Once in a while I get questions about various setting questions, so I thought I'd entertain a few about Unified Space: The open-ended setting that underpins Five Parsecs From Home and Renegade Scout.
The questions have been rephrased a bit from how they arrive in my email, just to fit the format.
A few general questions and then Unity specific ones.
Which of your games specifically take place in Unified Space?
Renegade Scout, Clash on the Fringe, Five Parsecs and Unity Field Agent.
Other games have had Unified Space content (Starport Scum, Laserstorm) but aren't meant to specifically exist in the setting.
Keen-eyed viewers will note that the alien species originated in No Stars in Sight, though it actually predates the setting as a semi-cohesive thing.
Is Unified Space based on sound scientific principles?
I would be highly surprised if that was the case.
"Semi hard space opera" is the best we can aim for and the setting often veers into space fantasy.
Is Unity an evil empire?
If you want it to, but they are not intended that way.
Essentially, any political organization that encompasses much of known space would be a massive, impenetrable, impersonal bureaucracy, so Unity will tend to stomp all over the desires of this or that colony.
It's perfectly conceivable for your Unity force to be the heroes fighting off an alien invasion, then turn to become the oppressors as the colonists rebel in turn.
How common are psionic powers in humans?
2-3% or so exhibit some minor psionic ability. Most of the time this is stuff like trivial premonitions, "I have a bad feeling about this", being good at guessing games etc.
Actual battlefield level psionics would be 2-3% of those 2-3%.
Are psionics and mutants poorly treated by Unity?
No. Prejudice against psionics can and does happen, but is viewed as inappropriate. Psionics are generally viewed the same way you view a trained killer. Very handy to have around, provided they are on your side!
Mutants tend to experience a lot more prejudice, though they are still considered "Human" by Unity law. As such, mutant gangs are more of a thing in Fringe space, where Unity laws are poorly enforced. On a core world, you can have an extra arm and do just fine.
Is the standard fire arm of Unity troops projectile or energy based?
First line troops carry lasers, second line and most regional forces use projectile weapons.
Colonial forces almost always use projectile weapons.
Specific task forces may be outfitted in a particular manner, depending on the task.
Are Unity troops disposable cannon fodder?
Not at all. They are well trained troops, outfitted for modern warfare and deployed according to good tactical principles.
They ARE however also the grunts of a system that doesn't always have the ability to send a regiment to the right location or remember to send evac ships once the war is over.
Of course, the generic space marine guy is always doomed to get eaten by some horrible alien monster, but the survivors benefits are excellent.
Are typical humans genetically modified?
On Core worlds yes. At the very least, basic genetic adjustments take place to prevent common genetic flaws and diseases. As such, the wearing of eye-glasses (f.x.) is entirely a fashion statement.
Wealthier families, important functionaries of Unity administration and military forces tend to receive more comprehensive upgrade packages to ensure health, mental stability and a satisfactory level of physical performance.
Average life span is about 130.
Can a Unity Core world human marry an alien?
They can. You can marry a robot as well. Unity law dictates that all involved must be sapient, have a recognizable concept of long term romantic commitment and be agreeing absent any duress.
As a result, Swift can only be bound by marriage contracts until a psychological change compels them to a new course in life, while Soulless must agree to install long-term relationship commitment run-times to qualify.
Do Unity armed forces use ground vehicles or hover vehicles?
Troop transports are generally tracked or wheeled, depending on terrain.
Tanks are either tracked or hover, but are always segregated by unit type. A small number of hover-capable infantry regiments are in service but maintenance costs are substantial.
How are Unity armed forces organized?
There are 298 officially sanctioned formation types for front-line rifle infantry (1st line) alone.
Most formations follow a triangular structure where 3 sections make a platoon, 3 platoons make a company and so forth.
Each element from platoon up should have an attached support element suitable to its mission.
At regimental level, substantial additional forces are kept which can be detached out as needed.
Due to the immense cost of interstellar warfare, troop deployments are often single battalions or at most regiments.
Can aliens serve in the Unity armed forces?
They can, provided they have received certification that they are legally human. This means they are fully committed to Unity ideals and have undergone psych evaluations to ensure their emotional responses are within human parameters.
Unity does not hesitate to employ mercenary forces however, which is usually an easier avenue for a K'Erin or Precursor outfit seeking to make some Credits.