Table of Contents

bulletFederation Stellar Nomenclature
bulletStellar Mapping Conventions
bulletThe United Federation of Planets
bulletRomulan Star Empire
bulletKlingon Empire
bulletCardassian Union
bulletTholian Assembly
bulletGamma Quadrant - The Dominion
bulletDelta Quadrant - The Borg Collective
bulletThe Barriers
bulletThe Andromeda Galaxy


A GURPS: Trek campaign will most likely be set in the Trek universe, which is centered around the Milky Way galaxy. The Federation has quartered the Galaxy into quadrants, arranged and divided as follows:


The galactic core is where the two lines intersect, and is densely populated with stars. Much of the actual quadrants are empty space, as the stars are stretched out in spiral arms which curve from quadrant to quadrant. In this nomenclature the Galaxy rotates in a clockwise fashion, making that direction "spinward". Earth is located approximately where the "x". Any directions given in the following descriptions will refer to "north", "south", "east", and "west" on this map - terms which are meaningless in space, but which should help the reader.


The Federation maps space in "sectors" - arbitrary cubes of space twenty light-years across. This system is used partially because twenty light-years is the distance between two subspace relay stations. Federation space is composed of hundreds of thousands of these sectors, each one numbered, beginning with Sector 001 - the Sun and its immediate stellar neighborhood. Each sector contains about six to ten stars - more closer to the Galactic Core - and, in Federation space, a subspace relay station. Gamemasters with an interest in being extremely faithful to the genre may wish to eschew the GURPS: Space system of mapping by parsecs, and opt for twenty light-year cubes instead.

Note that the Federation has only explored some 19% of the Milky Way galaxy, leaving a great deal out there for the players to discover.


The UFP, or "Federation" as it is more commonly known, is the pre-eminent power of known space. On the map above it stretches "south", "west", and "east" of the x, straddling both the Alpha and Beta quadrants, although not stretching as far "south" as the galactic rim.

It was founded in 2161 in the wake of the Earth-Romulan wars by five races - Terrans, Alpha Centaurians, Vulcans, Tellarites, and Andorians - for their mutual benefit and protection. Individual rights and civil liberties are guaranteed by the Constitution of the United Federation of Planets, signed in 2161. The Federation has expanded rapidly since, and today is composed of some 150 planets, bound together in a voluntary union for trade, exploration, diplomacy, and mutual protection.

The Federation is governed by the Federation Council, which is made up of representatives from each member planet. It’s capitol at San Francisco, Terra. Presiding over the Federation Council is an elected Federation Council President, who makes his office at Paris, Terra. Each member world is entitled to retain its own form of government, its own military, and its own intelligence agencies. The planet Vulcan, for example, is governed by a the Vulcan Council and a group of titled ministers, possesses a small interstellar navy, and has an internal intelligence agency known as the V’Shar. Law within in the Federation is regulated by the Uniform Code of Justice. The main military power of the Federation as a whole is Starfleet, which is described in more detail below.

The Federation uses a non-monetary economic system of "credits" to govern trade. Interstellar trade is largely free and unregulated, apart from certain contraband things such as slaves, drugs, and weapons of mass destruction. Because of its freedom and diversity, the Federation is wealthy and prosperous.

Within the interstellar borders of the Federation there are _many_ non-member worlds. Most of these are less-developed worlds, declared off-limits by the tenants of the Prime Directive. These planets are being left to develop as they will under the protection of a Federation whose existence they are unaware of. When a world has reached the appropriate phase of cultural development, it is contacted and strongly encouraged to join the Federation. Other non-member worlds are neutral or are allied to the Federation. An example of the latter is Kaferia, a highly advanced non-Federation world located well within Federation space, which nevertheless has maintained strong ties with the Federation for centuries.

The Federation is an enlightened entity, an oasis in a sea of autocracies. It is peaceful, but expansionistic.


