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Infinite Worlds


Source Galaxy Exploration Manual pg. 96
For all its intellectual and material accomplishments, culture withers without the collective—some shared experiences, values, and goals that provide a society meaning and unite its people in overcoming challenges they could never defeat alone. Accord measures the degree to which a world’s individuals and societies cooperate with one another and the galaxy at large. While it outwardly corresponds to alignment, accord is distinct, and even though lawful societies tend to have higher accord than chaotic ones, powerful exceptions exist.
The factors that shape accord are as complex as the constituent cultures it reflects. Codifying accord starts with asking questions. Why do a world’s inhabitants fight and compete? What drives them to seek peace and community? Did the inhabitants evolve from creatures whose survival depended on especially gregarious or individualist behavior? How monolithic is the world’s culture? How many species comprise these cultures, and are they on relatively equal footing with each other? Is there history that encourages cooperation or stokes resentment?
Keep an open mind. In human-centric sci-fi settings, myriad conditions might drive accord, from longstanding peace and prosperity to indoctrination and merciless punishment levied against anyone stepping out of line. With the introduction of magic, alien species, and unfamiliar environments, the underlying possibilities become far more diverse and fantastical. Devastating living conditions could drive an unwavering code of hospitality or encourage desperate raiding. Abundant magic might provide all of a society’s needs and drive peace, but it could also fuel arcane subjugation. The existence of telepathy opens up vast possibilities for accord, potentially breaking down any barriers between personal and communal thought. In a collective consciousness, the group-mind’s anger or joy becomes the emotion of all, creating trusting societies that can turn on a perceived threat as one. Few societies embrace this concept so fully as the barathu of Bretheda, who meld physically and mentally with one another to create increasingly powerful amalgam beings.
High-accord worlds could include an ideological, semi-democratic stratocracy governed by generals and driven by referendums in which only those who serve or have served in the military can vote. The axiom that military service grants citizenship prevails; soldiers get valorized for their role while civilians are looked down upon—not hated, but pitied. Another world might feature a prosperous pluralistic democracy with a strong social safety net and a powerful economy. Most inhabitants are happy with their circumstances, and over time, politics addresses an ever-narrower set of issues with citizens treating it as a spectator sport rather than something relevant to their daily lives. High accord could reflect a cybernetic surveillance state in which sophisticated AI programs monitor inhabitants and dissent becomes impossible beneath the machine’s all-seeing eye. The AIs, in turn, remain bound by their programming always enforcing what they deem a virtuous society.
On a medium-accord world, a once-united theocratic oligarchy cracks under a massive religious schism, all inspired by the discovery of space travel and alien species. Some accept the “sky people” as friends; others see them as peerless angels from beyond, while certain inhabitants arm themselves against the threat of otherworldly invasion. On another world, a perilously unstable coalition of burgeoning nation-states pools its resources to compete on the galactic stage. While the confederation presents a united front, old rivalries and divisions mean that internal factions always jockey for advantage and dominance. Across the galaxy, a utopian world with sophisticated nanomanufacturing and omnipresent AIs might have granted every citizen a life of decadence—until a few of the AIs achieved self-awareness. Now, the mainframes responsible for a billion lives debate their future, even as the masses remain blissfully ignorant of the often-violent disagreements conducted beneath their feet.
An iconic low-accord world is an anarchic, post-apocalyptic wasteland, where scavenger bands compete over scarce resources left behind by the ancients. Isolated city-states work to consolidate power, yet most inhabitants live nomadic lifestyles to avoid spectral hot spots, mutated beasts, and hostile raiders. Compare this type of society to a hyper-individualistic plutocracy, where citizens must contract all possible services, such as police, fire prevention, and life support. Safety lies only in joining one of the megacorporations’ petty states or one of the workers’ cooperatives that sprout from time to time. Elsewhere, citizens swear fealty to militarized aristocracies on a techno-feudal world where semidivine war machines breathe radioactive fire. Ostensibly, marriage and alliances bind that society’s aristocrats to each other, but belligerent vestiges of honor spark noble vendettas and valorized violence without fail. Whatever the conditions, accord can shape adventure possibilities as much as any other factor. The PCs might find ample opportunities for conflict and profit on low- or medium-accord worlds, yet any gains they make might stay at constant risk of loss to betrayal or even raiding, allowing for high-risk/ high-reward gambits.
Meanwhile, high-accord realms might have little apparent opportunity for enterprising freelancers—at least until the PCs dig up long-suppressed grievances, treasures from a bygone age, or opportunities to overthrow the quiet tyranny that currently maintains order. Often, these worlds appropriately function as a home base where adventurers can retire in peace— or serve as discrete informants charged with keeping an eye on rising threats. Such places can also present the PCs with a moral quandary, as those living in worlds at peace might prefer the price they pay for the absence of conflict, no matter how high, and exhibit resentment toward outsiders who meddle in their affairs.

