The player characters are freelance pathfinders, salvage hunting teams, and treasure hunters. They wander around the Consortium gate worlds and the frontier systems of the Edge in their voidjammers, exploring wrecked starships, the ruins of ancient alien cultures, and abandoned metacorporation colonies in hopes of finding lost knowledge and riches.
The characters often form small teams crewing a heavily customized spaceships, commonly known as voidjammers. These versatile spaceships are usually outfitted for salvage hunting and exploration missions in remote alien worlds or forgotten colony worlds filled with threats ranging from space pirates to meteor showers and alien phenomena. Typical voidjammers are small or medium sized refitted military crafts, cargo tugs or space exploration vehicles that can be operated with a small crew.
Salvaging an old ship wreck floating in space might sound like a piece of cake, but more often than not it is anything but easy. Still functional sentinel drones, competing salvage crews, savage marauders, and alien predators are just a few examples of the possible threats a rifter crew might encounter.
Most normal ship crews earn their living by trading, smuggling, collecting salvage, bounty hunting or by doing various odd-jobs. Usually this is enough to keep the crew flying, but it does not really make anyone rich. To find anything of real value, you will need to head into the hyperstorm. The rifters are courageous and crazy enough to defy the dangers of the Lost Expanse in the hopes of finding valuable artifacts or knowledge.
The voidjammer crews are not typically after some easy scrap metal that can barely pay for the fuel and upkeep of their voidjammer. They are after more valuable bounties like lost military intel, influential people surviving in cryo-sleep, alien artifacts, restricted nanoforge blueprints, forgotten technology or rare resources like amatium.
Classes and Archetypes
The rifters have different roles that reflect their innate talents or earlier career. There are five distict character Classes and each of them is separated to further specializations, called Archetypes, which provide the characters with skills and special perks that make them stand out from the others. Each of the classes will unlock certain options for the character group’s own voidjammer ship.
- Aristo – Merchants, nobles and envoys
- Merc – Bounty hunters, heavy weapon specialists and snipers
- Nanokinetic – Kinetics, nanohackers and symbiotics
- Rifter – Pilots, explorers and rangers
- Rogue – Inflitrators, assassins and smugglers
- Nomad – Salvagers and survivalists
- Sentinel – Cybernetically augmented crusaders
- Techsavant – Engineers and medics
- Voyant – Biomystics, telepaths and clairvoyants
There are certain crew positions that the voidjammer needs to have. The first one is always the pilot and the second one an engineer. The other crew positions are determined by the voidjammer’s type. For example a refitted patrol craft might make use of a gunner and an exploratory vessel a sensor’s operator.
Each of the crew positions require certain Spaceship Proficiencies, but they also provide the characters with a selection of skills and additional proficiencies to choose from.
The crew positions are:
- Pilot – Pilots the ship and acts as the navigator for the hyperjumps.
- Engineer – Takes care of the ships technical systems like reactors, shields and life support. Engineers can also perform emergency repairs during the combat.
- Command – Acts as the captain of the ship or in other commanding positions coordinating the actions of the other crew members.
- Gunner – Operates the ship’s different weapon systems.
- Sensors – Operates the sensors, electronic warfare and counter measures of the ship.
A single crew member can also handle multiple positins, like pilot and shoot the ships main weapons, but in these cases the crew member cannot use any of the systems to their full potential.
Also, multiple crew members can man different positions in a ship and share different operations of that post. For example multiple engineers can handle different systems of the ship. One could take care of the shields and energy distribution while another engineer could handle emergency repairs during the combat.
There can be also other positions in a ship, like the medical officer or the security officer, but these positions do not have a critical function during space combats.