Version 1.1 (Updated 4/20/04
A B C D E F G H I J K L M
N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
Abomination: A werewolf who has been turned into a Vampire. Very powerful creatures, but the process turns essentially all such victims irredeemably insane, and they are regarded by both Vampires and Werecreatures as humans regard rabid dogs: things that MUST be destroyed.
Aerodyne: A vehicle capable of flight by use of powerful downward-thrusting reaction engines, basically a hovercar using jet engines rather than antigrav, or a VTOL plane that always uses vectored thrust for lift rather than wings. Very maneuverable, but tremendous fuel hogs. Usually only used as military craft, particularly for air support of ground troops in urban combat.
AI: Artificial Intelligence. Computers able to think for themselves, react to changing circumstances, and carry out many tasks without prompting or external input. High-level Mind Mages can create AI programs with human-level intelligence and true consciousness.
Aircar: A vehicle such as an aerodyne which can fly, but also can drive along the ground like a groundcar. Aircars are often used for long-distance commuting or travel on one planet. Aircars cannot leave the atmosphere or fly above a few thousand meters of altitude. Their speed is generally limited to a few hundred kilometers per hour in the air, or around a hundred km/h on the ground.
Hovertaxi Aircars on the planet Minos
Antediluvian: A Vampire of one of the first few generations of Vampires, turned either by Caine directly, his childer, or their childer. So called because they were turned to Vampires before the Great Flood. Very old, very powerful Vampires, including the individuals such as Ventrue, Troile, and Arikel who founded the various Clans of the Camarilla and the Sabbat. The only known surviving Antediluvians now are Malkav, who is irretrievably insane and locked up in an extra-dimensional prison of his own making, and Arikel, founder of clan Tremere, who is the current King of Enoch. Ventrue, the only other Antediluvian to survive Gehenna, was recently killed by Modred, who diablerized him and thus became a pseudo-Antediluvian himself.
Antigrav: Devices or systems that use gravitational fields to counter a planetary gravitational field. The smallest devices, small enough to mount in a car-sized vehicle, have a very short range and can only “push” against other masses, and thus are only able to lift a vehicle a couple of meters above ground, and do not work well on steep slopes. Larger devices have fewer limitations, and the very largest devices serve as drives for starships and open up hyperspace gates and jump points. Also called Counter-grav, AG, or CG.
Arachnids: Official name for the Bugs. Insectoid race of multiple physically differentiated castes, each with a specialized role in Arachnid society. The Arachnids were originally designed by the Horadrim as a biological weapons system in their long and losing war against the Caal.
Atmosphere Condenser: An enormous facility the size of a small mountain, used in the process of terraforming a planet with unwanted chemicals (sulphuric acid, methane, hydrogen, etc.) in its atmosphere. The facility is the size of a small mountain, and consists of a massive fusion reactor and a set of chemical catalyzers, electrostatic precipitators, and osmotic membranes which harvest chemical compounds out of the air.
Autochef: A household appliance that combines the features of a refrigerator and a microwave oven. It stores a large quantity of frozen and preserved foods and seasonings, and can then remove them from storage and cook them to order automatically. With proper programming and supplies, it can prepare an entire meal from scratch.
Autodoc: A robotic, computerized surgical bed installed in many high-end civilian (and most military) vehicles capable of long-duration travel. An autodoc can clean and seal most wounds, set broken bones, extract shrapnel, replace lost blood, and even re-attach severed limbs. Its onboard supplies of medications are tilted towards physical trauma, not chronic or infectious disease, so while it can save your life from most injuries, it isn't capable of conducting chemotherapy or (generally) giving you a new face.
Autogiro: A light aircraft capable of vertical take-off with helicopter-like blades, but which also has a more standard engine for forward flight. When in forward flight mode, the vertical-lift rotors continue to rotate and provide lift, sometimes supplemented by short, stubby wings.
Awakened: 1.) Aware of the existence of Magick and the supernatural and/or actually having magical abilities yourself. 2.) Collective term for all humans with magical powers, including Mages, Werecreatures, Vampires, and Ghouls.
Awakening: The process by which a non-magical human becomes a Mage. The process is little understood, even by Mages themselves, but a certain percentage of humans have the mysterious ability to become awakened, while the vast majority do not. Even in those capable of becoming Awakened, their magical ability may not manifest itself until some traumatic event, such as puberty or witnessing a supernatural event, triggers the awakening.
Beanstalk: A geostationary satellite or space station connected to the surface of a planet by a long cable. Elevator-like pods carry cargo and passengers between the planetary surface and high orbit along the cable. So long as the mass going up is equal to the mass going down, the terminus station in orbit will not change in position, but imbalances can be compensated for by firing station-keeping thrusters. On most such stations, a second cable, equal in length and mass to the downward cable, also extends further out from the station, and this outward cable is often used as the backbone of a magnetic-induction catapault for sending cargo pods to the outer solar system.
Bio-Augmentation: A medical procedure designed to increase the speed and strength of mages and other humans to approach the supernatural speed of werecreatures and vampires. Colonies of genetically-engineered bacteria are injected into the nervous system, where they produce extra acetylcholine and other neurotransmitters, plus enzymes and hormones such as adrenaline which increase nerve transmission speed and muscle strength. However, the side effects include shortened lifespan, early onset of arthritis, and occasional psychoses if the bacteria migrate to the brain. Also known as bio-aug or bac-aug.
Biosculpt: Cosmetic surgery, often taken to extremes of physical beauty, or completely altering one's appearance for purposes of disguise or altered identity.
Bitanium: A magically-created metal. Very strong, denser than most other high-tech or magically-created alloys, and able to take a magnetic charge, bitanium is usually used for armor or projectiles such as gauss bullets and railgun rounds.
Black Hand: In former times, a shadowy organization of Vampires opposed to both the Sabbat and the Camarilla. With the coming of Gehenna, the Black Hand was revealed to truly be dedicated to serving the Antediluvians who had founded the clans of the Camarilla. With the Antediluvians awake and once more in control of their clans, the Black Hand and Camarilla effectively merged in unified opposition to the Sabbat. Today, the Black Hand is effectively an arm of the government of the Kingdom of Enoch.
Black Ice: Underworld slang for bootleg or illegal software. Sometimes bootleg copies of commercial programs, sometimes custom-made hacker programs used to break into secured information systems or conduct other illegal computer activity.
BLAM: Acronym for Blue LAser Multidisc. A data-storage medium resembling a 20th-century DVD, but the size of a large coin. Very similar in concept to a DVD, but using a high-frequency blue-light laser to allow smaller pits in the substrate, and thus more bits of data per square centimeter. Somewhat outdated compared to datacrystals or ramchips, but still in use throughout human space.