Accord And Skill Checks

Source Galaxy Exploration Manual pg. 97
A world’s accord reflects its inhabitants’ perspectives on whom they can trust and what they fear, impacting how easy it is to affect them with Bluff, Diplomacy, and Intimidate checks.
High Accord: Reduce inhabitants’ effective CR by 1 for the purpose of calculating Diplomacy check DCs. Inhabitants often have an initial attitude of indifferent or better.
Medium Accord: Typically, no change is involved.
Low Accord: Increase inhabitants’ effective CR by 1 for the purpose of calculating Diplomacy and Intimidate check DCs. Inhabitants often have good Bluff, Intimidate, or Sense Motive skill bonuses, and their initial attitudes are rarely friendly or helpful.

High Accord

Source Galaxy Exploration Manual pg. 98
High-accord societies and worlds often appear at peace with few disagreements or divisions. Life tends to be stable, if not necessarily pleasant. The great majority of citizens can expect tomorrow to be a great deal like today. Likewise, life tends to be safe; even in the most dystopian regimes, the inherent predictability of life means that it’s easy enough to avoid danger, at least for those who live by any extant social contracts necessary to protect themselves. This relative safety often means that the populace perceives threats to any institutions that maintain the peace—whether those institutions are long-standing peace treaties, shared virtues, or tyrannical guardians—as existential threats to their happiness and safety. Whether these peoples hope to preserve their utopias or fear retribution from an overbearing government, citizens often push back against anything threatening the existing order, especially wandering bands of offworld adventurers.
Not everyone living within a dominant paradigm of a high-accord world agrees with the status quo. Some might have no choice, forced into an outcast state because of their identity. Others make a philosophical choice to stand in opposition to their society, whether out of youthful rebellion or considered judgment. For these people, life in a high-accord society can become singularly unpleasant. Rebels living in more benign societies at the very least find themselves shunned with friends and relatives treating them with puzzled pity. Those in harsher regimes might be harassed, persecuted, imprisoned, or even killed if they refuse to conform. Despite these risks and dangers, almost every high-accord society has some pockets of resistance to the norm.
Some adventurers hailing from high-accord societies seek surrogate relationships to replace the ones they’ve left behind, ranging from intense friendships to vast adoptive families to merciless hierarchies. Other adventurers are the aforementioned misfits, departing when then find they don’t fit their home world’s exacting expectations. Adjusting to the galaxy at large can be a difficult process for refugees from high-accord worlds. What might seem like intolerable rebellion in the stable domain of a high-accord society becomes downright quaint in the chaos of galactic civilization, and few high-accord adventurers have real experience with physical danger before leaving their homes, making traveling the galaxy—especially as an adventurer forging their own path—quite an education.

High-Accord Adventure Hooks

D20Adventure Hook
1Someone plans to assassinate the highest ruler.
2There’s a moral panic about decadent, depraved offworld music.
3Authorities have scapegoated an outsider for a hideous murder.
4 Seditious literature spreads throughout the world, and the state police arrest any who possess copies.
5 A new translation of a society’s founding documents would invalidate centuries of established tradition—if it’s legitimate.
6The government introduces highly-intrusive surveillance technology.
7 Recent warnings of a terrible imminent disaster (invasion, plague, asteroid) are being all but ignored by a complacent population.
8 A senior state official wants help to discreetly bail their child out of prison—and to ensure their permanent record stays clean.
9A political or cultural dissident stows away on the PCs’ starship.
10 A social media fad allows a corporation to subtly control aspects of everyday citizens’ lives.
11 Authorities investigate the import of an offworld foodstuff or medicine that seems to cause discontent in users.
12 A body double for the government’s most controversial leader seeks to betray their former employer.
13 An offworld corporation is hiring outside help to penetrate insular local markets.
14 Certain identifying documents are required to get legitimate work, but one neighborhood is awash in convincing black-market forgeries.
15 A hacker erases the identities of dozens of prominent citizens to bring attention to the government’s mistreatment of a marginalized group.
16 A senior official has died with no clear successor, and the government covers up their death until a suitable successor is produced.
17 Missionaries of a chaotic-aligned deity try to spread a new faith. The government isn’t enthused.
18 A recent discovery proved that a long-dead, important historical or cultural figure wasn’t who they pretended to be.
19 The government commissions offworlders to ferry a dozen prisoners to exile. Most are political dissidents; one is a serial killer.
20 The terms of an ancient treaty keeping a world at peace also require its powers to conquer neighboring systems, which request aid.

