Recruitment Poster
Recruitment Poster
An Astropunk setting with a retro 1950's space-age flair. This document covers notes used during the writing of this story and is a work in progress.

In the vast tapestry of the multiverse, a reflection of the familiar emerges—a realm where the golden age of the atom takes center stage, and the stars themselves become the canvas for humanity's aspirations. As happens, powerful notions reverberate across realities, mirroring the mid-twentieth-century ethos, styles, and ideas onto an interstellar canvas.

Riders of the Stars recounts tales not of our earthly past or future but of a unique universe, a world both familiar and markedly different.

Within this cosmic expanse, humanity embarks on its journey alongside other species, notably the grays. Before the arrival, a society filled with hope thrived—the Union of Stars (UOS)—locked in a struggle against the encroaching menace of the Democratic Worlds Alliance (DWA), an imminent communist threat. Yet, profound darkness loomed—an ancient, seemingly immortal people desired to reshape the fabric of reality. But they pushed too hard, opening a door that should have remained closed, and the Kraal arrived, driven by an insatiable quest.

The galaxy was never the same.

Spoiler Warning: The contents INCLUDE SPOILERS for the books.



Calaman Empire

Formed by a former UOS general who turned rogue in response to the Wardens’ cleansing, this collective of UOS worlds has evolved into a totalitarian regime under the rule of an “Emperor.”


Following the collapse of the UOS and DWA, numerous smaller governments emerged, each operating independently. Though lacking formal acknowledgement, these entities are commonly labeled as “colonies.”


In the aftermath of the cleansing, numerous cults have emerged as people struggle to find a connection to a greater power and understanding. Worship practices vary, encompassing folk creatures like the Sasquatch and reverence for abstract concepts like “the atom.” However, among the most unsettling are those cults that venerate the Kraal.

Democratic Worlds Alliance (DWA)

A foreign power opposing the Union of Stars (UOS). While sharing cultural similarities, the DWA boasts a communist government. Tensions escalated over time, leading to fears of a looming conflict. The People’s Liberators stand as remnants of the dissolved DWA government.

Galaxy Express

This prestigious pre-arrival fleet comprises luxury ships that maintain a continuous moving circuit through the stars to avoid Kraal attacks. Each ship has become a distinct sovereign entity. These ships are highly automated, featuring robot services categorized as 1-9, 2-9, 3-9, 4-9, and so forth. Securing access to these ships is extremely challenging, usually limited to those with blood relation to an existing relation. However, on rare occasions, individuals may obtain tickets through specific connections. Visiting a Galaxy Express as a non-citizen is possible but requires an invitation from a ship resident. Prominent vessels in the fleet include 6-9 and 3-9. Six-Nine hosts the Calloway Academy—an institution for exceptional children, imparting military and leadership skills to groom them as future leaders. Three-Nine has ceased communication but continues its circuit as a ghost ship.


Before the war, Ordyne operated as a prominent corporation with extensive connections to various other corporate entities, frequently playing a central role in military-industrial complex research projects. However, beneath its public facade lies a clandestine history dating back to the Ordus Deus Irae—a secretive organization shrouded in mystery that predates the cleansing. Led by the enigmatic figure known as Suzerain, few are aware of the organization’s true origins.

Raiders and Pirates

A diverse array of land-based and space-based factions. Whether acting as opportunistic groups or under the command of ruthless warlords, these marauders have inflicted havoc on both terrestrial settlements and the space lanes. Raiders instill fear in planetary settlements, looting resources and enslaving populations. Pirates use agile and heavily armed spacecraft to engage in theft, extortion, and illegal trade as they target trade lanes or assert dominance over regions of space.


If any faction is rightfully the true remnant of the Old Union, it’s SAINT. As the former intelligence division of the Union, they safeguard ancient government enclaves, archives, and vaults. Remarkably, some of these repositories house preserved figures like the president, senators and officials from the bygone Union era, cryogenically suspended in time. Although not heavily armed, thus far SAINT has successfully thwarted the Wardens from seizing full control of all Union Military facilities.