Bllood Bond: The supernatural compulsion to obey and serve a vampire after drinking blood from that vampire on three separate occasions. Affects both Ghoul servants and other vampires. Also used to refer to the supernatural compulsion a Childe feels towards its Sire.
Boogie: Slang term for Horadrim or Horadrim/Human hybrids. May derive from Boogeyman, an ancient earth term for a monster in children's nightmares.
Brainstemming: Applying a drug (usually Nuke) through a skintab or gauze patch to the back of the neck, directly over the brainstem. This is said to cause a more intense high, or a quicker onset of the drug's effects.
Buckyball: Spherical molecule bade up of carbon atoms arranged in a pattern of hexagons and pentagons like on a soccer ball. There is a whole family of such spherical molecules, ranging from the 60-atom buckminsterfullerene (named after Buckminster Fuller, a pre-space architect who invented the Geodesic Dome) and ranging up to enormous molecules that are big enough to see with the naked eye, each member adding more hexagons but always having exactly 12 pentagons in the pattern. Buckyball cages are used to contain individual uranium molecules in fission reactor fuel, preventing the uranium molecules from getting close enough to each other to achieve critical mass and explode. Buckyball compounds are incredibly strong, as their molecular bonds are even stronger than diamond, and they have no liquid state, and thus cannot melt.
Buckytube: A tube-shaped molecule made up of carbon atoms in a hexagonal array, similar to in buckyballs. The carbon bonds in buckytube molecules are the strongest possible molecular bonds, and thus no other normal material substance can cut through a buckytube. Wires made of buckytube filaments are used as cutting blades in a variety of handheld weapons. Fullerene Mesh armor is made of a mesh of buckytube threads.
Bug: Slang term for the alien race known officially as Arachnids. Insectoid race with many physically differentiated castes of varying abilities.
Caal: A wraith-like being able to take over the minds of other sentients. The Caal were once a humanoid race which went extinct for reasons unknown. Also for reasons unknown, they refused to accept their demise and survived as a kind of ghost, a being of pure spirit, able to possess other sentient beings. Beings controlled by a Caal gain supernatural strength and stamina. Their wraith-like existence has driven the Caal into a fearful psychopathic fury, and they are determined to destroy all other sentient life in the galaxy, especially their race-enemies, the Horadrim.
Camarilla: The six major Vampire Clans (Brujah, Toreador, Ventrue, Malkavian, Nosferatu, and Gangrel), all sworn to uphold the Masquerade and the status quo in the days before Gehenna. With the awakening of the Antediluvians and the chaos and destruction of Gehenna now two centuries behind us, the leaders of most clans are now dead. Within the Kingdom of Enoch, the high concentration of Vampires means that clan membership is still somewhat important. Outside Enoch, the clans of the Camarilla are all considered part of the Black Hand, an organization of vampires dedicated to serving the surviving Antediluvians (effectively Arikel, since Malkav is too insane to count).
Cat: Slang term for aliens of the K'Nes species. They vaguely resemble large predators from Earth of the Cat family, such as Lions.
Catapault: A large magnetic-inductuon linear acceleration engine for firing unmanned cargo pods into orbit from a planetary surface. Such catapaults are usually built on high mountain ridges running west to east near a planet's equator, to also take advantage of planetary rotation to effectively get a few hundred extra KPH of “free” boost. Catapaults can stretch out for several kilometers, and can fire a new cargo pod every few seconds at high acceleration directly into orbit without need for further booster rockets. When orbital positions are correct, the larger catapaults can even send cargo directly to other planets (albeit on very long-duration orbits). Catapaults are usually used for bulk cargo such as ore or grain, and the incredible expense of building a catapault is more than made up for by the extremely low price-per-kilogram to send bulk cargo into orbit. On some planetary moons, catapaults send refined ore on a near-constant basis to splashdown fields in oceans on the planet, and send food pods up to the moon in return.
Cee-fractional: At a high percentage of light speed, from the traditional use of the letter C to denote the speed of light in physics equations, such as in the famous E=mc2. A cee-fractional strike is either using projectile weapons traveling at near-light speed, or a warship traveling over half the speed of light to attack a target with a quick fly-by strafing and then use the speed of passage to escape before the stationary target can accelerate enough to catch up.
Cell Deck: A device combining a wireless link to a computer network with an interface link for a user's dataport implant, allowing a user to plug directly into the VR cybernet from almost anywhere.
Chemlaser: A beam weapon which uses a chemical reaction to produce a contained field of charged plasma, which is then electrically stimulated while between a matched set of mirrors. This causes the charged plasma to lase, producing a powerful pulse of coherent light, a laser beam. Heavy chemlasers are the standard medium-range beam armament on most starships, smaller models equip vehicles, and small chemlasers are used as heavy weapons by power-armor troopers.
Childe: Term for a human who was turned into a Vampire by a specific Vampire, known as that Childe's Sire. A Childe is magically bound to serve his Sire in all ways. A Childe who kills his own Sire is looked upon with scorn and contempt by other Vampires. (the plural form is Childer)
Clonesicle: A cloned human being which is allowed to develop physically to adulthood, but chemically lobotomized while still in the embryonic stage, and then placed in suspended animation once it has reached its maximum physical development, for purposes of providing organs for transplant. Normally only done for very wealthy individuals who can pay for the immense expense of having themselves cloned and the clone placed on the equivalent of life support in an intensive care unit for their entire lives. Once enough organs are removed to render the clone no longer viable even in a stasis tank, the remaining organs are, by law, made freely available to compatible patients who cannot afford a clone of their own.
Coilgun: A specific type of magnetic-induction projectile weapon which uses a series of electromagnetic coils to fire a magnetically-neutral metallic projectile by a series of pulsed electromagnetic fields induced stepwise in a set of coils surrounding the barrel of the gun. Such guns are often incorrectly referred to as Railguns or Gauss Guns.
Comlink: A small wireless personal communications device. May be a separate device like a small cellular phone, or be worn on the wrist, or even surgically implanted into the bones of the skull.
Control Collar: A device like a heavy metal necklace used in prisons and hospitals to prevent werecreatures from shifting form.
Credchit: A small ramchip which is used as a from of hard currency. Ramchips can be loaded with a defined amount of cash value by electronic funds transfer. The balance is now carried on the Credchit, and may be transferred electronically at a later date into any account, without leaving any trace back to the original account. The ramchip has a powerfully-encrypted computer progam loaded into it to prevent counterfeiting, hacking, or tracing of the credit value.
Crinos: One of the stages of transformation a werecreature can take. Crinos is halfway between fully human and fully animal, and is generally significantly larger, stronger, and more powerful than the humanoid form. Wererats and Wereweasels are notable exceptions, their Crinos form being slightly smaller than their humanoid form.
Crusader Team: Special units of the former Earth Federation military and police forces tasked with the job of hunting down and killing all Vampires within the Federation. Although the Federation is gone, the name is still used for the anti-Vampire hunter-killer groups of Imperial Security in the Middle Kingdom.
