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Universal State

May 9, 2007

A Study of History is a 12-volume study of the birth, development, and fall of over 20 historical civilizations by Arnold Toynbee. Toynbee argued that all civilizations pass through stages of genesis, growth, the time of troubles, universal state, and disintegration and he provided detailed examples of how these various stages played out over the centuries. Whatever their validity, Toynbee’s ideas were very influential in the 1940s and 1950s. Not surprisingly, many science fiction authors from those decades took Toynbee’s stages as gospel. You can see this most clearly in the presence of the vast galactic empires and federations described in SF literature of the period. The notion that humanity would eventually achieve a universal state to govern itself among the stars was taken as a truth almost as inviolable as the laws of thermodynamics.

For this reason, Thousand Suns assumes that most campaigns will be set within a universal galactic state of some sort. Because each campaign is different, this text refers that universal state simply as the Government, since its specific details are best determined by the Game Master. Likewise, the Thousand Suns example setting described herein uses the same convention, since it was written to be “agnostic” on the question of whether the Government is in fact the Empire of the Thousand Suns or the Second Federation. This allows each GM to tailor his campaign to his own desires and those of his players while allowing maximum utility for the setting material presented throughout Thousand Suns.

In most cases, there is no need to make any changes, whatever the Government may be. Center remains the galactic capital world whether it is home to the Federation President of the Emperor. In other cases, small terminological shifts are all that is required — the Federation Marine Corps becoming the Imperial Marines, for example. In those few cases, where more significant changes are required, such attitudes toward psionics, ample information is provided to enable the GM to undertake them without much difficulty.

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