Starfleet is the exploratory, diplomatic, scientific, and above all military body of the Federation, founded, like the UFP, in 2161.

Starfleet is controlled by Starfleet Command. Its main body, Starfleet Headquarters, is located in San Francisco, Terra, as is the main campus of Starfleet Academy, its training center. Starfleet Command has other centers in the network of Starbases throughout UFP space. Although there is a very strict chain of command, in practice individual Starfleet officers are allowed a great deal of autonomy, since the large size of the UFP makes effective communications difficult. Starfleet administers the thousands of subspace relay stations throughout Federation space, but even with this network, communications from Starfleet Command to a ship on the frontier can take months.

Legal cases within Starfleet and its personnel are handled by a Judge Advocate General. Internal matters within Starfleet are handled by Starfleet Security. Starfleet also maintains an agency called Starfleet Intelligence, which operates as the external counterpart to Starfleet Security. It is responsible for interstellar intelligence and espionage.

Starfleet is unusually progressive in that it allows citizens from non-Federation worlds to serve in its ranks. In many cases this is done with the idea that these individuals, when they muster out, will serve as strong voices on their homeworlds for union with the Federation. This policy does not extend to citizens of overtly hostile worlds, of course.


The Romulan Star Empire is the second major power in known space. It covers an area about a quarter of the size of the Federation, located "east/southeast" of the Federation. The "Romulan Neutral Zone", a no-man’s-land about a light-year across, separates the two powers. The Federation maintains a string of twenty-three Starbases on its side of the Neutral Zone; it is unknown how many the Romulans themselves maintain.

The Romulan Star Empire had its beginnings nearly two millennia ago, when the remnants of an exploratory fleet of Vulcan starships settled the twin planets the Federation later named "Romulus" and "Remus", both worlds of great natural beauty. These transposed Vulcans predated the revolution in logic invented by Surak, and as such were violent and warlike. The Romulan Star Empire began a program of slow and steady expansion that continues to this day. Romulan member worlds are ruled with an iron fist, and have their indigenous governments replaced by Romulan ruling parties. Romulans give neither quarter nor compassion to their subject worlds.

The Romulan Star Empire fought a war with Earth from 2156 to 2160. Their forces were greatly inferior to Terra’s, but they vastly outnumbered the Terran vessels. After a humiliating defeat at the Battle of Cheron, they sued for peace via subspace radio. No human ever saw a Romulan face-to-face until 2265. Six years later the Romulan Star Empire established a formal alliance with the Klingon empire. They traded their cloaking technology in return for improved starship designs. The Romulans, however, regarded the Klingons as too barbaric to be trusted, and this alliance collapsed in a racial acrimony which endures to this day. In 2341 they entered a phase of extreme isolationism - possibly due to internal civil war - from which they have only recently emerged, in 2366. This was due to the unprecedented destruction of Romulan outposts along the Neutral Zone, which has since been proven to be the work of the Borg. They have devoted considerable efforts to weakening the Federation/Klingon alliance since the 2340’s, and are pleased at the recent hostilities between those two powers.

The Romulan seat of power is centered on Romulus. It is a totalitarian government ruled by an individual called the Praetor, who is advised by an Imperial Senate. The government relies heavily upon its military, an efficient body organized in a fashion similar to that of the ancient Terran Roman military, with ranks such as centurion, decurions, etc. Internal order in the Empire is maintained by the Tal Shiar, an elite Romulan Imperial Intelligence Service somewhat analogous to the 20th century Terran KGB. The Tal Shiar is a secretive and brutal extragovernmental agency with the power to investigate both Romulan civilians and military officials. It can arrest civilians without trial, overrule local military commanders, and make people "disappear". It is not popular, but its rule is not questioned. The Imperial Senate is "elected", and is controlled by a Proconsul. It is not known how much these elections may be secretly controlled by the Romulan government.