Cutter: A small shuttlecraft that is not capable of atmospheric entry or flight. Carried by larger spaceships and space stations for space-only travel between space stations and ships in orbit.
Cyber Arrow: A low-level computer program designed to kick a user out of a virtual-reality computer system by forcing their interface equipment to reboot.
Cybermodem: Small electronic device used to interface with computer networks. A Cybermodem sometimes has its own built-in AI that can shift programming languages, operating systems, and even crack passwords to allow interface with a wide variety of systems. High-end illegal models can often break into almost any computer system, at least temporarily.
Cyborg: 1.) A human who has had mechanical or electronic devices surgically implanted into their body to enhance their abilities or restore functionality after an injury. 2.) A fully artificial robot which is sophisticated enough to be mistaken for human by a casual observer.
Datacrystal: A data-storage medium consisting of a small crystalline pyramid about two centimeters long, in which an enormous amount of data can be stored holographically and read by means of a small UV laser.
Data Pirate: A criminal computer hacker who specializes in breaking into secure databases, stealing information, and then selling it on the black market. Industrial espionage, credit theft, and guerilla marketing are their usual stock in trade, but they also dabble in blackmail, state secrets, and insider trading.
Dataport: A cybernetic implant in a person's skull or neck which allows a direct neural interface with computer systems.
Death Shrike: A medium-power computer program designed to seek out the interface equipment of a user in a VR environment and cause a circuit overload, forcing the equipment to reboot and possibly injuring the user with a power surge.
Deflector Shields: Magnetic fields produced by a starship to deflect away particles of interplanetary gas and dust, as well as small micrometeorites. Even individual hydrogen atoms become deadly ionizing radiation when you run into them at half the speed of light. A low-power free-electron laser sweeps space directly ahead of a starship, giving such particles a tiny electric charge, and allowing the fields to push them aside. Non-charged particles are not affected, so most ships have at least some armor on their forward side. Deflector shields are far too weak (and too easily to defeat) to be of any use against most weaponry, although plasma and certain types of charged-particle beams can be deflected or attenuated. The equipment needed to produce a properly-shaped and powerful enough deflector shield is too heavy and bulky for use on shuttlecraft, so they are limited to about 300,000 kph by their onboard shielding (about 83 kps, or 1 percent of the speed of light).
Delta Armor: A very light type of body armor, only partially powered, worn by human troops for boarding hostile spacecraft and other missions in confined spaces such as ship corridors, underground tunnels, and urban skyscrapers, where larger power suits would not fit. Delta Armor is airtight, but has very little air supply, only being designed for brief periods in vacuum, and does not have heavy thrusters for extended jumps in a gravity field, but only a very light thruster beltpack for emergency EVA operations.
Delta-Vee: 1.) Traditional physics symbol for Change in Velocity, because the Greek letter Delta is used to signify "change in", while the letter V is used to signify velocity. 2.) Total acceleration a space vehicle is capable of due to fuel supplies, often used as shorthand for "fuel remaining". A starship with its vast fuel reserves has a lot of total delta-vee, because they can speed up and slow down for a long time before running out of fuel. A fighter or shuttle has much less delta-vee, because they can only burn the engines for a limited time before running out of fuel and going ballistic.
Diablerie: The practice of one Vampire killing another Vampire by drinking all of his blood. If the drained vampire was more powerful or of an earlier generation of vampires, the drinking vampire can acquire much of the drained vampire's powers and abilities. Looked upon by most Vampires as an unforgivable sin.
Digital Gate: A large scanner and transmitter facility in deep space. A Digital gate scans a starship, converts its mass into energy, and sends a tachyon signal to another digital gate in a distant star system, which then converts the tachyon energy back into matter and re-materializes the starship. The tachyon signal does not take any measurable time to travel between star system, so except for the brief few seconds of dematerialization and materialization, a Digital Gate connection allows for near-instantaneous travel between star systems. The immense expense of construction, and the immense energy requirements for use of digital gates ensures that they have not yet been installed in all star systems.
DisposAll: A household appliance incorporating a high-powered microwave oven that flash-vaporizes most household trash into a plasma, then vents the plasma into an underground water tank to flash-cool the plasma back into powder. The water tank is connected to the sewer system, and periodically flushes away the sterilized, vaporized trash residue.
Diode Laser: A type of beam weapon which uses a tuned electronic diode to emit a pulse of monochromatic, coherent light. Physical laws keep the power output of such lasers very low, so they are not suitable for weapons more powerful than handguns or very light rifles. However, nearly all sensor and target-designation lasers are diode lasers.
Drop Pod: A small, one-person atmospheric re-entry vehicle used for planetary invasions from orbiting spacecraft. Used to protect a power-armor-equipped soldier during atmospheric insertion. Fired from an electromagnetic launcher in a starship.
Endurachrome: Term for a specific type of composite laminate armor used on vehicles, powersuits, and starships. Endurachrome combines ceramics, metal alloys, and synthetic plastics in alternating layers to produce an incredibly strong material with ablative, energy-absorptive, and shock-dissipative properties.
Energy Beam: The standard medium-range weapon system on Horadrim warships. It fires a powerful beam of pure energy that instantaneously reaches its target. Range is restricted only by targeting system accuracy.
Environment Suit: An airtight garment with an attached helmet or hood, designed to protect the wearer from noxious gasses and/or extremes of temperature. Not generally pressurized for use in a vacuum, but the term is often used incorrectly to refer to Pressure Suits.
EVA Suit: Environment Suit: An airtight garment with an attached helmet or hood, designed to protect the wearer from noxious gasses and/or extremes of temperature. Not generally pressurized for use in a vacuum, but the term is often used incorrectly to refer to Pressure Suits.
Flesh Mechanic: A black-market surgeon who specializes in elective and cosmetic surgery. Cybernetic implants, facial reconstruction to alter or improve one's appearance, and emergency surgery after an underworld firefight are all a Flesh Mechanic's stock in trade.
Flitter: A light vehicle equally capable in flying and driving on the ground. Usually an Aerodyne or autogiro.
Fullerene Mesh: A material made of interlinked strands of buckytube fibers. Fullerine mesh is denser than steel, and stronger even than synthetic diamond.
Fungicrete: A common low-cost building material in the Middle Kingdom. Fungicrete is a cement-like substance made of wood pulp, clay, and strands of a genetically-engineered fungus. The ingredients are mixed together while wet, poured into a mold, and left to sit overnight. The fungal fibers grow and spread throughout the material, intertwining and twisting together into a tangled mass. Once the fungus is killed (by a quick burst of gamma rays) and the mixture dries, it can be sawed like wood, but is stronger than steel-reinforced concrete without the use of any metal. The fungal fibers replace the rebar, and tie the ceramic and cellulose particles together into a strong, stable material.