Medium Accord

Source Galaxy Exploration Manual pg. 98
A medium-accord world is riven by one or more serious divisions, whether ethnic, religious, ideological, geopolitical, or something else. Medium-accord worlds lack the overwhelming unity of high-accord worlds, but they don’t generally suffer the pernicious struggles or isolation of low-accord worlds. Medium-accord worlds are the most common in the galaxy since they occupy a sort of natural equilibrium on the spectrum. Maintaining a high-accord society requires considerable, concerted effort and no small amount of luck, while low-accord societies tend to exhaust themselves through conflict, either eventually extinguishing themselves or seeing a single group rise to dominance. Rarely, a medium-accord world arises when the members of a low-accord world finally seek peace after generations of division.
Typically, the residents of a medium-accord society have a distinct sense of home and nation while simultaneously being familiar with the idea of other kinds of societies and ways of life. This knowledge can sometimes lead to xenophobia, excessive nationalism, and a siege mentality with the populace seeing itself surrounded by others unlike and unfriendly toward them. Just as often, however— and especially on worlds that have access to the interstellar community—differences may be seen as a source of curiosity, strength, or profit.
Adventurers might hail from medium-accord worlds for any number of reasons, but many won’t find a circuitous life among the stars, hopping from culture to culture, to be particularly strange. Already used to dealing with outsiders and those unlike them, they tend to settle easily into the galactic scene, seeing it as just one more job or turn of life. Medium-accord adventurers often develop strong alliances and friendships, though they can sometimes be prone to viewing things with dichotomous, us-versus-them mindsets—often an asset for their allies but a hindrance to forming complicated relationships or dealing with situations that require more nuance.

Medium-Accord Adventure Hooks

D20Adventure Hook
1 A new, shadowy organization claims responsibility for an upswing in natural disasters in several enemy states.
2 A massive natural disaster hits a once-strong state whose enemies now pose a looming threat.
3A high-ranking member of one faction’s military looks to defect.
4 An obscure, ignored state manages to acquire the most powerful super weapon in the system and wins a war it was doomed to lose.
5 A powerful offworld mercenary organization has offered its services to one faction, threatening to destabilize the entire geopolitical system.
6 A revolutionary but expensive biotechnology exacerbates tensions between the upper and lower classes.
7 A newly-appointed ambassador, utterly ignorant of local customs, needs help preparing for a major upcoming cultural event.
8 A diplomatic crisis causes a once-valuable export to become worthless, and merchants look to sell the goods elsewhere.
9 A seemingly unbreakable code gives one nation an advantage in matters of espionage.
10 The assassination of a political figure by regional separatists has triggered an international crisis.
11 A major, multilateral summit is being held offworld, making security and scrutiny in the area tighter than ever.
12 Two major states finally agree to peace talks, and a nervous third party hires help to sabotage them.
13 An offworld hacker threatens to destabilize global markets unless all nations agree to a unilateral disarmament treaty.
14A nation’s senior intelligence official is a mole for an enemy state.
15 One state looks for help to discreetly salvage a wreck belonging to a rival state.
16 One nation attempts to disguise its espionage of an enemy state as much-needed humanitarian efforts.
17 A sudden invasion of outsiders from another plane of existence scrambles all the usual alliances and power blocs.
18 The sacred dead of a faction rise en masse as peaceful undead, but other states believe this event to prelude a war.
19 A major arms syndicate sells weapons to all factions at very low prices; the weapons are soon discovered to be faulty.
20 A long-running, massive conflict ends abruptly as each side realizes they can’t remember why they fought in the first place.