Technologically, the Romulan Star Empire is slightly less advanced than the Federation. They have always lagged behind in ship design, however, their new D’deridex-class Warbird has more than closed the gap. Their cloaking technology has always given them a certain edge. Furthermore, Romulans excel in war "by other means". They place a high premium on espionage, and the sneak attack. They have been known to send agents into areas to engage in the destabilization of governments. They frequently operate small interstellar scout ships used for spy missions. Their mind control and torture methods are frighteningly advanced.

Romulan citizens are a paranoid and dominated lot, but most are extremely loyal to their Empire. Some dissidents exist; a few of these seek asylum in the Federation, although this is often a cover for spies. Despite the patriotism of the average citizen, there is a great Romulan fondness for things Vulcan, and there was recently a popular movement for reunification with Vulcan, which was sadly coopted by the military. This movement has gone underground and is popular with many young Romulans, who are interested in learning about logic and the teachings of Surak. There are rumors that this movement is being lead by Federation hero Ambassador Spock. This movement is more prevalent on Remus, the sister planet to Romulus.

Romulans carefully regulate their shipping, and so are not as affluent as the Federation. However their blue Romulan Ale, though illegal, has become a very popular beverage in the Federation, and a great deal of wealth can be made by smuggling it.


The Klingon Empire is located "southwest" of the Federation. It is "west" of the Romulan Star Empire, and occupies an area roughly a third of the size of the Federation. There was once a Neutral Zone between the Klingon Empire and the Federation established by the Organians; it was abolished by the Khitomer Accords in 2283.

The Klingon Empire is centered on the world of Klinzhai, frequently referred to merely as the "Klingon Homeworld". It was founded some fifteen hundred years ago by Kahless the Unforgettable, who vanquished the tyrant emperor Molor and seized the empire himself, uniting all the Klingon peoples. The Empire then began a program of conquest and expansion that continues to this day.

The Klingon Empire is governed by the Klingon High Council, which meets in the Great Hall of the First City of Kahless. The High Council is composed of some two dozen individuals from prominent families, lead by a Council Leader. The Council Leader serves for life, and is chosen according to a Rite of Succession presided over by an Arbiter of Succession. The Arbiter verifies that the previous Council Leader is dead, and selects challengers from among members of the High Council. The challengers then fight to the death; the victor becomes High Council leader. Despite the title, the Klingon Empire is not truly an empire, as there has not been a successor to Kahless in centuries. The Empire maintains a military called the Klingon Defense Force. It is separate from Starfleet, but often operates in concert with it.

The Klingon Empire used to maintain colonies as a source of resources and labor - particularly for those tasks that were "beneath the dignity of a warrior". These colonies were better off than Romulan ones, but not by much. Klingon treatment of their colonies changed somewhat as a result of the Organian Treaty, which awarded colonies to whichever power developed them better. As a matter of necessity, the Empire gradually learned methods of wiser management to compete effectively with the Federation in the Organian Neutral Zone, and the recent union with the Federation has accentuated these trends.

First contact between the Federation and Klingon Empire took place in 2218, and resulted in nearly a century of hostilities. Both powers were at the brink of open war in 2269, when an advanced alien race imposed the Organian Peace Treaty. This ended the threat of open war, although a cold war continued for some time. The Empire allied with the Romulans against the Federation in 2271, gaining cloaking technology in the process, although this alliance did not last long. The Federation/ Klingon cold war ended in 2287 when Klinzhai’s moon, Praxis, exploded, leaving the Klingon Empire facing an ecological catastrophe if it did not accept aid from the more technologically-advanced Federation. However, the new peace did not last long. In 2331, the General War broke out between the Allied Powers (the Federation, the Gorn Hegemony, the Kzinti Patriarchy) and the Coalition (the Klingon Empire, the Romulan Star Empire, the Cardassian Union). By 2343, owing more to exhaustion than anything else, the Klingon Empire and the Federation began negotiations for a separate peace. Federation bravery and sacrifice at the Norenda III incident in 2344 won the grudging respect of the Klingon people, and paved the way for a greater union. Proof of this was the selection of a non-Klingon Arbiter of Succession in 2367. A brief civil war in 2368 between the followers of Gowron and those of Duras resulted in Gowron’s firmer grasp on the Council Leadership.

