularity ascension events can seem very scary to those who are not ascending.
  • Ascensions sometimes go bad.
  • Human beings like you and me and the ones on TV SF shows with bumps on their head are called "baselines" (you and me) and "near-baselines" (pointy ears, blue skin, or bumps and dots on the head).
  • "Baselines" and "near-baselines" are not very smart or capable compared to superbrights or AIs.
  • There are trillions and trillions of different races, species, clades, phyles, tribes, clans, cultures, religions and ideologies out there.
  • The entire Encyclopedia Galactica is the size of a sugar cube and even if you live to a thousand you will still not have enough time to read half of it.
  • There are an awful lot of unclaimed stars, brown dwarfs, planets, moons, asteroids, comets, and ice dwarfs out there, and if you can stake your claim you will be very rich.
  • Someone else will have gotten their first.
  • There are countless trillions of undiscovered and priceless relics and artifacts left by transcended AIs, powers, and extinct aliens, and if you can find one (or more) you will be very rich.
  • To say finding a valuable relic or artifact in the vastness of known and unknown space is like looking for a needle in a haystack is the biggest understatement in the history of mankind
  • Earth is off-limits to anyone except those lucky few who qualify for a visa.
  • There is no "Psi Corps" or telepaths.
  • There is meditation, shamanism, yoga, occultism, psychic intuition, ch'i energy, mystical experience, enlightenment, and nirvana. (you are free to interpret these phenomena either physicalistically or non-physicalistically).
  • Sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
  • A lot of weird stuff has been found that no-one has had the time or inclination to look at yet.
  • There is more unknown than there is known.
  • There is no such thing as an unknown chemical/metal/compound.
  • You don't get "life forms made entirely of energy".
  • Anything that looks sort of human probably was once human.
  • No you cannot scout around for a convenient nearby planet to land on to make repairs if your ship's drive starts malfunctioning in deep space!
  • Garden Worlds (Earth type planets) are only slightly more common than hen's teeth
  • Apart from luxury liners and worldships, most ships are cramped and smelly (although less often uncomfortable and noisy)
  • Enemy ships targeting each other in deep space battles are millions of kilometers apart
  • asteroid belts are not densely crowded with giant rocks through which you have to dodge and steer with only millimeters to spare
  • No you don't get meteor showers, comets, or "ion storms" in interstellar space
  • There are strange things out on the periphery.
  • Rumors are more common then facts.
  • The AI is your friend.
  • Be polite to anything that thinks.
  • If in doubt ask an AI.

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