Star Federation

A distinct entity from the UOS, the Star Federation strives to shape a new societal structure. Operating as a loosely interconnected network, they embrace a federated republic style of governance. The Star Rangers hold a seat on the senate and serve as a loosely affiliated military force. Crossing both the defunct DWA and UOS, the Star Federation does not recognize the authority of the Wardens and Liberators, viewing them on par with raiders and warlords. Each world within the Star Federation functions as an independent state. Communication within worlds relies on shortwave radios at on-world settlements and deep link ansibles for interstellar connectivity.

Star Rangers

Initially the exploration arm of the UOS, the Star Rangers played a pivotal role post-collapse in uniting a new government known as the Star Federation. Often in conflict with the Wardens and Liberators, the Rangers function as pragmatic troops rather than heavily militarized forces. Troop leaders also serve as official traveling judges. Their equipment prioritizes survival, with their mech frames excelling in space capabilities, maneuverability, and shielding but lagging in ballistic capabilities compared to corps mech units.

Star Traders

An informal alliance of merchants navigating between worlds that can still sustain trade, the Star Traders are connected by a network of Jumpships still maintained by the enigmatic grays.

Union of Stars (UOS)

[defunct] The original government of over three-quarters of the known star systems, now colloquially known as “the old Union.” Apprehension of a conflict with the DWA triggered the widespread construction of nuclear shelters and enclaves on both sides. The Wardens, remnants of the UOS military, adamantly assert their legitimacy and reject the term “Old Union.”

Venator Brotherhood (Venators)

A tightly knit collective of self-proclaimed void-terror and Kraal hunters dedicated to tracking down and confronting the most sinister and perilous entities within the void, including formidable adversaries like Deathmarks.


Originating from a collective of generals spanning the original Army, Sky, and Fleet Corps of the UOS to combat the Kraal menace, they ultimately resorted to nuclear strikes on the worlds they sought to protect. Driven by the belief that dispersing populations will ultimately force the Kraal to retreat and vanish, the Wardens display fervent dedication, zealously obliterating settlements or gatherings perceived as overly substantial. While rejecting the authority of the Star Federation, they reluctantly acknowledge the authority of the Star Rangers, even forming treaties to demarcate separate territories of control.


A UOS planet where the Atom Bomb Baby saga unfolds, Arcadia was originally among the larger worlds of the Union of Stars.

Bunkers, Enclaves, Vaults

Fearing escalating nuclear tensions between the UOS and DWA, underground shelters proliferated. Enclaves are town-sized shelters with completely closed-loop ecosystems, usually created by local municipalities. In contrast, Bunkers generally refer to smaller complexes suited for only a handful of people. Vaults are shelters specifically oriented to storing critical information, technology, or other items (such as notable people placed into cryosleep to avoid attracting the Kraal). Despite their size, they usually don’t have enough life-support systems for more than a handful of people. Vaults are sought after by many as a trove of valuable supplies. SAINT works hard to keep the government vaults hidden.


Situated in Arcadia, Fenclave refers to the Fen Enclave established by the local county government (a common word suffix, “-clave,” denotes enclaves). Managed by the Commissioner, appointed before the arrival, it played a crucial role in the region’s survival strategy.

Lostar 5

Rumors suggest that Lostar 5 might be a sanctuary from Void Storms.


The world where Rainwood and Moonbeam came from before visiting Arcadia.


Due to the menace of the Kraal and influenced by the Wardens, human settlements have become dispersed, implementing a soft rule that limits the cohabitation of no more than 100 people in close proximity

The Citadel

A large space-station complex run by Ordyne, which was destroyed.

Void Storm

Dangerous storms which roll across all of the worlds. It’s believed to be a side-effect from the cleansing nuclear bombs, combining with the Kraal’s extra-dimensional nature. Void Storms create mutations in flora and fauna, with either “gaunt” like creatures, often thought of as zombie-like (humans are the growler form of void gaunts), and also terror-mutated forms that are enlarged and change to nightmarish things. These are called “void” creatures (or in some cases, they gain a name of their own, like the Deathmarks).


Mainframe-level computers exhibit some limited personal functionality, primarily in the form of AstroComs.