Fusion Bottle: The heart of a fusion reactor, a magnetic "bottle" in which the hot, dense hydrogen plasma is squeezed by magnetic and/or gravitational fields until the nuclei begin to fuse, releasing tremendous amounts of energy in the form of heat and radiation. If the magnetic fields fail, the hot plasma expands explosively. Although the release of pressure stops the fusion reaction within milliseconds, the plasma is still hot and dense enough that it will expand with the force of a small nuclear explosion.
Fusion Cannon: A medium-range weapon for space combat. Basically a large electromagnetic railgun firing shells which have fusion warheads and minimal homing/maneuvering abilities. They are not nearly as effective as missiles or torpedoes, but with a much higher effective rate of fire and ammo capacity. Usually mounted in a turret mounting with a wide angle of fire.
G: Also spelled "gee", meaning "Earth Gravity", a standard measure of planetary gravity fields or acceleration in space combat. In either case, one "g" equals the acceleration or pull of the gravity field on Old Earth, which is about 10 meters per second2 (32 feet per second2). Normal humans can stand brief periods of between 6 and 9 g's before they become unable to breathe and pass out. Supernatural humans such as werecreatures can stand substantially more. For prolonged periods of time, humans cannot tolerate above about 2 or 3 g's, or less than about half a g, before serious physiological effects occur. In low gravities, humans lose muscle tone and bone density, while in high gravities, the spine contracts and can pinch nerves and cause pain or paralysis. Modern drugs and frequent exercise can greatly reduce the physiological changes due to low gravity, but worlds with more than two Earth gravities will rarely be colonized by humans unless the terraforming process can reduce the planetary gravity field.
Gaijin: Japanese term for "foreigner". Used as politely insulting slang term for non-Asian humans within the Middle Kingdom. See also Gweilo and Hung Mao.
Gauss Gun: Generalized term for a variety of handheld weapons, from pistols to rifles, which fire a metallic projectile by use of magnetic fields. More specifically, Gauss Guns use a monopolar magnetic field behind the breech end of a nonmagnetic barrel to fire a magnetically-charged projectile with a single electromagnetic pulse. Sometimes used (incorrectly) to refer to any magnetic-induction projectile weapon. See also Coilgun and Railgun.
Gehenna: The Vampire equivalent of Armageddon. For millennia, the Vampires of Earth dreaded and prepared for the coming of Gehenna, when the Antediluvians would awaken from their centuries of slumber and battle it out for control over vampires and all humanity. The Bug landing in Rio de Janiero in 2001, and the Paradox backlash explosion that destroyed the city, triggered Gehenna prematurely. The Antediluvians awoke, but at the same time the Mages and Werecreatures were having their own internal wars for control, millions of non-magical humans were awakening to become mages, and the Vampire Antediluvians also fought the Technocracy Mages and the Werewolf Tribes for control over humanity. The result was a bloody and chaotic near-draw, but the Technocracy came out narrowly on top. The few surviving Antediluvians took most Vampires with them into the Wraithlands, while the Werecreatures and Mages were all drafted to form the Tech Infantry.
Geisha: In Japanese culture, a woman who is hired to dress up in traditional costume and perform ceremonial duties such as tea ceremonies and provide conversation, either for private clients or at formal events. Not really a prostitute, as sexual acts are rarely performed. Instead of fulfilling physical sexual desires for her clients, a Geisha instead provides psychological comfort by acting the role of a physical embodiment of all the positive traits a woman is supposed to possess: style, grace, humility, and demure competence in traditional cultural rituals.
Gentle Weed: A naturally-growing plant that originated on the Vin Shriak homeworld, and was brought by them to the other planets they invaded or colonized. It does very well in competition with most Terran-origin species, and rapidly became a common wild weed species on most planets, especially former Vin Shriak worlds. The plant produces a natural toxin (originally evolved as poison against herbivores) that has an analgesic and hallucinogenic effect on most humans, and which can be fatal in sufficient dosages.
Ghoul: A human who drinks Vampire blood without first being drained. They become slightly mind-controlled servants of their Vampire masters, but also acquire some Vampire abilities (supernatural strength and speed) without giving up the ability to walk in sunlight. They also become immortal (though not invulnerable) so long as they get regular supplies of Vampiric blood to drink.
Golram: Slang term that is a variant on "God Damn".
Gravitic Ram: The single most powerful weapon for space combat, mounted only in Star Control Ships. This weapon fires an artificial point singularity, a small black hole, towards its target. Range is limited to about half a million kilometers by the quantum mechanical effect that the artifical singularity will rapidly “evaporate” shortly after leaving the launcher, and once it loses enough mass/energy to cease being a singularity, all its considerable remaining energy is released in a colossal explosion of gamma rays. When used to bombard a planetary surface, the effect is similar to a dino-killer asteroid, and large craters are carved out of the surface.
Gravity Drive: A type of starship propulsion system using an artificial gravity field to make the entire ship "fall" towards its destination. Much more fuel-efficient than reaction drives, this system also enables very high acceleration levels (up to several hundred G's), provides an artificial gravity field for the comfort of the crew, enables the ship to form its own jump points into and out of hyperspace, and in combat, projects a field of gravity-distorted space around the ship which pulverizes any incoming projectile weapons and greatly attenuates incoming beam weapon fire…but also makes it nearly impossible to fire OUT through the same field. The equipment needed to create a gravity drive is massive, so only battlecruiser-sized and larger ships mount a gravity drive.
Graviton Cannon: The smallest gravity-based starship weapon. This device is basically a souped-up tractor beam emitter. It fires a pulsed series of gravitons to produce a rapidly oscillating gravitic field. As the beam passes through an enemy starship, parts of the target simultaneously feel powerful gravity fields in opposite directions only a few meters apart, and the ship is literally torn apart by its own weight.
Graviton Torpedo: A special warhead for Lance Torpedoes that uses a fusion explosion to power a reaction similar to that in a tractor beam emitter, and produce a very powerful asymmetric gravity field for a brief instant. For that instant, any ship within the area of the effect will experience a rapidly changing asymmetric gravity field and will be torn apart by its own weight.
Grav Lance: A now-outdated early gravity-based weapon, it is a short-ranged device which sets up an interference pattern in an the defensive shield protecting a ship equipped with a gravity drive, causing the enemy vessel's gravity drive to overload and shut down. This will render a target vessel vulnerable to attack with conventional weapons.
Grav Laser: A large and immensely powerful beam weapon for space combat. A Grav Laser is a large chemical laser which uses an artificial gravity field to focus the beam instead of a crystalline lens. This enables it to have beam energies and emitter diameters much higher than would be possible otherwise, by avoiding the problems of overheating associated with conventional designs.
