Dark Nova is a table-top roleplaying game set in the early 24th century. Mankind has spread out amongst the stars, discovered other races, and come face-to-face with its own nature. Centered around the loose coalition of nation-states known as the Terran Alliance of Nations, humanity still fights, engages in political intrigue, and is just as prone to acts of great brutality and nobility as they are today. They are not, however, alone.
The universe of Dark Nova is a dynamic- and often dangerous- place; similar in many ways to the 19th century with its combination of heavily-settled civilized Core Worlds and the dangerous Wild-West-like fringe colonies. Pirates, organized crime syndicates, predatory alien races, and good old fashioned internecine warfare threaten the safety of the galaxy. Countering them are the heroic Templars, the independent Freetraders who ply the dangerous spaceways and take the fight to the pirates, the fierce and honourable Ahruga, and the steadfast stubborn determination of colonists and adventurers of many races to fight back the darkness. The unique rule set and in-depth setting allow the players and the game-master create their own stories, living novels of their own experiences as they let their imaginations run rampant throughout the Dark Nova universe.
About the setting-
The setting of Dark Nova is based around the Terran Alliance of Nations. This swath of Human-settled space consists of dozens of major nations, including many independent systems and corporate or guild-run worlds. Central to the Terran Alliance are the Core Worlds. These worlds are the most heavily-settled planets in the human sphere, each having a population in the billions. The majority of these were the most habitable of the colony worlds settled during the first rush of settlement in the 22nd century. Some, however, are clusters of heavily populated capital worlds in distant territories such as the Andali Confederation and Tarsus Corridor Alliance, nations of Humanity born entirely among the stars. Core Worlds include the star system in which they exist, and are considered to be very safe and secure systems that are often the seat of governmental and industrial-economic power. Core World systems are heavily patrolled, both by law enforcement- local and Inter-System Police, the 24th century descendant of INTERPOL- and military patrols.
If the Core Worlds are the seat of civilization, the Fringe is its near-anarchic counterpoint. Defined by poorly equipped, oft-primitive, dangerous and sparsely-populated colonies, the Fringe is the outermost edge of human settlement. Some Fringe colonies are little more than shanty towns built from the freighters that landed the colonists there, while others are fortresses; armed camps that must repel constant raids from predatory aliens. Fringe space is dangerous, with diseases and ailments virtually extinct within the rest of the Alliance, and medical care is a century or more behind that of the Core Worlds. Adding to the dangers are the lack of terraforming on many worlds, the predations of pirates and alien raiders, civil unrest and uprisings, and many, many other challenges. With no Inter-System Police (ISP) presence, and military patrols measured in weeks rather than hours, colonial militias are often the only defense against these threats.
In between the civilized bastions of the Core Worlds and the Wild-West-like chaos of the Fringe lie the colonial territories. These areas make up the majority of the human sphere, comprising 88% of settled worlds. Like a sliding scale, the colonial territories vary in makeup from populous worlds with hundreds of millions of colonists to rough-and-tumble colonies only one or two steps up from a Fringe colony. The colonial territories are- as a rule- far more dangerous than the Core Worlds. Inter-System Police response is limited, usually reactionary rather than proactive, and military patrols are spread thin. In some ways, the colonial territories are far more dangerous than the Fringe. Great wealth exists within this region- both in the form of industrial and technological products and rich ores- and many factions exist who are more than happy to take it by force.
The universe of Dark Nova is populated with hundreds of races, dozens of which are starfaring species who have discovered jump technology (FTL). The players can choose races that are commonly found in known space- the genetically-enhanced Ahruga, lupine Garoudans, ubiquitous and adaptable Humans, the feline K’Thari, the arboreal Kyaren, the strange and charismatic Lyncrathi, the militant indigo Namaran, the Machiavellian Sarza, and the hyper-intelligent saurian Teek.
Game Mechanics Concepts-
Dark Nova is built around a setting-first, system-second principal, and as such the universe of the game was the focus of the system's development. We built the game to stand on its own merits rather than in order to compete with existing games. It was never intended to be fair, and there are no such Utopian concepts of class balance or the like. As in the real world, there are inherent pros and cons of just about everything- the Ahruga are undisputed masters of combat (especially close-quarters), but are probably not the best diplomats or negotiators, for example. The game is built around the pseudo-realism concept of "how would this work in the real world?" in everything from characters to technology.
Our system is complex enough to allow for a great deal of creativity on the parts of the players and GMs, while at the same time remaining simple enough to allow for quick and easy play. Above and beyond the system- and the most popular thing about the game with those who have purchased it thus far- is the rich, comprehensive setting that it was built on. The first eighty pages of the main manual is purely history, setting and background material, with dozens more pages of setting spread throughout the remainder of the book. This brings the universe of Dark Nova to life for the players, and gives the GM a huge universe with a lot of detailed and blank-slate environments to work with.