Interstellar Communication

Long-range communication faces limitations. Relays involve a “pony express” approach, using holo-tapes manually transported by couriers, or sent by short bursts through jump points where relays exist.

Mechanized Armor

The advent of robots is accompanied by an array of human-enhancing suits known as Mechs. These versatile suits find applications in utility, exploration, and warfare.

Power Sources

Nuclear reactors and other atomic technology dominate the power landscape, reflecting the envisioned mid-twentieth-century aesthetics.


Robots exhibit a diverse array of shapes and sizes, each meticulously designed to fulfill specific roles and assist their human counterparts effectively.

Space Travel

Lift/Boost drives are used for atmospheric and breaking atmosphere conditions, relying on electric plasma jets (aided by nuclear reactors), less commonly, chemical rocket turbines. Slipstream drives, designed for near-space and within solar systems, employ a space warping mechanism rather than conventional kinetics. Their speed varies, ranging from a maximum of 2AU per day to a more typical rate of around 0.5 AU per day. Jump drives utilize less understood Gray technology to expand micro-wormholes scattered throughout the universe, allowing ships to traverse them. These drives navigate known and plotted wormholes, with transit times being random and unpredictable, not necessarily based on distance. Wormholes are often located 8AU from stars, prompting ships to use a slipstream drive to reach the solar system’s edge before engaging the jump drive.


Holo-tapes and holo-drives are the primary means of data storage. Holo-tapes are commonly employed for portable data transfer, while holo-drives, being larger in size, fulfill storage needs on a larger scale.

Tech Level

The technological landscape predominantly reflects mid-twentieth-century capabilities. However, there are some anachronistic elements, such as advanced space travel, robotics, and artificial intelligence.


Analog technology rules the domain; there is no digital video.

AM-25 Rifle

The workhorse of the UOS military, this is a semi-automatic to automatic rifle that supports many configurations.

Scene — Concept
Scene — Concept

Airships, resembling dirigibles, were once versatile vessels serving various purposes on-world, including military applications for power projection. However, since the arrival, the use of airships has become predominantly confined to military forces.


An airskiff represents a less-common form of hover-car transportation utilized for various purposes.

Arbiter (Rifle)

An elite version of the AM-25 specifically designed for special forces.

Autocannon, Chaingun

Autocanons and Chainguns are varieties of large-caliber cannons used througout the military, featuring fixed barrels (as opposed to the rotating barrels of a Minigun). They are too large to mount on a Mech armor frame, and are instead found on larger vehicles, such as the HWG-125 transport and Airships.

Buzz-cannon — M7

The M7 Buzz-cannon was conceived to fulfill the desire for a portable variant of the GA5 minigun (although it lacks rotating cannons). The M7 surpasses the standard AM-25 machinegun in size, requiring only the most robust soldiers to wield it effectively.

'Hog' tilt-thrust transport
'Hog' tilt-thrust transport
HWG-125 "Hog" Transport

A common military transport aircraft with tilt-thrust jet pods mounted on the ends of stubby wings to support vertical and horizontal flight modes.

M-150 Rifle

A sniper’s long-range rifle.

Mechanized Armor (MR-35 Ranger)
Mechanized Armor (MR-35 Ranger)
Mechanized Armor (Mechs)

Along with robots come many human-type mechanized vehicles for exploration and warfare, including mechanized suits of armor (aka Mechs). Mechs are suits of articulated, mechanized armor, which often will include environmental seals, allowing soldiers to be in many extreme conditions—although not all units can support the vacuum of space. Within the UOS, there were three generations of mech frames:

  • First Gen — Ogre (MA-15)
  • Second Gen — Griffin (MA-27)
  • Third Gen — Banshee (MA-35)

The first-generation Ogre frames are the most prevalent, with the Griffin reasonably being less common, while the Banshees remain rare—being only in early development during the arrival. Designations for mech frames with vacuum/space capabilities conclude with an S, such as MA-35S. Rangers use an MR-xx frame naming system instead. Ranger frames are always space-worthy, boasting agility and jet packs while sacrificing some ballistic armament.