Gravlev: A type of public surface transportation using artificial gravity to levitate a train slightly above its tracks to reduce friction. More efficient over long distances than older Maglev designs, since the gravity emitters are in the train itself and no special equipment is required in the track.
Groundcar: A vehicle that can only travel on the ground, such as pre-space cars and trucks. Most are wheeled, some have air-cushion hoverskirts, and a few have caterpillar tracks.
Gweilo: Cantonese term meaning White Devil. Used as an insulting slang term for non-Asian humans in the Middle Kingdom. Also transliterated sometimes as quai loh. See also Hung Mao and Gaijin.
Han: Most common Ethnic group among Chinese citizens on Earth before the evacuation of that planet. Now used as a slang term for Asian-descended humans in the Middle Kingdom.
Hangul: The most common form of Korean script, Hangul is a syllabary, with each symbol representing one syllable of a word, rather than an entire word as in Chinese, or a distinct sound as with western alphabets.
Hardsuit: A specialized type of space suit for use in zero-gravity repair or construction work. A hardsuit is designed something like a medieval suit of armor, or the skeleton of an insect. It has many rigid overlapping plates, connected by thin, flexible joints of rubberized plastic, or metal swivel rings. It provides maximum endurance for zero-g activities, as the user can hit a control to lock the suit in place and rest if they get tired. Hardsuits have full waste disposal facilities, carbon dioxide scrubbers and a rebreather circuit for maximum-duration oxygen supply, and built-in thrusters for untethered space walks. The best hardsuits are practically one-person spacecraft in their own right, with endurance times measured in days or even weeks, on-board power generators, built-in tools, and powered manipulator arms to allow the user to exert much more force than they could with their muscles alone.
Hellbore: A heavy weapons system for starships or large ground vehicles, originally of Jurvain design, but now also used by the K'Nes and (occasionally) by humans. A Hellbore is basically a plasma cannon on steroids, but instead of a chemical reaction producing the plasma, powerful magnetic and/or gravitational fields squeeze a pocket of hydrogen gas until it undergoes atomic fusion, then allow the resulting fusion explosion to expand only in one narrow direction down the barrel of the weapon and at the target. The incredibly powerful bolt of plasma and radiation that results can cause massive damage to almost any target, and is even capable of firing through planetary atmospheres and still retaining enough energy to do substantial damage when being fired between orbiting spacecrafts and ground installations.
Horadrim: A dying alien race from the Hodraida system. Physically, they are dark-green to black bipeds with a chitinous insect-like exoskeleton in their natural state, but are also capable of taking on a human-like appearance. The Horadrim have immense physical power and a tremendously advanced technology, but their long war with the Caal left them a nearly-extinct breed. They are attempting to preserve their race and culture by cross-breeding with humans. Only very recently have they regained status as a full-fledged star nation with actual territory. (NOTE: In some game materials, Horadrim was written as Hodraida due to an effort to reduce our number of copyright violations, the term Horadrim having been borrowed from J.R.R. Tolkein's universe. But then we realized that a crapload of other games used Horadrim for a variety of alien or fantasy races, and since they're commercial and we aren't, and we've nicked so much ELSE from so many sources, we went back to the original spelling, and used Hodraida for the name of the Horadrim homeworld.)
Hovercar: A car that can hover a few meters above the ground, thus avoiding things like potholes and able to go much faster than a groundcar due to lessened friction. Most hovercars use antigravity plates to lift themselves above the ground, but a few cheaper models for use only in cities use magnets to levitate above magnetic grids embedded in the pavement.
A hovercar in parkland on New Paris
Human: A sentient species originally from the Earth system. The most numerous sentients in the local neighborhood of the galaxy, but fragmented into several rival star nations. Physically, they are humanoid bipeds with pale pink to blue-black skin, about 1.5m to 2m in height. Humans have a range of supernatural forms, from werecreatures to vampires, but the majority of them are not able to use true Magick.
Hung Mao: Mandarin Chinese term meaning European. Polite slang for non-Asian humans in the Middle Kingdom. See also Gaijin and Gweilo.
Hybrid: An individual who is the product of interspecies cross-breeding between sentient life forms from different planetary ecologies. Normally, such crossbreeds cannot arise through natural mating, but with either biomedical or supernatural intervention and assistance, such cross-species mating attempts can be made to succeed. Werecreatures are the result of magic-induced crossbreedings between humans and non-sentient animals from Earth, but since the advent of space travel, similar techniques have produced limited numbers of individuals who are mixes of Human, Jurvain, K'Nes, Bug, and Horadrim heritage in multiple different combinations.
Hyper Footprint: The gravitational ripple and burst of radiation which is caused by opening up a jump point from hyperspace into normal space. It is the first indication a ship or sensor platform in normal space has that someone is coming into the system from hyperspace.
Hyperspace: A parallel universe in another dimension from normal space. This parallel universe has a rough point-to-point correspondence to our own universe, but the points are much closer together somehow. Because of this, a ship which shifts over to hyperspace and then travels for a given distance in one direction, then shifts back to normal space, will return to normal space several orders of magnitude farther away in the same direction. This allows starships to travel between star systems in days or even hours rather than in many years, without breaking the speed of light.
Ion Drive: The most common type of normal-space starship reaction drive. Ion drives use monatomic hydrogen as reaction mass, ionizing the hydrogen (stripping the electrons from the protons), and then electromagnetically ejecting the ions at a substantial fraction of the speed of light through the engine exhaust to provide thrust. This type of drive is incredibly mass-efficient and energy efficient, but the total acceleration is still somewhat limited. Most starships can only pull a few G's of acceleration, slightly less than a fighter (but, of course, can sustain that acceleration a LOT longer than a fighter can).
InSec: Abbreviation (and expletive) used to refer to the Internal Security Service of the Earth Federation. With the fall of the Federation, InSec is no more.
Irezumi: Tattoo worn by members of the Yakuza, often on the back and arms, that denotes their clan alliegance, rank, and personal achievements.
Jumpgate: A large hyperspace drive mounted on a space platform, used to open portals to hyperspace for use by starships not equipped with their own hyperspace drive. Generally used to keep such portals open more or less constantly, to allow tachyon relay beacons to be used through from normal space to hyperspace and vice versa, in order to permit real-time communication between neighboring star systems, and to provide the navigational jump beacons used to navigate in hyperspace.
Jump Point: A portal between hyperspace and normal space, opened by either a jumpgate or a hyperspace drive on a starship. Jump points can be opened by a variety of means, including gravitational bending of the fabric of spacetime, magical rending of the fabric of reality itself, or even sufficiently powerful atomic explosions.
