A New Old Frontier: Exploring the Okuda Cluster
This Thursday, viewers will be able to watch the very first episode of our new Lancer actual play, Let the World Burn Away. I’ve been hard at work crafting a larger story and initial set of inciting events – but I would be remiss if I didn’t say that I’d also been working on the setting as well. Lancer comes with a lot of built-in generalities of the larger setting but leaves a lot to be determined by the players and game master – and we’ve tailored that to our needs. So, before we dive into the game, let’s take a quick look at the history of our little corner of the Orion Arm: the Okuda Cluster.
Long ago, before Union, before even the Great Fall itself, it became apparent that the world was coming to an end. Earth was dying and could no longer sustain the enormity of the human population perched upon it. Enterprising organizations – nations, corporations, humanitarian missions – looked to the stars and constructed massive arks to launch to the myriad worlds they discovered that were close enough to Earth to sustain human populations. The ships – known as The Ten – took the small portions of humanity they could hold and set out for the stars for a generational trip to a new home, never to look back as Earth-bound humanity collapsed in upon itself.
One of those generational ships – the Amaterasu – set out for a point far distant and was never heard from again.
Thousands of years passed before the emergence of Union on Earth – now Cradle – and thousands more before its First Committee was violently replaced by what would come to be known as the tyrannical Second Committee – SecComm in more common parlance. Under the guise of preserving and maintaining humanity, SecComm steamrolled its way through the galaxy, establishing new colonies and subjugating those established by the efforts of humanity in the past.
In a spinward part of the Orion Arm, SecComm discovered a strange gathering of solar systems – a half dozen systems, all unusually close to each other. Instead of the years that blinked by while their troops faster-than-light, only weeks and months were required for the voyage between these systems. Dubbed the Okuda Cluster, such a rare find drew the gaze of every scientific mind in the Union.
That gaze found a pair of human colonies – Izanami and Izanagi – barely surviving on a pair of moons orbiting a planet in one of the systems. And – more interesting to SecComm’s eternal mission of human expansion – that gaze found numerous planets and moons within parameters for colonization. With a hundred years, SecComm colonization fleets arrived and drew the newly rediscovered colonies into the smothering bosom of SecComm’s Union.
Overseen from the administrative capital on Izanami in the Okuda Prime system, the Okuda Cluster became home to over two hundred colony worlds spread across six planetary systems. Although no worlds other than Izanami became truly powerful in the Cluster, the colonies were able to survive and grow under the watch of a SecComm backed government.
And then, one day, SecComm ceased to exist. After countless atrocities across the stars, a revolution on Cradle brought down the ruthless SecComm and replaced it with the more utopian gaze of ThirdComm. Over centuries, the tyranny of SecComm was torn down and the enlightenment of the Pillars of Utopia spread.
But not everywhere.
ThirdComm has taken a much less aggressive stance than its predecessor, carefully reaching out and not overextending itself. While those systems closest to the blink gates that bind the majority of humanity together receive the benefits of Union, the outer systems are left to their own devices. The Okuda Cluster is one of the latter.
The government out of Izanami, now claiming direct descent from the lost Amaterasu, has turned into a nobility class and still bears all the trademarks of SecComm’s overbearing methodology. Countless billions, perhaps trillions, of humans live, work, and die under the dictates of a government every bit as tyrannical as its founder. Life is difficult but humanity finds a way to survive.
And, in some cases, thrive.
Between the cracks of an oppressive government, opportunities for independent contractors have arisen. Called mercenaries by some and criminals by others, these organizations ply the space between planets in the Okuda Cluster, serving whatever causes will pay them to keep them fueled. Whether as smugglers making illegal transport runs between worlds or as private militaries for the rich nobles of the Cluster, these groups look like they’re here to stay…
That is at least until the eyes of Union once again look upon its wayward children…
You can read more about the Okuda Cluster and the world Let the World Burn Away takes place in on its World Anvil codex. New articles and information will be added to the codex as the game progresses.