Random Interstellar Empires/Star Kingdoms
This was something I picked up from the Palladium forums: In some places it can create conflicts with the UGC. Where this happens, either place the empire well outside the UGC (no common borders), or place the conflicts under the surface (for example, if they roll "Genocidal Xenophobes," keep their genocidal tendencies an openly contemptuous attitude towards all other species, with degrees of violence relative to their species level of intelligence; a three-system T'sentraedi state that is T'sentraedi Supremists might beat a human for a dirty look, whereas a Kreegor would kill a T'sentraedi for being in his way, whereas a Flyjt would turn his nose at a Kreegor [the Flyjt are species supremists]). If the species is TOO extreme (such as Kreegor) they'll inevitable be interned on their homeworld (possibly in a way that makes the barbarity shown to the Atorians look positively tame).
Spanning the stars with the influence of one's culture is an ambition of many spacefaring species; 'Manifest Destiny,' the need to find new resources and new homelands to perserve the species, intense curiousity about the rest of the cosmos, the need to dominate; All of these are factors in the establishment of larger civilizations beyond the atmosphere and gravity well of a species' homeworld. For many, it is a facet of evolution, to grow and expand into new cosmic pastures. For some, it is the ultimate Game, growing from nothing, pitting one's species against others, and carving out a place in the galactic drama. Some are just starting out, full of vhim and vigor; Others have played their hand and are retiring from the stage, while still others have overreached and now face calamity.
These aspirants are the independents of the Three Galaxies, individually likely not to be very powerful or influential compared to the known and established powers like the TransGalactic Empire, Golgan Republic, or Consortium of Civilized Worlds, but taken as a whole a substantial part of the galactic political scene. Some exist as semi-independent entities allied with one the big powerblocs (the CCW and the UWW play host to a number of such smaller star kingdoms), others are under threat of assimilation by them (the TGE in particular), while others are plucky independents who bow to no other power willingly.
The following are a set of general guidelines for developing some of these minor powers in the Three Galaxies.
Note: "Kingdom" and "Empire" are used interchangeably here to describe a solar political entity holding sway over a solar system, cluster of star systems, or region of space, even though it may be a democracy or socialist state.
"So, the cops likely have the Remid Cluster alerted to us. Forget about going there! Where can we go where that Altess bastard CAN'T bribe somebody to make our lives a living hell?"
"I'm thinking the Gaspidar Clouds across in the next Arm."
"I am NOT that desperate to be haring off into the unknown regions to sit on cold rocks and scratch fleas for the rest of my life! I mean someplace CIVILIZED!"
"No, listen, there's at least three charted star kingdoms in the Gaspidar! Civilizations! There's this thing called the 'Raduul Imperial Congress' that looks promising."
"'Raduul Imperial Congress?' Never heard of them!"
"With any luck the Altess haven't either. But here's what the Galactic Gazetteer has to say about them! Mind you, this survey entry was last updated three hundred years ago."
A. Size:
How many solar systems does the kingdom hold sway over?
B. History:
Where did the kingdom come from?
  • 01-14%- Single Planet/Solar System, but the star kingdom may have influence far beyond its borders.
  • 15-39%- Small: 1D4+1 Star Systems.
  • 40-64%- Modest: 3D6 Star Systems.
  • 65-79%- Extensive: 1D4 time 10 Star Systems.
  • 80-96%- Large: 4D6 times 10 Star Systems.
  • 97-00%- Massive: 1D4 times 100 Star Systems; Few such massive star kingdoms exist, and garner the immediate attention of major powers like the TGE and CCW, who will seek them out as allies, or regard them as possible opponents.
  • 01-40%- Newcomers: The star kingdom started on its own, from a single colony of independents, a naturally evolved new race, or d-bees who came through a Rifts and settled their region of space.
  • 41-90%- Splinter of Older Civilization: The kingdom was formerly part of a larger entity (the TGE, CCW, UWW, Splugorth Kingdoms, Golgan Republik), but broke off from it to make its own way. The FWC is a good example of a Splinter Kingdom.
  • 91-00%- Survivors: The kingdom is all that remains, a last colony or remaining outpost, of a once far larger entity (Atlanteans, for instance).

