“Someone I once loved gave me a box full of darkness. It took me years to understand that this too, was a gift”
― Mary Oliver
“The dark and all of its mysteries called to us. It lured us. We answered.
We ventured to farthest parts of the solar system. We mastered its hostile environments, seizing every resource. We ascended, piling skills upon talents in that dark beyond, but even our power had its limits. Our ships could only take us as far as the Oort cloud, and if we traveled any farther, we disappeared into the nothingness beyond. Even as we lost our brothers, our mothers, our friends to that space, we reveled in our accomplishments.
Maybe we could have returned to the Earth? How do you return to the cradle when you have seen those outer reaches? We abandoned the old world long before her oceans started to simmer beneath the heat of an exploding sun. We took our ships, built thriving space stations in the great beyond, all of us hovering just outside of the reach of the dying star. The void between the stars was too vast. We could never escape on our own. When Sol erupted, by then a terrifying red giant, she rained down upon us. Her destruction somehow blessed a precious few with new psychic abilities we might never come to fully understand.
A millennium later, humanity has changed, our flesh and souls evolved. We hover in deep space, upon the capitol ship of Cassiopeia. Nearby, the asteroid Carcosa hosts the Council, a hidden group of religious leaders who make the laws that bind us. The Reach molds us, changes who we are. Sometimes obvious. Changing our shapes, our limbs, our bodies. Sometimes darker, more subtle. A change we lose our souls and minds to. And if not the Reach, it is us. We carve ourselves into images, some grotesque, some beautiful, all of them more pleasing to our gods.
And we, the Theocytes of the Dead Star, wield the power of the Reach. We grasp through the primal dark, passing through space, and pull closer places we could only dream of: distant planets, strange asteroids, the blackest matter. With this, we could go anywhere, if we dare to risk the darkness beyond becoming a part of us.”
Cassiopeia is a science-fiction space opera, filled with exploration, political maneuvering, and devastating horror. Humanity has been blessed with terrible gift—a psychic magic that allows their priestesses to perform many feats, the most of important of which is called Reaching. With this, they can pull distant locations close, allowing humans to travel to places they previously only dreamed of.
On the space stations, the noble elite rule with an iron fist and religious order, the various families fighting over resources and planets. The Theocytes of the Dying Star are revered by all, women who control the power of Reach. The rest of humanity survives by taking on roles on the space station, or by risking their lives by traveling to far away worlds and establishing colonies dedicated and sanctified to the Order of the Dead Star.
All of this exists in a precarious balance. The Reach is a place of eldritch darkness, hungry to escape the confines of existing in-between the worlds. And every time a Theocyte performs her feats, they get a little closer to slipping through the gates and into our reality
The Elite: The Elite stand above all others, tracing their wealth and prestige back to the royalty of Old Earth. The Five Families, and their associated Liege families hold almost all of the political power, both acting as advisers and enforcement for the Council and the Theocytes of the Dead Star. In most situations, they wield their power with velvet glove, but they are never afraid to reveal the iron fist underneath.
Outsiders: Mankind long dreamed they were not alone, believing with all of their souls that they would find extra-terrestrial life with characteristics similar to their own. With the discovery of the Reach, mankind’s dreams and nightmares came true. For every familiar species, they found another that existed in ways humanity could never have imagined.
Reclaimers: The evolution of humanity is dictated not by one path, but many, and Reclaimers are proof to the new existences opened by the Reach. Standing at the front of any First Wave landing, Reclaimers act as shock troops, scouts, and craftspersons. These genetically flexible adventurers are an invaluable scientific achievement, created by human science mingling with the power of the Reach.
Theocytes of the Dead Star: Strange, otherworldly, and touched by the darkness beyond, Theocytes of the Dead Star serve the Council and humanity as religious advisors, using their psychic empowerment to Reach across the stars and bless humanity with their supernatural abilities. Without the Theocytes, interstellar travel would be impossible, and they are revered as holy creatures, beloved and feared by all.
Voidstriders: For every person Cassiopeia has sent Planet-Side, many more must remain behind in order to care for the behemoth station and its residents. Known as Voidstriders, these personnel spend a good portion of their lives on Cassiopeia. However, political, financial, professional, or personal needs or desires sometimes drive them Planet-Side.