Better description of the Norma Arm forthcoming, but in the meantime, bullets:

  • The Norma Arm is 10x more star-dense than the galactic average (which itself is 10x greater than the Solar System’s Orion–Cygnus Arm).
  • It’s a jungle of young stars. Tons of metal-rich red giants, lots of new proto-stars forming from the stardust of beautiful nebulae.
  • Numerous races; most/all were immigrants from other parts of the galaxy.
  • Some races maintain a significant starborne military presence, which has allowed them to expand and maintain control over muliple—sometimes dozens—of systems.
  • Terrans became one of the Arm’s more recent arrivals (700 years ago), after taking a desperate leap of faith through the slipstream to avoid destruction at the hands of their own AI-run-amok creations (see: Terraformers).
  • Terran expansion quickly made the Commonwealth one of the systems great powers, but following the path of many empires, they now find themselves starting to crumble from over-expansion and decentralization.
  • The regional powers’ territorial ambitions seem to have reached a temporary equilibrium. Although tense relationships certainly exist, and small-scale skirmishes, pirate raids, and small scale rebellions are commonplace, the races of the Arm are experiencing a pleasant respite from all-out war.
  • By d20 Progress Levels, most of the races are functioning at PL7, with plenty of holdover tech from PL6. Some isolated worlds backslide into even earlier technological levels, while a genius researcher might occasionally stumble upon some piece of proto-PL8 tech.
  • Short distance (i.e., atmospheric and intra-system) space travel can be undertaken with a variety conventional thrusters and drives; longer distance (i.e., interstellar) travel—splicing into the slipstream as a shortcut to a distant location—is achieved with special jump drives. (See: Starships)
  • Gamma Tempests are dangerous storms that occasionally break out of the slipstream and blast areas of space with electromagnetic interference, radiation, and tumultuous photon blasts. While unlikely to destroy a sturdy, well-insulated ship, Pilots in the midst of a Tempest fly completely blind, with no sensors and no means of outside communication. When the Tempest passes, Ships often find themselves hours or even days off course, but such is the cost of doing business in the Arm.

Notable Commonwealth Systems

Terra Renatum Sector

Crossroads Sector

Alklha Wastes Sector

The Significance of §

I’m just using § symbols to temporarily denote a system’s relevance in the Arm; very roughly estimated based on population, resources, location, etc.

§ = Poor, backwater world on (or beyond) the edge of civilization

§§ = Distant or low-resource system, likely off well-beaten paths

§§§ = A moderately important system with some desirable characteristic; sizable populations or valuable resources, or perhaps a well-traveled waystation between more important systems.

§§§§ = Densely populated worlds; could be home to bustling metropolises or centers of industry; only exceeded in importance by a race’s homeworlds/core worlds.

§§§§§ = A home, capital, or core world; staggeringly massive populations; seats of government; well-defended by police and military. Most often, for a free hauler, all the tariffs, taxes, red tape, labor unions, criminal organizations, etc. make these worlds a bigger headache than what they’re worth. Thus, they’ll typically deliver to a port further out and let the local company haulers carry loads the rest of the way.


Trades of Terra Norma trustywren