  • C. Level of Technological Sophistication:
    From Rifts Dimension Book 2: Phaseworld, pg. 107; How advanced are these people? In general, star kingdoms must have a minimal level of technology/magic aptitude that allows them to visit other worlds to qualify as star kingdoms.
    D. General Attitude/Culture:
    (From Rifts Dimension Book 2: Phaseworld, pg. 108). If contradictory results are rolled up with other factors on these tables, there may be some rather interesting permutations necessary to explain the contradiction, or simply re-roll).
  • 01-40%- Mature Space Age: The society has commonplace space travel and at the very least the ability to visit and develop other worlds in its own solar system. Travel beyond is still possible, using high efficiency relativistic or very low efficiency FTL drive systems, so travel lag between outposts of the star kingdom is a factor. Speed of light or FTL communications ARE possible, further reinforcing the bonds of the kingdom.
  • 41-90%- Advanced Space Age: The majority of stellar powers fall into this broad category; FTL propulsion has been achieved and is fairly commonplace, tying the worlds of the empire together and facilitating trade/communication with other worlds.
  • 91-98%- Highly Advanced Civilization: This civilization is the equal of any of the major galactic powers, but has special expertise in one or two particular fields (gravitics, genetic engineering, industrial sorcery, etc).
  • 99-00%- Amazing Civilization: Superior to all known galactic cultures, and likely to be of interest to the major powers of the Three Galaxies.

  • 01-10%- Genocidal Xenophobes: If combined with a multi-species composition, then only the species in the star kingdom are exempt from this policy. (This will place them at odds with the UGC, re-roll if applicable.)
  • 11-25%- Aggressive Racial Supremacists; If combined with a multi; species composition, then only one species rules dominant and the others are slaves.
  • 26-40%- Warrior Race.
  • 41-55%- Enlightened Imperialists.
  • 56-70%- Peaceful Expansionists.
  • 71-85%- Non-Interventionists; If combined with a military; based economy, then the kingdom sells to everybody, but takes no official involvement. Likewise, anything that would compromise the neutrality stance of the central government is officially illegal. but may be conducted anyway under the auspices of a government looking the other way.
  • 86-97%- Pacifists: If combined with a military; based economy, then the kingdom may export non; lethal weapons technology and their 'mercenaries' are diplomats or benign peacekeepers.
  • 98-00%- Multi-Factional: Varies; the star kingdom is still defined by several factions actively vying for control (not necessarily violently) of the overall organization. Roll 1d4+1 extra times to determine the various factions; ignore if the Multi; Factional option is rolled again. Typically this state doesn't exist for long; either one faction emerges as dominant, or the star nation splits off into separate factional states.
  • E: Racial Composition:
    Who are the dominant species/races that make up the kingdom?
    F. Government:
    (From Rifts Dimension Book 5: Anvil Galaxy, pgs. 155; 157).
  • 01-40%- Existing and Known Species (Human, Wolfen, Elf, etc).
  • 41-60%- Variant of Existing Known Species: These would be recognizable mutations or modest variants of existing peoples (no more than a 25% variation from baseline for the particular species). These races can be represented by adding an extra dice to one or two stats, or rolling on Step Five: Unusual Characteristics of Rifts Dimension Book 2: Phaseworld, pg. 106.
  • 61-84%- New Species (roll up or create a new race).
  • 85-00%- Combination of 1D4+1 different species: Roll again for the different races.

  • 01-05%- Anarchy; nobody seems to be in charge, and this star 'empire' is one in name only.
  • 06-07%- Junta: Rule by the military.
  • 11-15%- Autocracy: Rule by a single figure/strongman.
  • 16-20%- Monarchy: Rule by a hereditary monarch.
  • 21-25%- Aristocracy: Rule by hereditary nobility.
  • 26-30%- Hierarchy: Rule by stratified layers of authority.
  • 31-35%- Confederacy: Rule by allied power blocs.
  • 36-40%- Democracy: Rule by popular accord.
  • 41-45%- Oligarchy: Rule by an elite.
  • 46-50%- Syndicracy: Rule by common business interests.
  • 51-55%- Plutocracy: Rule by the wealthy.
  • 56-60%- Bureaucracy: Rule by bureaucrats and an elaborate organization of agencies.
  • 61-65%- Pecocracy: Rule by the learned.
  • 66-70%- Theocracy: Rule by a religious elite.
  • 71-75%- Mageocracy: Rule by magic-users.
  • 76-80%- Gerontocracy: Rule by those of a certain age.
  • 81-85%- Gendocracy: Rule by a particular gender.
  • 86-90%- Technocracy: Rule by the possession of particular skills.
  • 91-95%- Mechocracy: Rule by machine.
  • 96-00%- Other/Exotic.
  • G. Administrative Control:
    How tightly does/can the central authority/government control its territory with regard to its laws and regulations? This can work for good or ill, as travelers may be spared harsh persecution... Or find themselves without the legal protections.
    H. External Trade:
    How does the star kingdom make the majority of its income?

