Urban Galaxy takes place in the metropolis of Anassin, capital city of the Dual Solar Empire on the planet Cotrikon. Serving as both the hub of the DSE’s many colonies and starbases as well as the center of the Empire’s commercial, cultural and religious life, Anassin is the single biggest starport in the galaxy. For this reason comes its title: the City of Opportunities.
But it is not now what it once was. A period of 70 years called the Golden Age ended a decade ago. It was a time when ships from all over the galaxy would be docking daily, bringing in exotic goods and citizens looking for a fresh start. The docks (today’s Old Starport) were home to an endless stream of wealthy traders, clever entrepreneurs and powerful corporations seeking new investment. The enormous libraries and universities were home to the brightest minds in existence, and Cotrikon’s ancient mysteries were constantly threatened by the expeditions of archaeologists.
Now it is the city of smugglers, gangs and pirates, its only opportunities for mercenaries. The preeminence of Anassin’s past has long been gone. The city, and with it the Empire, fell victim to greed.
The decline was brought about by ceaseless conflict among the local barons, who sacrificed the city’s economic and political stability in favor of their own ambitions. Gangs and pirates grew fat from the corruption and the ailing military, creating their own web of conflicts for prestige and territory.
Today, it is the gangs that control the city’s districts, collecting taxes and raising their own armies. Existing outside of the law, they have created a black market upon which to run their own commerce. This is now the way of life in the City of Opportunities.
With Anassin at its core, the Dual Solar Empire controls the solar system from its home planet of Cotrikon. In the years before the Golden Age, the Dual Solar Empire(DSE) was a minor player in galactic politics, producing carble as a mid-range trade good that fueled a relatively average economy. The DSE is ruled from the seat of the Emperor, holding as his primary powers control of the military and the distribution of fiefdoms. He relies on the support and fealty of his dukes, counts and other vassals to project his authority. A small group of civil servants is drawn from the aristocracy to serve the Emperor personally on his council.
Carble is a fuel necessary for running a variety of engines and hyperspace ships. It is created via processing an unusual seed produced by plants on Cotrikon. In the planet’s language, the seed’s name is Catrainon, meaning Gift of the God.
The Dual Solar Empire had long used carble in military technology, as it was relatively cheap and efficient. After many years of research, the Federation of the Galaxy Worlds — a much larger galactic force — determined that its hyperspace fleet, both commercial and military, would benefit from the fuel, as it would increase both cost and functional efficiency. Attempts to grow the plant off-world proved futile, and creating the conditions to grow Catrainon artificially proved too expensive and tenuous. The fuel’s only viable place for mass production was Cotrikon.
As a consequence, demand spiked for the resource, causing the planet’s economy to experience massive growth. The Emperor held exclusive rights to the production of Catrainon and its products, using access to the seed as a means of controlling his aristocracy. He saw fit to contribute a share of the incredible profits to the public treasury. This influx of funds contributed heavily to the Golden Age.
The influx of wealth from the sudden spike in carble demand created a dangerous degree of competition in the Emperor’s court for new fiefs. The Emperor’s council, tasked largely with managing the subterfuge and personal politics of the aristocrats, were elevated to the status of oligarchs as the Emperor entrusted them with more and more land on which to grow Catrainon. It did not take long for the court to take notice of this relationship and resent it. The divide, however, was well concealed from the public by the council.
With significant effort, several intergalactic corporations pried small production licenses from the Emperor as he neared his death. Upon the crown passing to his son, lobbyists managed to collect even greater production powers despite protest from the council. Most nobles opted to exchange their production for market shares in one corporation or another, completing the transition from an imperial monopoly to a corporate one in less than a decade.
The public treasury rapidly dried up as the money moved off-world. The aristocrats that were quick enough to trade their rights for shares departed Cotrikon as the government collapsed under the recession. The majority of the military could not be supported. Most bases, rather than accepting unemployment, went rogue and took to piracy. Many other soldiers stole equipment and formed gangs or became mercenaries. What remained of the imperial military proved exceptionally loyal, but could not protect Cotrikon from anarchy.
