Age Of Tyrants: Learning About The Draconis Alba Galaxy

July 13, 2015 by crew

Thanks for checking us out. In this article I'd like to fill you in a little on Age of Tyrant's gaming universe. It's been in development since 2000, where it all started with the Void game. I developed the background and co-designed that game with John Grant, based on an original concept by John Robertson, Ricardo Pinto and John Grant.


Then I went on to write a few force books for it. Since then it's been further developed with Void 1.1, Urban War and Metropolis, with additional material by Bill Ward and John Robertson. Now Age of Tyrants, which uses some of Bill's original timeline material is the latest game to be set in the Draconis Alba galaxy.

The Galaxy

Draconis Alba is a large, spiral galaxy in an alternate universe. Just like our universe human life evolved there, on a a planet called Viridia in a binary star system in the southwestern quadrant. Viridia orbits a spectral class G yellow star called Viridia Solaris, which in turn orbits the dead supergiant, Leviathan.


In the distant past, the Viridians suffered an ecological disaster which saw much of their world's surface flood when their planet's ice caps melted. After this catastrophe a single world government arose from the ruins, rebuilt and began exploring space.

The Viridians' space exploration agency, VASA, soon developed a method of faster than light travel called grav-shunting. This technology involved firing high energy x-ray laser beams into the gravity wells around massive objects, for example planets or dead stars. Doing so expanded the gravity wells, connecting them via sub-space wormholes to other known gravity wells. With such a tunnel open, a craft could pass through it cutting out light years of travel.

Faster than light travel enabled humans to quickly spread through the galaxy, colonising worlds to exploit their resources and build new homes for the burgeoning ranks of humanity. This galaxy spanning civilisation has become known as Pan-Humanic Space.

Viridia Ironglass

Before they even ventured far outside their local system though, the colonies around Viridia Solaris and Leviathan fractured, breaking away from Viridia's central governance in a series of secessionist wars. This period of upheaval gave rise to the four dominant powers in the galaxy today.

These are the Viridians themselves, the Imperialist Junkers from the desert planet Ironglass, the technologically advanced Syntha of Prime, and finally VASA. VASA, the one time space exploration agency now now acts as the Protectorate, a galactic policing agency that monitors traffic through the grav wells and charges excise duties on it.

For a long time after the last war of secession peace reigned throughout the galaxy, and the serious business of colonisation and expansion got underway. A plethora of smaller, independent powers were established, some by fighting against their rulers following the model of violent secession, others by treaty and diplomacy.

Cover Art

The major powers developed their own niches for exploration and settlement, with the Junkers specialising in arid worlds, Viridians jungle and oceanic worlds, Syntha in their exotic planetoids and asteroids, and VASA with their icebound grav well outposts.

Communications over the vast distances were handled by sub-ether relays, a method of instantaneously transferring data over vast distances. The technology shared similarities with grav-shunting, but involved transfer of digital packets rather than physical objects. SecNet, the early military network that utilised this technology persists. There are a number of commercial communications networks built on the back of it, and the security forces of each power still use it.

Pan Humanic Space became a hotbed of political experimentation and evolution, and many systems ranging from liberal and collectivist utopias to repressive dictatorships were tried. Some thrived, many failed and were absorbed back into into the folds of the original powers.

The State Of Play

Much of the galaxy remains off limits to the descendants of those original pioneers from the Viridia Solaris-Leviathan system. There are large voids, many light years across, where no suitable objects for grav shunting have been identified. A further limitation of the technology is the boundary of the galaxy. For the time being, grav-shunting is unable to bridge the vast gulfs between galaxies.


Beyond the homeworlds of Viridia Solaris-Leviathan, the most wealthy and powerful colonies are known as Gate Worlds. These are so-called because of their proximity to stable grav-wells, making them hubs for commerce and travel. VASA pays particular attention to the security and welfare of such worlds, as galactic trade depends heavily on them and they are also of strategic military importance.

Peace is always a transient and febrile thing though, and after all the obvious worlds were occupied and the great frontiers of the galaxy shrank, the major powers began to cast covetous glances at one another's colonies and resources.

For a long time hostilities were covert between the powers. They'd fight proxy wars against one another, supplying arms and special forces support to rebels on worlds where the locals chafed against their current homeworld rulers. The Treaty of Vacillus always prevented the homeworlds directly acting against one another, and even in the Age of Tyrants this holds true. Since the wars of secession, no homeworld power has directly violated the homeworld of another signatory.

However, in the Age of Tyrants, the homeworld powers have broken with centuries of tacit agreement to openly pit armies against one another. This is one of the most dangerous periods in the history of Pan-Humanic Space, threatening to engulf all of human civilisation in a galaxy spanning maelstrom of war.

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Mark Brendan & John Robertson

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