  • 01-5%- Nearly Nonexistent: The central authority's reach is extremely limited and it has few abilities to enforce its dictates beyond its immediate area (usually the capital). Effectively anarchy at the borders/frontiers.
  • 11-25%- Lax: Beyond the central authority's reach and a handful of agents and agencies, the spirit and the letter of the law are up for grabs; blatant and creative (mis)interpretation of the laws and regulations is common, and most people pay lipservice to them. There's not a whole heckuva lot the central authority can do either, and penalties are light to effectively impotent.
  • 26-55%- Loose: The letter of laws are generally followed, but out in the field, away from the immediate scrutiny if the central authority, there's a lot of mild and loose interpretation of the laws, and a lot of overlooking of their intent. Minor dissent and corruption is common, and pretty much overlooked.
  • 56-70%- Tight: The central government's rulings are thoroughly enforced by its agents and agencies, and it's when the rules AREN'T enforced or administrative control/oversight slips up that it makes the news.
  • 71-89%- Restrictive: The government runs a tight ship with multiple agencies, frequent inspections and tests, and periodic audits of itself. Penalties for breaking the law are hard, and for government employees not doing their duty, severe.
  • 90-00%- Draconian: The central government has agents all over, enforcing its laws and regulations, and has a network of informers as well, reporting on the quality of governance. Penalties for not obeying the laws, and not enforcing the laws, are harsh to extreme for government employees.
  • 01-15%- None: The kingdom doesn't trade at all with anybody; its economy is pretty much self; contained, or else it is sruggling with regards to its finances.
  • 16-30%- Trade: The star kingdom maintains a large mercantile fleet that wheels and deals across the cosmos, trading in various goods, and the kingdom's planets themselves can serve as trading hubs or waystations.
  • 31-50%- Raw Materials: The kingdom feeds the industries of others by providing the bulk raw materials needed (minerals, lumber, water, anti; matter, etc.).
  • 51-60%- Luxury Goods: There are certain things available in the kingdom that are not necessities of life, but which nevertheless command high prices from the right buyers outside the star kingdom. However, dependence on this sort of goods is risky; luxury trends can prove fickle.
  • 61-80%- Manufacturing: The kingdom provides quality finished goods that are in demand elsewhere.
  • 81-90%- Military: The star kingdom either sells weapons and/or the services of mercenaries.
  • 91-00%- Conquest: The star kingdom relies on what its armed forces, privateers, or pirates can acquire and strip from other peoples and planets.

  • I. Status Rating:
    Star kingdoms and empires have a lifespan, like organizations. This is a general indicator of the health of the star kingdom.
  • 01-30%- Boom: The star kingdom is just starting out and is expanding its territory and influence at an intense level of activity. It is powerful and vigorous, but hasn't reached its full potential.
  • 31-69%- Established: The star kingdom has reached a comfortable state of influence; explosive expansion is leveling off, and borders are generally known. The star kingdom is reaching the peak of its power in this current cycle of its existence.
  • 70-85%- Stagnant: The star kingdom has reached a plateau in its influence; expansion has slowed, the borders haven't changed much in over a century, and there is some gathering tension between various internal factions over control of the future direction of the kingdom. It is powerful, but may be feeling its growing pains.
  • 86-94%- Crumbling: The star kingdom is on the verge of a bust; expansion has stopped and begun to reverse. Systems are dropping away and the influence of the central authority is weakening. The central government is holding on, but cracks have appeared in the order.
  • 95-98%- Imperiled: The star kingdom has reached a critical moment in its history that could result in the empire breaking apart completely or undergoing a massive cultural shift. This may result in a new period of renewal and explosive expansion under a new regime, or may end in the kingdom imploding.
  • 99-00%- Faded Glory: The kingdom failed to renew itself come its crisis point in the past and what remains is now a shadow of its former self. The kingdom's glory days are long in the past and it's all the survivors can do to hang on to what they still have. Education and professional training have atrophied, elaborate tradition has replaced innovation, and new technological developments are minor rehashes of already existing designs and principles. Most citizens are more likely to look back to the grand triumphs of the future than to a brighter and wholly new future, living in the past rather than working towards tomorrow.

  • You are here. Somewhere.