The Medipak is a combination of human medicine and alien sanan fluid, conveniently packaged in an easy applicator. It is designed for battlefield use, particularly for treating mild to moderate injuries. The medicines include stimulants, and the sanan fluid is a concoction contributed by the alien Grays, which has surprisingly accelerated healing properties. While Medipaks won’t fully heal heavy trauma, they can assist in stabilizing the patient even in such critical situations.

Production of Medpaks faced disruptions during the arrival, but due to their highly valuable properties, various power groups have since repaired the affected facilities. Medpaks remain readily available, although other medicines such as antibiotics are scarce.

Minigun - GA5 and GA7

GA5 and GA7 — A rotary barrel Gatling-style machine gun common throughout all three branches of the Union Corps. It must be fixed to a hard-mount (such as on a mech), as it’s too powerful to be used by an individual. The GA5 fires a smaller caliber bullet (5mm) vs the 7mm used by the GA7.


A highly enigmatic species that most people believe to be folklore. Only a handful are known to exist, and rarely do they admit it if encountered. They can do minor shapeshifting and may appear as different people depending upon how they choose. It’s also believed they are immortal. Nobody knows if or how they propagate their species.

It is speculated that Suzerain is a Chronus.


Frightening void creatures that come from the void storms. It’s thought they come from void-mutated humans, and can be found across all the worlds.


Grays are smaller humanoid creatures with gray skin. They are less prolific than Humans but will intermingle, although typically, they live in their Burroughs.


Humans make up a majority of the people of the galaxy.


Kraal come from beyond known time and space. Nobody knows why they arrived nor what their purpose is. They are attracted to large gatherings of people (100+) and can move between areas using corners. Seeing them alone usually paralyzes somebody with terror, and being in their presence is painful and extra-worldly.

Since arrival and cleansing, their visitations are much less common, and many settlements have started accepting people beyond 100 without a problem. Some people hope they are gone for good and things can return to normal. Others aren’t so sure.

Muties or "Mutes"

Mutes are Humans and Greys that have developed stable mutational variations due to the void effects. This can include extra-human abilities, usually around environmental things like water breathing, spitting acid, or hybrid super-animal traits, rather than comic-book style superheroes (no telekinetic flight, for example).


Void-mutated water creature, likely related to crawdads, but with horrific mutations including not only size, but tentacles.

Void Toad
Void Toad
Void Toads

Super-sized toads, these are a common mutation found universally across all the worlds.

Void Wisps

Maelevolent floating sacs of toxic gas, often thought of as airborne jellyfish with a bad temper.

Before the arrival, societal styles were very focused on classic ‘space-age’ things from the 1950s, such as big fins, rockets, and glamorized forms of many consumer items.

Personal ruggedized autonomous computers that have a variety of purposes, around 8 x 6 x 4 in width, height, and depth. Powered using small fusion cells, which rarely need to be replaced—commonly attached on a harness at the waist or around the wrist as one would a watch (if it were significantly larger).


One of the largest conglomerate corporations from before the war, they produced everything from toothpaste to rocket systems and everything in between. They have a recognizable branding, mainly from the broad line of consumer goods.

Atomic Cakes

Sugary soft cakes in several flavors, including chocolate, banana, and vanilla, with a frosted topping. Whatever methods were used in manufacturing these, they are still around 25 years later.

Frosted Sugar Bombs

Who doesn’t want sugar-coated crunchy something for breakfast cereal?

Fuzzy Kat
Fuzzy Kat
Fuzzy Kat

A prolific brand that featured a cat and his other animal friends in many roles, always with closed eyes, a cheesy grin, and a “potato” type sitting position, with stubby feet, no arms, and a bean-bag base. Popular with both boys and girls, Fuzzy Kat had gendered styles for each.

Jet Atomics

Maker of most of the Mech armor frames in the UOS.


NukaRancher, NukaPop

Popular sugar candy.

Pop-A-Cola, Pop-Up

A popular brand of soda across all the UOS worlds. Also had Pop-Up as an energy drink.

Rocket Ace

A prolific brand of consumer merchandise, usually centered around travel supplies and gear, from luggage to whatever the modern jet-setting individual may need in their travel.

  • Holo-tape not Holotape
  • Rocketship not Rocket ship
  • Badland not Wasteland
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