Jurvain: A basically humanoid alien race from the Sahlmeen system. The Jurvain are tall, spindly humanoids with three eyes, three legs, and pink-to-purple skin color. Elderly male Jurvain acquire orangeish stripes on their face later in life, similar to becoming a Silverback gorilla. Jurvain are not mammalian, and reproduce by laying eggs. Their home planet is a Mars-sized world with a thin atmosphere and low gravity. Jurvain are all telepathic, but only with other Jurvain. This telepathic ability gives them many of the advantages of a communal hive mind, but individual Jurvain do have their own distinct personalities and are capable of shielding their thoughts from the prying minds of others. Human scientists continue to be baffled by the inexplicable similarities of the primary Jurvain langage to Korean, but it seems to be just a massive coincidence.
Kanji: One of the two distinct scripts in which Japanese is written. Kanji is the more complex set of pictograms, closely resembling Chinese characters, which represent entire words or concepts, and are essentially only used for ceremonial purposes.
Katakana: One of the two distinct scripts in which Japanese is written. Katakana is the simplified, alphabet-like system of consonants and vowels which is used on computers and typewriters.
Ketracite: Trade name for a crystalline chemical composition of carbon, oxygen, sulfur, and nitrogen atoms arranged in a cagelike lattice array, with hydrogen atoms trapped in the many spaces in between. It is used as a way to store hydrogen or deuterium atoms for long periods of time without the need for cryogenic tanks. The only problem is, while Ketracite is very stable under ordinary conditions, if it is shocked with high voltages or powerful pressure waves, it can explode rather nastily, because it's basically the ingredients for gunpowder, plus hydrogen.
Khmer Rouge: 1.) "Red Khmer", a Maoist rebel group who seized control of Cambodia in the 1970's and promptly killed 2 million people through genocide, before being removed from power by a Vietnamese Communist invasion. 2.) High-priced grade of Opium popular among Han nobility in the Middle Kingdom.
Kinetic Interdiction Strike: Term for a warship in orbit above a planet firing lance torpedoes or other projectile weapons down at the surface. Since any ship in orbit has to be moving at around 40,000 miles an hour, a freakin' rock tossed overboard would cause a small explosion when it hit the surface (if it didn't burn up in the atmosphere first). Armored warheads capable of penetrating the atmosphere at orbital velocities don't need much in the way of a warhead, as the mere physical momentum of their impact will make even a small projectile hit with the force of a small nuclear bomb...and there is literally no way to block such a strike. A falling missile will blow right through a ground-launched missile or even a nuclear detonation with ease, and is moving so fast you can't deflect it from its course. Even if you do manage a direct hit on it with something big enough to blow it up, the fragments will still rain down like cannon shells...and stopping a kinetic round in midair will produce an explosion the size of an atomic airburst.
Kinetic Warhead: A missile or torpedo warhead designed to actually impact the target, and which relies on the impact momentum of its incredibly high velocity to do damage. Since any launching ship is certain to be moving at tens of thousands of kilometers per hour at a bare minimum (to be able to maneuver at all instead of just falling into local gravity fields), plus a warhead's own onboard engines for more boost, plus often the closing velocity of an enemy ship trying to close the range with the launching vessel...kinetic warheads often impact at closing velocities of well over a hundred thousand miles per hour. When that kinetic energy is released by the impact, the result is often a bigger explosion than a nuclear warhead would produce.
K'Nes: A catlike alien race from the Urrin system. Their homeworld is not a planet, but a planet-sized moon of a huge Jupiter-like planet. K'Nes evolved from arboreal predators, and they have large sac-like organs in their back which can inflate to several times the size of the rest of their body. The sacs are not inflated with air, but with hydrogen which they can produce chemically in special glands connected to the float-sacs. In the low gravity and thick atmosphere of their homeworld, this allows them to float through the air like a balloon, and their tails flatten out into a paddle shape which then can propel them forward. However, in thinner atmospheres less rich in carbon dioxide, and in heavier gravity fields (such as on just about all human-occupied worlds), K'Nes are unable to achieve sufficient buoyancy to lift off the ground. Still, their flight-evolved senses and reflexes make them formidable fighter pilots. K'Nes Tor is the K'Nes term for their nation, not their race, Tor being roughly equivalent to Kingdom in the main K'Nes language.
KPH: Kilometers per hour. The usual unit of measurement for speeds within an atmosphere or on a planetary surface.
KPS: Kilometers per second. The usual unit of measurement for speeds in orbit or outer space, and the numbers you'll see in front of kps are often higher than the numbers you'll see in front of kph. If this alone isn't enough to drive home the massive difference in speeds between space combat and anything taking place in an atmosphere, nothing will.
KPS2: Kilometers per second per second. One of two standard measures of acceleration rates in space combat and maneuvering. One kps2 is roughly equal to 100 g's. Only gravity-drive ships can pull accelerations worth measuring in kps2. See also G.
Lance Cannon: A large plasma cannon for ground combat, either a crew-served weapon mounted on a vehicle or tripod, or carried by heavy weapons variants of power armor. Used in an anti-vehicle role or as a long-range direct-fire anti-personnel weapon.
Lance Torpedo: A heavy missile used in combat between starships. Launched either from a reloadable tube or from a one-shot box launcher. Either launch system uses a series of electromagnets to rapidly accelerate the torpedo, which then fires a sustainer rocket motor to further increase its speed and provide maneuvering capability as it homes in on its target. Torpedoes can mount a variety of warheads, including kinetic-impact, standoff bomb-pumped X-Ray laser heads, proximity-fused nukes, or even EW decoys and jammers.
Laser Head: A warhead for lance torpedoes or other missiles used in space combat. A small fusion bomb vaporizes a bundle of raw-carbon rods, and the resulting elongated clouds of carbon-atom plasma will become compressed and lase, emitting a powerful X-Ray laser beam out each end of the cloud. The rods are so aligned around the warhead to create a thin cone of beams out along the path of the missile before it detonates. The point of all this is to give missiles their own stand-off, long-range kill capability against warships, as these X-Ray laser beams are more powerful than any shipboard laser system that would be theoretically possible. A missile with a laser head can detonate beyond really effective point-defense range from the target warship, and does not have to come closer than a few hundred thousand kilometers from its target.
Leech: Slang (and insulting) term for Vampires. So called after an invertebrate parasite from Earth that drinks mammalian blood.
Lost Geezers: Slang term for older people who grew up under the Earth Federation, and whom have not assimilated well into Middle Kingdom society.
Mage: A human with the ability to magically alter the very fabric of reality itself by force of will. It is not fully understood why only certain humans are able to use magic at will, but all humans and other sentient beings have at least some ability to shape reality with their collective thoughts and beliefs.
Magick: The supernatural ability to alter reality itself at will, possessed by Mages and other supernatural creatures. The extra K at the end is to differentiate it from stage magic, which relies on non-supernatural arts such as misdirection and illusion to simulate true Magick.
Maglev: Magnetic Levitation. Most commonly used to refer to trains which float a few centimeters above their track due to magnetic repulsion.