Low Accord

Source Galaxy Exploration Manual pg. 98
Life on a low-accord world is almost universally governed by fear. All-out war between numerous small factions grips the archetypical low-accord society, whether that war involves literal armed conflict or a constant state of competition where there are no true allies yet ample consequences for failure. Chaotic societies are most naturally inclined to collapse into such conflicts, yet even lawful factions might initiate and sustain these long-term struggles.
Few people enjoy living in a low-accord world, though occasionally small groups can establish pockets of relative stability and profit. These fledgling societies are uncertain, insecure enterprises, as whatever forces caused the world to fall into low accord remain a threat. The exceptions include worlds and societies that survive and eventually push their homes toward greater stability. It’s uncommon for a low-accord world to stay that way indefinitely; most of what the Pact Worlds recognize as sapient species gravitate toward stability and safety, even if their societies also encourage individuality, self-expression, and a degree of dissidence. Worlds that remain in a low-accord state for extended periods often do so because of external factors that prohibit a safer equilibrium, whether offworld political influence or geological instability that manifests as societal imbalance.
Adventurers from low-accord worlds often consider themselves refugees or escapees, finding solace in a galactic society that seems oddly trusting and cooperative. Life in a low-accord world tends to cultivate paranoia and self-reliance in equal measure, and for many such adventurers, learning that trust isn’t a weakness can prove a difficult yet vital step toward fitting into other societies. Adventurers who overcome this hurdle and accept trusted allies might still assume the worst of everyone else and, in turn, expect others to assume the worst of them.

Low-Accord Adventure Hook

D20Adventure Hook
1 Someone is taking advantage of the planet’s disorganization to hide a secret research facility.
2 A local warlord looks for aid in training their nebbish heir in the arts of violence.
3 A major discovery of natural resources in what was previously a wasteland sparks a land rush, and tempers are high.
4Star-crossed lovers from rival factions beg for outsiders’ help.
5 An offworld corporation looks for help in retrieving a cargo of dangerous weapons shipped to the world “by accident.”
6 A powerful and violent faction suddenly goes silent. What are they planning—or what happened to them?
7 A lawful-aligned outsider appears in an area of sacred ground that was previously the focus of a three-sided civil war.
8 A freighter full of humanitarian supplies goes missing in a wasteland thought to be inhabited by monsters.
9 Though they have ceased hostilities, two rival groups can’t agree on the terms of peace and require outside arbitration.
10 A retiring warlord bequeaths their lands and goods to a group of offworlders they’ve supposedly never met before.
11 There’s a murder at a neutral meeting between factions, but the obvious suspect is a little bit too obvious.
12 A new faction joins the chaotic political landscape when the plants and animals of a large stretch of wilderness suddenly become sapient.
13 People flock to a charismatic new demagogue. Anyone who hears them speak becomes a convert.
14 A desperate faction requires assistance to bring a holy figure to an important location behind enemy lines.
15A peacekeeping group on a world on the brink of war goes quiet.
16 A minor faction is so desperate for offworld help that it has just kidnapped a prominent offworld personality.
17 The underdog faction in a minor war looks offworld for mercenary assistance, offering higher pay than they should be able to afford.
18 A profiteering offworld corporation secretly hoards a key natural resource that the world’s factions has long fought over.
19 A key contact for offworld visitors was killed in a minor raid. What happens to visiting adventurers now?
20 An interstellar criminal cartel suborns local clans into providing them with illicit goods, such as dangerous drugs.