Two recent events have shaken Klingon society. The first was the messianic return of Kahless the Unforgettable in 2369. This was proven to be a fraud perpetrated by the clerics of Boreth; they had created a clone from cells of Kahless and taught it to behave like Kahless. Nevertheless, this "Living Kahless" won great support and popularity among the Klingon people, and Council Leader Gowron was forced into awarding him the position of ceremonial Emperor, making the Klingon Empire truly an empire for the first time in centuries. Possibly at the instigation of the "Living Kahless", the Klingon Empire went to war with the Cardassian Union in 2372 on the pretext of Changeling infiltration. The Empire seized and is currently holding on to several Cardassian colonies. The Khitomer Accords between the Federation and the Empire have broken down, and a new era of cold war has begun.

Klingons are warriors by nature and habit, and as such are not great merchants. Nevertheless, they do engage in trade; their unit of currency is the kellikam. Socially, technologically, and economically, they are behind both the Federation and the Romulans.


The Cardassian Union is less than a quarter the size of the Federation, and is located to the "west".

The Cardassians were once a peaceful, spiritual people, but Cardassia was and is resource-poor, and starving citizens put the military into power. It began a program of conquest which continues to this day, and enjoys great popular support, since it brings in food, technology, and wealth.

Cardassia is a straightforward military dictatorship. It is governed by the Nine Military Orders. The Ninth, or "Obsidian Order", provides intelligence and espionage services. The Cardassian Union began a brutal but low-level conflict with the Federation in 2350. An uneasy truce was reached in 2366, and was more firmly established in 2367. In 2372 a civilian government was put in power; time will tell if it will outlast the recent Klingon/Cardassian hostilities.

Cardassians behave like Klingons without honor and nobility, like Romulans without subtly and finesse. They freely use rape, torture, and mind control as instruments of policy. Most actions, even trade, cover war by other means. They lost a great deal when they lost Bajor and the Terek Nor space station, given the subsequent importance of the stable wormhole to the Gamma Quadrant, and there are not a few Cardassians who have been scheming to get all that back...


The Tholian Assembly is located "east" of the Klingon Empire, on the "south" border with the Federation. The Tholians are some sort of crystalline beings with a hive mind who live under conditions of extreme heat and pressure. Their ships are capable of spinning a kind of force field web that can cocoon a starship and then disable it. Tholians are hostile, territorial, and punctual to a fault. They have shown no interest in maintaining good relations with the Federation, and, though territorial and xenophobic, are nonetheless somewhat expansionistic. Their technology, though unknown, seems slightly inferior to that of the Federation, and they would be no match for the Federation in an all-out war. However, the Federation has never been willing or able to launch such a war, and so border raids and sneak attacks by the Tholians remain common. Given the current (2272) bad situation between the Federation and the Klingon Empire, the Tholians may become a force to be reckoned with in the near future.

Tholians sometimes engage in trade, when it suits them. They produce a silk that is _highly_ valued in the Federation.


There are a number of political entities in the Gamma Quadrant, but the one which poses the greatest threat to the Federation is the Dominion. It is composed of a number of species, the most important of which are the warrior race of Jem’Hadar. The Jem’Hadar are dominated by beings which they call the Founders, who surreptitiously guide them and have them dependent on a substance which only the Founders can provide. Few, if any, Jem’Hadar have ever seen a Founder. The Founders have proven to be a race of shape-shifters that the Federation calls "Changelings". They have a fanatical hatred of all non-shape-shifting races, whom they call "Solids", and have encouraged their Jem’Hadar minions to attack through the wormhole from the Gamma Quadrant. These attacks have been repulsed for the present, but have provided the occasion for cooperation amongst traditional enemies, such as the Federation and the Romulan Star Empire.