Mandarin: 1.) The most common dialect of the Chinese language, now the official language of the Middle Kingdom. 2.) A term for a non-noble (and often non-Asian) member of the government bureaucracy of the Middle Kingdom.
Methane Microlaser: A common cutting tool based around a methane-gas chemical laser. Depending on size, methane microlasers can be used in roles ranging from surgical scalpel to industrial-strength cutting saw.
Mundane: Slang (and slightly insulting) term for a non-awakened human.
Nanobot: A tiny mechanical device too small to see with the naked eye. Nanobots come in many flavors and are designed to do a multitude of tasks. The gestalt-intelligence devices which make up a Horadrim Soul Web are sophisticated nanobots smaller than some larger molecules. Nanotech armor is covered by a soup of nanobots. Industrial facilties use huge vats full of nanobots to rapidly build sophisticated devices one molecule at a time. Medical nanobots clean toxins and infectious organisms from the bloodstream, knit bones back together, and block hemorrhages.
Nanotech Armor: A class of Power Armor which uses billions of nanobots as its outer covering. The nanobots can change the texture and coloration of the outer skin to provide reconfigurable instant camouflage, reseal the suit to repair damage, and shift the tiny scales of armor plate and other components to allow the suit to change size and shape to accommodate werecreatures as they shift into and out of Crinos form during combat.
Nanotechnology: The science of making mechanical and electronic devices on a molecular scale. The original process was similar to making a silicon microchip, but now nanobots are used to build other nanobots, one molecule at a time. The most sophisticated nanotech devices use chemical reactions similar to those in living organisms like bacteria for power or to assemble other molecules into preset patterns. Other nanobots draw power from and are controlled by radio waves beamed at them from a control device.
Nanowelder: A common tool consisting of a small control and power unit combined with a gluegun-like device for squirting a paste containing millions of tiny nanobots in a nutrient-soup matrix. The nanobots, under orders from and receiving beamed power from the control unit, use chemical nutrients in the paste to create customized molecular-bond connections between practically any two materials. Depending on the composition of the nutrient paste, nanowelders can weld together metals, plastics, ceramics, and even living tissue.
Nirvanas: Short for Nirvana Marijuana, a popular (and legal) brand of narcotic cigarettes in the Middle Kingdom. Nirvanas come in all strengths from UltraLight 100s to Extra-Wide Unfiltered and contain a frightening amount of addictive and carcinogenic chemicals.
Nuke: 1.) A nuclear warhead, either fission-based or fusion-based. Fission-based warheads are almost never used any more, as laser-pumped fusion warheads are much more efficient. 2.) A nuclear power plant, either fission-based or fusion-based. Both are still in wide use, but fission reactors are mostly used for remote locations such as on new colonies, where long periods between refueling cycles are more desirable than the efficiency of fusion. And, when you can always dump nuclear waste into a nearby star, waste disposal is no longer a problem. 3.) Slang term for an illicit drug, originally marketed as an anti-spasmodic under the trade name Nucusil. The drug is a clear liquid, and a small square of cotton gauze is usually soaked in this liquid, then applied to the skin with ordinary tape. The drug soaks through the skin into the bloodstream, then causes hallucinations, euphoria, a general sense of peace…and then psychotic delusions, homicidal or suicidal impulses, and finally heart attacks or strokes leading to death. Real addicts apply the drug-soaked patch to the back of the neck, in a practice known as brainstemming.
Orbo: A magically-produced substance which is used as a sort of armor, protecting a target from magick-based attacks.
Organic Technology: The use of genetically-engineered organisms to replace mechanical devices. Horadrim warships and most Arachnid devices are organic in function and construction.
Organlegger: A criminal who either smuggles human organs for purposes of sale for transplant surgery, or even kidnaps and murders people to sell their organs on the black market.
Oyabun: The head of a Yakuza clan. The rough equivalent to the Godfather of a Mafia family.
Paradox: The force that limits the power of Mages. A magical act that clearly violates the physical laws of the universe generates Paradox, and if too much paradox builds up in a mage, their power can rebound back violently, causing injury or death to the Mage. Extreme paradox backlashes can even produce powerful explosions, as when Bruce Von Eisenstein intentionally produced a massive paradox backlash to destroy the first Bug invasion of Earth in 2001. If a magical act is witnessed by unawakened humans, much more Paradox is produced than if it only witnessed by other Mages. In an era when everyone, even the unawakened, are aware of the existence of Magic, Paradox backlashes are much rarer and less dangerous than they were before Gehenna.
Particle Beam: A heavy ion-particle cannon mounted on starships as a medium-range anti-ship weapon. Particle streams produced in either ring or linear particle accelerators inside the ship are fed to a magnetic-lens system and directed at enemy vessels. Most systems are capable of firing a variety of particle streams to produce different effects and levels of damage.
Particle Phalanx: A lighter version of a Particle Beam mounting, with a dedicated linear accelerator feeding it, permanently set to fire a stream of neutrons; and used as a point-defense system against fighters or incoming projectile fire.
PDL's: Point Defense Lasers. Small chemlasers or diode lasers in a turret mounting used as a light point-defense system by starships or surface vehicles.
Plasma Phalanx: A medium-sized plasma-based weapon. Used on small starships as a point defense weapon against incoming projectiles, or on large ground vehicles as a combination point-defense mount/heavy antipersonnel weapon.
Plasma Revolver: A common sidearm in human-controlled space. A large handgun which holds several plasma charges in a revolving cylinder. The shotgun-shell-like charges contain small amounts of two chemicals which, when mixed together and shocked with an electrical charge, undergo a hypergolic reaction and produce a cloud of very hot, very corrosive, electrically charged gas. This gas is then electromagnetically fired from the plasma revolver's barrel toward a target. The hot, corrosive gas will burn or eat through flesh and most other materials; however, a strong magnetic field can attenuate or deflect the plasma cloud.
Plasma Rifle: Basically, a rifle version of a Plasma Revolver. A larger reaction chamber and long barrel mean a more confined plasma bolt and a higher muzzle velocity, leading to increased range and a more powerful impact.
Plasteel: A common structural material in buildings, appliances, and even starships throughout human space. Molten steel is injected with nitrogen in a zero-g environment to produce a foamlike liquid, which is then mixed with a special type of plastic. When cooled and solidified, the resulting composite material is strong, light, and durable. It resists melting, flexes very little under stress, and is very difficult to break.
Pinnace: A small craft, capable of atmospheric flight, carried by a larger starship. Alternate term for large shuttlecraft, especially on military vessels.
Pi-yin: Also spelled pinyin. The most common transliteration system for writing Mandarin Chinese in English/Roman letters. Just as Mandarin Chinese is the official spoken language of the Middle Kingdom, Pi-yin is the official written language.
