M. Jared Swenson Productions

This blog chronicles my projects, developments, and all things related to tabletop gaming. I will try to avoid rants and reviews. Mostly games I'm developing, and progresses from my campaigns.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Star*Drive Saturday: Insight

Last week I covered the fanatical Hatire Community, this week it is the young nation called:


If you are a computer and grid genius, one who sees the interstellar network as the next step in humanities evolution, and believes in the freedom of information, then you might be an Inseer.
  • Population: 278 Billion Sentients
  • Founding Year: 2198, Independence from VoidCorp in 2460
  • GW2 Alliance: FreeSpace Alliance
  • Capital World: Vision
  • Dominant Faith: Insightful
  • Notable Locations: Bhruu, Karnath System (Verge world - currently usurping VoidCorp in another attempt to enslave a primitive alien race)
(Blogger Note: I apologize for this post being longer than the previous ones. I usually try to keep the history and description confined to about 3 paragraphs, but Insight has so much I couldn't leave out. Bear with it as it is one of the more interesting stellar nations.)

Insight is the youngest stellar nation, born only 40 years ago. They appear to be the smallest. They have the fewest planets and systems and weakest military, but as the saying goes, knowledge is power. Insight's history is inextricably entwined with VoidCorp and the grid. The grid is a sophisticated virtual environment linking all systems and planets together. This next stage from old earth internet was lead off entirely by VoidCorp. As the project of linking the galaxy together got bigger, VoidCorp recognized the need for a unique division dedicated entirely to advanced grid design and programming. Insight was incorporated as a VoidCorp division in 2198. From its inception it produced success after success. Insight's achievements gave its vice president unprecedented influence, and it was granted unheard of (in VoidCorp) independence. It was the closest thing that VoidCorp had to an institutionalized forum for artists. As hefty profits continued to roll in, the Inseers got whatever they wanted. Free intellectual exchange blossomed in one small division of VoidCorp.

Insight's freedom lead to revolution and betrayal. It started with small things. Free thought lead to radical ideas. They began to see the grid as humanities next step of ascension. Information, to an Inseer, is born free, and should not be bound by any government or corporation. Aware of how VoidCorp would react to any statement of Insight's principles, the revolution stayed underground. While Insight kept the image of loyal productive servants, the vice president met with representatives of the FreeSpace Alliance (Orion League, Borealis Republic, and Orlamu Theocracy) in 2394 during the Second Galactic War. This set in motion a plan for the next 50 years. In that time, Insight was the most valuable intelligence asset in human history. They uncovered key elements of the Expansion Pentad's (VoidCorp, Hatire Community, Nariac Domain, and Thuldan Empire) strategies, plans, and military placements. Unaware of the source of their intelligence reports, the Orion and Orlamu militaries were remarkably well prepared for the Pentad's offensive. Time after time FreeSpace attacks found VoidCorp weaknesses, without significant damage to Insight assets. Insight treachery can account for many of the FreeSpace Alliance's successes. Still trapped in corporate grasp, they anxiously awaited the opportunity to leave VoidCorp behind.

Then on February 5th, 2460, independence was declared. Insight positioned its strength and seven defecting VoidCorp fortress ships gave the new nation a fierce bite. VoidCorp was stunned. Insight's treachery was the best kept secret of the century. Ignoring Insight's warnings, VoidCorp massed their fleet to crush the upstart state. On May 10th, 2460, the entire VoidCorp grid crashed. Entire datacores were erased, and star systems found their networks unresponsive. Many VoidCorp drivesats simply vanished. The damage to VoidCorp economy and infrastructure couldn't be measured; VoidCorp is still recovering today. The invasion of Insight was aborted; buttressed by FreeSpace assistance, Insight survived until the war's end.

With their new freedom, Insight shed most relics of VoidCorp's organization. No new formal government has been established to take place over the old one. To outsiders no order can be discerned. The best way to describe Insight is institutionalized anarchy. They will admit the administration is unconventional, but point to a clear pecking order set by reputation and gridpiloting ability. Insight has a very unique approach to grid hardware and software. While VoidCorp remains universal and fixed, Insight environments allow greater creativity and individuality. When used by skilled gridpilots, Insight systems provide the best performance known. Insight's relentless advances into VoidCorp's markets has fueled the hatred felt for its rebellious child. VoidCorp has refused to recognize Insight's independence except to the extent required by the Treaty of Concord. While open warfare is not allowed under the Concord, the war still rages on of Insight vs. VoidCorp in the grid where the Concord cannot police.

Most Inseers have adopted the doctrine of the Insightful. The grid represents the first environment in which mankind can exchange information unhindered. Free information is a natural state in which all sentients will ascend. Inseers describe themselves as poets, explorers, and artists of electronic dreams. As the smallest stellar nation, they are also the most radical. Inseer space has given birth to notions that would have boggled the minds of pre-space Terrans. And that's just how the Inseers like it. This also makes them desperate to find new experiences, to prove to themselves and to the other stellar nations. Over the years Inseer speach has become a dialect of its own, only loosely related to Galactic Standard. They spice their language with jargon, inside terminology, and lots of memes. This leads to an inward-looking, impenetrable jumble of tech-talk whenever two Inseers meet.

Paraphrased from: David Eckleberry, and Richard Baker. Star*Drive Campaign Setting. Wizards of the Coast, Inc. P.O. Box 707 Renton, WA. 98057-0707: Wizards of the Coast / TSR, 1998.

Rogue Space Character Ideas
A culture of technical wizardry, older than the existence of Insight itself, infects all Insight characters. This genius provides Inseers with a distinct advantage with computers. A player may choose to be an Inseer for his/her race (human only) during character creation. They gain a +1 bonus to computer use and gridpiloting tests.

Grid Warrior
Character Background: Hacker
High Attributes: Repairing and Scientific
Archetype: Technician
Outward appearances can be deceiving. Nobody would suspect a scrawny unkempt person as this to be a skilled and adept warrior. But his battlefield is not in the open. It is the grid. Armed with a gridcaster computer gauntlet, neural interface cybernetics, and some of the best software he can program, security and personal hardware and software defenses are powerless against his skilled manipulations. Battling VoidCorp's oppressive corporate rule has taught Inseers a thing or two about grid warfare. Nowadays if anyone needs high class top secret information stolen or destroyed, you don't call a thief, you call an Insight grid warrior.


  1. I like this entry a lot, and I think the length is good considering the information presented.

  2. I think one of the big things is that Insight is such a new nation that their history is fresh. It also contains a lot of juicy details about the second galactic war.