The most powerful criminal organizations became strong enough to fight the corporate forces present on Cotrikon and claim some carble protection for themselves, creating another outlet for the fuel through the black market. The corporations mounted increasing pressure on the Emperor to produce a solution, threatening to claim his political power for their own protection.
The Emperor, desperate to regain order, joined the Empire with the Federation. He was motivated not by the betterment of his people but the futile hope that the Federation could return control of the carble — and through it authority — to him and his court. Hoping to claim their own production monopoly, the Federation accepted the Dual Solar Empire and began a campaign to rid Cotrikon of its criminal menace.
Unwilling to allow the Federation full control of the campaign at risk of their assets, both the Dual Solar Empire and the corporations mustered what forces they could for the reclamation effort. What began as a unified attempt to rid Cotrikon of its criminal elements quickly devolved into a factional struggle for control of the carble.
The most powerful military and political union in the galaxy, the Federation of Galaxy Worlds has the Dual Solar Empire (DSE) as its most recent member.
It is typically believed that the Emperor’s court approved joining the Federation, but in truth the council exercised illegal power to force the move in hopes of retaining authority. Given the circumstances, the populace cared very little if the ruling was made legitimately, as support leaned in favor of Federation membership due to the catastrophic decline. Though analysts suspect little good will come of the Federation’s meddling in the Dual Solar Empire’s economy, the populace is still optimistic about their intervention.
The Federation took responsibility for the security of Anassin’s primary starport in order to facilitate Federal business. As such, its military is the chief presence at Anassin’s docks. The resulting jurisdictional confusion between the DSE and Federation militaries has left space for criminal organizations to continue successfully. Cynical critics claim the Federation has created the situation intentionally to keep the DSE’s political power weak.
With the Federation setting up its political center in the docks, the Emperor tightened his military presence in the Palace District, creating a city with two heads. The political deadlock between the Emperor and the Federation has caused both to neglect other responsibilities. The aristocrats that remained on Cotrikon have achieved practical autonomy and seek to expand their domains outside of Anassin.
The corporations, now under the Federation’s jurisdiction, have remained almost unfettered, allowing them to pursue their own interests aggressively. All of Cotrikon has become a battlefield.
Carble has become a crucial resource for the commerce, whether for use or sale. The corporations that collected production and distribution rights from the Emperor are willing to go to war to keep them. These corporations brought small security forces to protect their assets from the pirates and gangs, but their martial presence increased steadily in anticipation of conflict with the Dual Solar Empire, the Federation and each other.
Anassin is a hot spot for mercenaries due to the valuable contracts these corporate factions offer.
Each corporation maintains a headquarters in Anassin that doubles as a military base. With policing in the capital under strain already, they all bid for contracts to maintain the city’s (and, more importantly, their district’s) security. This arrangement allows for these corporations to enter vaguely legal combat with one another when all other maneuvering fails.
GIG is the financial giant of the galaxy. It’s stockholders represent the wealthiest strata of galactic society and include powerful political leaders, making GIG a very dangerous enemy.
GIG maintains its central offices on a planet in the heart of the galaxy bought solely for that purpose. They protect the coordinates of the planet as a trade secret, heavily encrypting its hyperspace route even to its employees. It is speculated that this is due to a fear by the board of directors of a military takeover, suggesting that GIG’s combat strength is relatively low.
What they make lack in combat strength, they make up for amply with financial power. GIG is alarmingly skilled at creating both service and production monopolies, unafraid of corporate subterfuge when it is needed. With an impervious legal team, the galactic market has little recourse against them. GIG holds as its key rival Union 50, as their decentralized structure significantly reduces the effectiveness of the corporation’s tactics against them.
Often called "Pirate " Cheap", P"C is a massive and legal corporation, possessing a larger fleet (both commercial and military) and more personnel than any other. Like GIG, P"C holds a planet exclusively for its central offices.
P&C claims to hold a variety of patents that allow them to produce their highly cost-effective products. Stars Chapman particularly resents the company, claiming that P&C simply pirates their products and sells them at unfair prices. Though many of the two companies’ products are suspiciously similar, Starts Chapman has thus far failed to make their accusations stick.
