[ The Ancients ]
[The Star League]
[Rise Of The Dragons]
[From The Ashes]
[The Empire Today]
[A Tour Of The Empire]
[The Long Road]
[The Throne Worlds]
[ The Dark Zone]
A Galactic history in brief...
The setting for this game is within a spiral galaxy known in the Empire as the Serpent's Eye. It is believed the galaxy was so named because to early astronomers the galactic plane in the night sky looked like the slit pupil of a great celestial snake. At 150,000 light years in diameter, the galaxy is the largest in the Near Star Cluster. The spiral arms, including the one in which the Dragon Empire is located, arc about 2,000 light years thick. The galaxy's globular core is 2,000 light years in diameter and more than 5,000 light years thick, and it is incredibly dense with ancient red stars .
The Serpent's Eye is just one of literally trillions of galaxies that fill the universe with light and matter. Imperial cosmologists estimate that the universe is about 20 billion years old. Scientists and clerics of the Unification Church agree that it was created by the gods in a titanic explosion of energy both magical and mundane. Evidence of this explosion can be observed today in the microwave radiation that pervades the universe and the arcane energy that flows through this ocean of space like invisible currents.
The scientists and clergy also agree the gods created the universe such that it would obey certain immutable physical laws. As a result, the universe is a very ordered place. Even the entropy that draws it toward it's destruction is an axiomatic principle to which everything in the universe is subservient. This order allows scientists to study and understand the universe: it allows engineers to harness that understanding in the crafting of more sophisticated tools; and it even allows wizards and sorcerers to learn and cast spells that channel arcane energy with astonishing accuracy and predictability .
Gravity is the dominate force at work in the universe, it is the glue the universe uses to bind matter in a discernible structure. Gravity causes the gaseous matter to coalesce first into great clouds and then into stars. It causes planets to form and draws them into orbit around the stars. It pulls the stars together to create galaxies, and the galaxies together to create clusters and superclusters. To clerics of the Unification Church, gravity is the hand of the gods, the divine touch that draws the universe together and binds it.
Entropy is always at work in the universe, but it works in ordered and predictable ways. The universe is expanding, the galaxies and superclusters moving away from each other at dizzying speeds. Eventually, the universe will expand sufficiently that it will freeze it's self out , or it will collapse in on it's self in a second fiery explosion. Dualist Clerics believe that when this happens, a new universe will born from the old in the eternal cycle of destruction and renewal guided by the Creator and the Adversary .
While there are billions of stars in the galaxy uncounted trillions in the universe , the people of the Dragon Empire and their predecessors only a relative handful. The Empire is a rough sphere of space about 1,000 light years in diameter straddling the galactic plan about 50,000 light years from the core. The volume of space encompasses some 1.5 million stars and imperial explorers have visited perhaps a third of them. Of these 500,000 star systems, the most recent estimates indicate that only about a thousand have been colonized by the Empire.
The reasons for this are many. First, most of the stars in the Empire, and the entirety of the known galaxy, are of little interest to explorers and colonists . Only half of them have planetary systems. Of those, only a fraction support life or offer rare resources . Astronomers identify and catalog these stars, and explorers typically pass them by in favor of stars more likely to reward their efforts. Second, interstellar exploration is expensive. Starships must be built, crews must be trained, star casters must be crafted, and the ships must be equipped and provisioned for lengthy voyages. Even the Empire has a limited number of expeditions it can finance each year, and it therefore focuses on those likely to provide a healthy return on investment. Third, sustaining lines of communication, supply, and trade with a far-flung colony can be even more expensive and challenging . For the royal houses , it's much more efficient to develop those systems in relatively close proximity to their domains. And finally, with every expedition along the frontier, the Outlands grow and new worlds are discovered. As the borders of the Empire continue to expand , new stars are added to the charts so quickly that explorers can't keep up with them.