More disturbing is the news that Changelings have infiltrated the governments and militaries of several Alpha and Beta Quadrant races, including the Federation. It is unclear just how far this infiltration has gone, and if the recent Klingon/ Cardassian war is any example, it is possible that the whole structure of allegiances could dissolve into paranoia and witch hunts. Of course, the Founders would like nothing better....


One of the major political entities of the Delta Quadrant is the Borg Collective. The Borg are a race of cybernetic humanoids linked together to form a mass-mind; any ship maintains subspace links to the mass-mind on the Borg Homeworld. They were first encountered in 2365, and unbeknownst to all had been raiding Romulan outposts for at least a year previously. They returned two years later, and one ship nearly destroyed the Federation after obliterating a large Starfleet armada at the Battle of Wolf 359. The Federation is still recovering from these losses.

In 2368 a smaller Borg scoutship was found crashed on the surface of a moon in the Argolis Cluster. The only surviving Borg, dubbed "Hugh", was going to be used as a vector for an invasive program designed to destroy the Borg cybernetic mass-mind. However, it was argued that this would be tantamount to genocide, and Hugh was released with a more deadly weapon in his mind - the concept of individuality. Any Collective forces with which he linked assimilated the concept, and were completely helpless. They were natural prey for rogue Soong-type android Lore, who provided the necessary leadership and formed "Hugh’s Borg" into a task force for the invasion of the Federation. Fortunately this invasion was forestalled by the destruction of Lore.

Given that the Borg Collective is driven by the need to assimilate other races, it seems virtually certain that they will be in contact with the Federation again. How far the concept of individuality will spread is open to conjecture. One way or another, though, they will no doubt be back, and harder to stop than before...


The Milky Way Galaxy is delineated by a pair of energy barriers. The Galactic Barrier is located at the rim of the galaxy. It is an energy field of great magnitude which renders passage by ship extraordinarily difficult. Furthermore, in 2266, it was shown to boost the psionic abilities of certain humanoids to almost godlike levels. Because of this, travel to the Galactic Barrier is interdicted by Starfleet. The Galactic Barrier fortunately serves to keep aliens from other galaxies _out_ as well as us _in_, although not always (see below). The Galactic Barrier at the rim of the galaxy is matched by a Great Barrier at the center of the galaxy, which was thought to be impenetrable, at least until the USS Enterprise crossed it in 2287. It did not seem to boost psionic abilities.


Very few races have made it across the Galactic Barrier from outside the Milky Way. Even with warp drives, the massive distances discourage intergalactic travel. One such race who made it were the Kelvans, a highly advanced race from the Andromeda Galaxy. In form they were nonhumanoids with a hundred tentacles and no tactile perceptions or emotions, although this was not initially discovered since they were capable of taking human shape. They revealed that their scientists had discovered that increasing levels of radiation from Andromeda’s core would render that entire galaxy uninhabitable within ten millennia. The first group of Kelvans were pacified and settled within Federation space, but the next group who arrive might not be as easily dealt with....

Another species from the Andromeda Galaxy were a race of humanoid androids who, because they were immoral, presumably were able to survive such a long trip. They were created by a race of beings known as the Makers, and when the star of the Makers’ homeworld went nova some one million years ago, the androids were stranded in their base in the Milky Way. When their Makers never returned, the androids were keen to serve the first intelligent life-form they encountered, which sadly turned out to be the Federation rogue, scoundrel, and criminal Harcourt Fenton Mudd. The androids intended to expand and smother the Federation beneath the iron hand of their "benevolent" service, but were quashed when the illogicality of humans defeated them. Nevertheless, they still exist, and they do possess star travel. _And_ more might arrive from the Andromeda galaxy...


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