Leadership System

Source Galaxy Exploration Manual pg. 100
Roleplaying game campaigns, even open-ended ones, often revolve around a handful of individuals of steadily growing competence and renown while facing an array of foes in battle. This classic model is reliable for a campaign, but what if players are placed in command of some kind of organization: a military unit, a political campaign, a business, a cult, or something else? In these cases, the leadership system comes into play.
In the leadership system, PCs manage an organization: a group of people with some sense of collective identity. The party is in charge as a group, although a single PC might serve as the nominal head. For instance, one PC might take on the position of CEO for a business with the other PCs representing members of the board or other high executives.
The leadership system isn’t a mechanical boost or a campaign reward, nor is it strictly tied to a character’s progression; rather, the system follows the logic of an ongoing campaign. In some cases, running and improving the PCs’ organization could be central to the campaign’s victory conditions. Perhaps the PCs are underbosses of an Akitonian crime ring, and their goal in the campaign is to forge an interstellar criminal network stretching from Verces to Absalom Station. The organization might exist in the background, allowing for a different style of campaign to unfold. Perhaps the PCs command a deep-space exploratory vessel, and the organization is their trusty crew, gaining in ability and confidence just as the PCs do.
The leadership system here presents a framework that GMs and other players can flesh out together, depending on the circumstances of their campaign, and can represent anything from the Corpse Fleet to the Absalom Station Orchid Fanciers’ Club.


Source Galaxy Exploration Manual pg. 100
Every organization has the following characteristics. See the Organizations table below for level-based guidance on an organization’s statistics.
Level: Each organization has a level, which helps inform its other statistics and is generally equal to 2 lower than the PCs’ level. The GM might allow extra adventures to raise it to a maximum of 2 higher than the PCs’ level.
Followers: These people aren’t a formal part of the organization but devote some share of their energies to it. They might be loyal customers, adoring fans, social media followers, voters, worshipers, and so forth. Followers have their own lives but are reasonably dedicated to the organization. For every follower, there are another five to 10 people with a casual interest toward the organization. Followers are always CR 1/3.
Members: These people are full-time members of the organization. They’re a military organization’s soldiers, a political campaign’s permanent staff and volunteers, or a business’s employees. They carry out their assigned duties and are assumed to be loyal—but not fanatically so—to the organization’s leadership. Members are much lower CR than the PCs’ level. While membership covers a spread of CRs, generally, each higher CR has half as many people in it as the CR before it; for example, a 6th-level organization with 14 members will probably have two CR 1 members, four CR 1/2 members, and eight CR 1/3 members.
Lieutenants: These people are more important full-time employees of the organization—the priests, the military officers, the social media representatives, and so forth. They follow the same CR spread as members. Often, one or more lieutenants will be fully realized NPCs, serving as figureheads for the organization.
Power: At the GM’s discretion, an organization can be called upon to act mechanically by performing skill checks. Perhaps a PC-run military unit can identify a new alien threat, or the promoter for the PCs’ music group can try to score a record deal. In this case, the PCs roll a d20 on behalf of the organization and add its power bonus. The GM determines whether the organization can use the appropriate skill and assigns the DC according to the difficulty of what the PCs attempt to achieve.


LevelFollowersMembersMember CRLieutenantsLieutenant CRPower

Using Organizations

Source Galaxy Exploration Manual pg. 100
Tending a gradually growing organization is a satisfying use of leadership in a campaign that features it; the players succeed when their organization does, and they gradually become potentates of various sorts. There are several other ways to use organizations more actively in a campaign.
A campaign that has the PCs running an organization should occasionally call for power checks, much as it might call for Diplomacy or Stealth checks. If the PCs lead a band, for instance, they might use their organization’s power checks to get into restricted social gatherings, mobilize flash mobs, or sic lawyers on those using their music without permission.
Organizations can also pay the PCs a salary. This option can be one way for the GM to get the expected wealth per level into PC hands in otherwise remote or treasure-light campaigns.
Organizations can serve as sources of friendly NPCs and safe locations, and a campaign that features an organization should give the PCs plenty of chances to talk with their allies, employees, and supporters. Giving players a chance to customize a home base or the ability to recruit NPCs they like into their organization can lead to fun storytelling opportunities.
Finally, the organization can serve as a source of plot points and adventures for the PCs, who are the highest-level and most powerful characters in the organization and likely to be called on when trouble arises. However, GMs should be cautious about making the organization feel like a liability. Ideally, the PCs should want to initiate adventures themselves to expand or strengthen their organization.

Organization Npcs

Source Galaxy Exploration Manual pg. 101
Not all organizations have followers, members, and lieutenants attached to them. If the PCs run a church, then having priests (lieutenants), deacons and acolytes (members), and worshipers (followers) makes sense. If the PCs are social media influencers, then they might have many followers but only a few lawyers and accountants (lieutenants). A ship’s crew might have only crew (members) and officers (lieutenants).