The Federation has compiled reports and evidence indicating that P&C is in fact an enormous money laundering racket for the galaxy’s crime organizations. It is certainly true that the company is suspiciously free of losses to piracy. Because of its reputation, P&C has made enemies of all other companies on Cotrikon and even the Federation.
Stars Chapman is the galactic exemplar in commercial transport. Their advantage lies in maintaining their own hyperspace network and their swift proprietary ships. The corporation is remarkably effective at buying goods at the cheapest rate in the galaxy and moving them to where they will sell for the highest price.
This same principal allows them to acquire raw materials at the lowest rate possible, resulting in the company maintaining a variety of production lines for highly cost-effective products which they can then sell through their own network.
Stars Chapman suffers more than any other major company from piracy due to their focus on cargo. Rather than develop a military fleet, Stars Chapman hires ships to guard their caravans, making them the biggest mercenary contractor in the galaxy.
GIG is a significant rival to Stars Chapman, as the monopolies they collect push the corporation out of more and more markets and drive the cost of raw materials up. P&C, however, is a larger threat as their products target the same markets and the company’s piracy problem is undoubtedly attributable to them.
U50 is a union of fifty smaller, independent companies that have banded together to fend off the encroachment of GIG. U50 is run by a council of members from the participant companies, and collaborates primarily in legal opposition to GIG. They also forbid business partnership and trading outside of the union in an effort to promote one another’s growth.
U50 collected a union contract for carble production from the DSE. As of now, the production and distribution of U50’s carble is shared as equally as manageable by the participant companies, resulting in dangerous inefficiency. As a consequence, many council members have recently been stirring up support for a total conglomeration.
Despite its internal politics, U50 has met with considerable success in slowing the advance of the GIG in Cotrikon and has inadvertently balanced the conflict between P&C and Stars Chapman, making them perhaps the most crucial corporate entity for maintaining Cotrikon’s stability.
Some of Anassin’s criminal organizations, having grown thanks to weak military response, have become powerful forces. Several city districts have been effectively conquered by gangs and pirates who exact their own taxes and recruit from the populace to bolster their ranks. Despite being criminals, much of Anassin’s subjugated population prefers their relatively stable rulership over the deadlocked Dual Solar Empire and Federation. Complete with a vibrant black market economy, these groups are de facto kingdoms, making the threat to the Emperor they represent far greater than simple organized crime.
These de facto kingdoms provide easy access to Cotrikon for criminals wanted across the galaxy, bolstering their strength. Combined with the political quagmire the Federation has found itself in, their ability to reclaim the planet is severely stunted. Without sufficient forces to do their own work, Federation officials seek mercenaries to assist in their campaign.
Listed below are the most significant gangs and pirate groups in Anassin.
Controlling three major districts, Vervedos deals primarily in weapons on the black market. Seeking a full monopoly, they seek the destruction of Dual Razor, whose smugglers bring weapons in regularly. Through this monopoly, the gang hopes to control the entire black market through force.
The bosses of Vervedos also desire, however unrealistically, to claim all of Anassin as their kingdom. Thus, Vervedos makes enemies of every other faction on Cotrikon. They are also leery about mercenaries, as guns for hire in Anassin are usually paid to attack them.
Holding two major districts, Dual Razor is small compared to its major rival Vervedos. The bosses direct their attention primarily to smuggling, though they often overestimate the value of their services.
Dual Razor forces are proud, violent and opportunistic. Even if enemy ships in their territory have nothing of value, they will often attack and destroy them to make a statement. The gang is reluctant to do jobs with significant risk and will often outsource to mercenaries if they can sufficiently cheat them.
The Cobi League is a directly anti-Federation organization. It is based in the city of Cobi, a major port for carble, and its founders are among Cotrikon’s most wealthy aristocrats. The organization’s primary goal is to retain their carble control, and they hire fleets of mercenaries to oppose the Federation and even the Empire if necessary.
Operating like a corporation, the Cobi League’s first line of defense is financial: bribery, espionage, lawsuits, etc. Only when intrigue fails will they resort to force. Though their efforts are nearly always technically legal, they have been declared an outlaw organization by both the Federation and the Empire.