Power Armor: A powered, armored, airtight mechanical exoskeleton worn by soldiers in the human and Jurvain militaries. A soldier in power armor is stronger, faster, better protected, and better armed than any soldier could possibly be with equipment they have to carry and operate with their own muscle power. Power Armor was originally based on primitive space suits, for use on planets without a breathable atmosphere, but rapidly developed into the equivalent of a one-man tank. There are many types of power armor, from basically lightly-armored space suits to hulking heavy-weapons suits that are more like a walking robot with a cockpit than a suit of armor.
Pressure Suit: An airtight, pressurized garment with attached helmet used to protect the wearer from vacuum for use in space or other hostile environments. Technically, this term applies only to the most bare-bones, simplified type of suit which is designed for use in a vacuum. Also sometimes shortened to p-suit.
Proximity warhead: 1.) Any projectile weapon (missile, cannon shell, etc.) designed to explode near a target instead of hitting it directly. 2.) More specifically, in space combat terms, a missile or torpedo with a small fusion bomb for a warhead, designed to explode within a few miles of its target and damage it with shrapnel (there being no atmosphere in space to produce a shockwave). The fusion warhead is small, because a big one would just vaporize the warhead casing and turn it into plasma...which can be easily deflected with the magnetic fields used to protect ships from micrometeorites.
Q-Ship: A specialist warship disguised to look like an unarmed freighter. Q-Ships are used when hunting pirates, to defend convoys in wartime, and for covert missions in peacetime. They generally are armed with fighter bays, box launchers for Lance Torpedoes, and chemlaser mounts hidden behind detachable hull plates. They can rarely stand up to a major warship, but can usually be counted on to defeat lightly-armed pirate vessels or small commerce-raider task forces of frigates or destroyers.
Quintessence: The fuel for mage powers. The soul of the universe. The fifth element. Call it what you will, whatever it is, it's mysterious and has something to do with Mage powers. Mages themselves don't really understand it, but that's why it's magic and not science or technology.
Railgun: A specific type of magnetic-induction projectile weapon in which a pair of electrically charged rails are used to impart an electric charge to a metallic projectile, which is then accelerated down the rails and out the barrel of a gun by a series of electromagnetic pulses in a set of magnet coils surrounding the barrel. Generally only used for fairly heavy weapons, usually vehicle-mounted or attached to heavy-weapons suits of power armor. Often used, incorrectly, to refer to Coilguns and Gauss Guns.
Ram Chip: Data-storage medium consisting of a small plastic case containing a silicon memory chip and a small lithium disc battery for power. Credchits used to carry money value throughout human space are specialized ramchips.
Raptors: An elite unit within the former Earth Federation military, with the mission of hunting down and capturing mages, werecreatures, and other supernatural humans who refused to be drafted into the Tech Infantry. The unit was created by Arthur Clarke, who commanded the unit for much of its history. With the fall of the Federation, the Raptors are no more, but surviving members of the unit hold many key positions in the current Resistance movement against the Middle Kingdom. Andrea Treschi, one of the leaders of the Middle Kingdom, is himself a former officer in the Raptors, and was Clarke's successor as its commander.
Reaction Mass: Material which is ejected from an ion engine or rocket thruster to provide thrust. In the vacuum and zero-G of deep space, the only way to accelerate, decelerate, or change direction (unless you cheat with a gravity drive) is to throw something in the opposite direction from how you want to move. Reaction mass is what gets thrown, be it hydrogen gas or rocket exhaust. The best possible reaction mass is monatomic hydrogen (single atoms of hydrogen instead of two-atom hydrogen gas molecules), since it is more efficient to throw out many tiny particles of very low mass at very high speed than it is to throw away fewer big particles at lower speeds.
Romanji: Japanese term for the Latin alphabet in which most European languages, such as English, are written. Usually only used to refer to the Latin Alphabet when used to transliterate words from an Oriental language other than Mandarin Chinese.
Round Eye: Yet another slang term for a non-Asian human.
Sabbat: A coalition of non-Camarilla vampire clans in loose alliance, opposed to what they see as oppression by the Camarilla and the Antediluvians who founded the Camarilla clans. The two main Sabbat clans are Lasombra and Tzimice. The Sabbat remains in opposition to the Camarilla, the Black Hand, and the government of the Kingdom of Enoch. Most vampires outside of Enoch are members of the Sabbat. The semi-official leader of the Sabbat is the vampire known as Modred.
Scutter: A small maintenance robot with a rudimentary AI and a single grasping arm, used for minor, repetitive routine repairs (such as replacing burnt-out light bulbs) and cleaning in large facilities such as starships and public buildings.
Shatter Star: A powerful computer subprogram that seeks out the interface equipment being used by a specific user in a VR environment, then causes a power surge circuit overload in the equipment, for the purpose of injuring or killing that user. Originally developed by Federation Internal Security forces.
Sire: A Vampire who creates a new Vampire by draining the blood from a human, then forcing them to drink the Vampire's own blood.
Skinny: Slang (and insulting) term for the Jurvain alien race. They are three-legged, three-eyed, purple-skinned humanoids, slightly taller than the average human, and considerably thinner and more spindly, due to the low gravity of their home planet.
Skinsuit: A high-tech space suit that is skintight and made out of metallic mesh rather than rubberized cloth, with an attached conventional helmet and air supply. A skinsuit is NOT airtight, but instead uses its metallic mesh to support the wearer's own skin, since skin IS airtight. A skinsuit merely prevents the skin from being damaged by vacuum, and cannot be worn over clothing, even underwear. The big advantage of a skinsuit is that it allows maximum freedom of movement, and thus is the standard suit worn by personnel on board military warships during combat. Skinsuits also have no toilet facilities, and thus are not designed for long-term use in vacuum. On board a warship, this is not a problem, since the user can merely go to the head, and bathrooms on board warships are always reinforced and equipped with airtight doors and backup emergency life support systems.
Skintab: A small patch containing a medication or drug which is applied to the surface of one's skin, and designed so that the drug will rapidly diffuse through the skin and enter the bloodstream. A highly advanced development of pre-space devices such as nicotine patches.
Slant: Slang (and insulting) term for an Asian-descended human, so called because of the slit-like eyes common among those whose ancestors came from northeast Asia on Earth.
Slope: Slang (and insulting) term for an Asian-descended human, so called because of the slit-like eyes common among those whose ancestors came from northeast Asia on Earth.
Slugthrower: Slang term for any gun that fires actual bullets instead of plasma bursts, laser beams, or other high-tech projectiles. Anything from a Napoleonic musket to a 20th-century assault rifle can be called a slugthrower. Except for the largest-caliber weapons, generally not very effective against supernatural creatures such as werewolves and vampires, who can quickly heal the damage from a bullet wound.
Souleater: A mysterious alien species apparently native to the Fieras system. Souleaters represent a gray area between physical creatures such as Humans and wraith-like beings of pure energy or spirit such as the Caal. Souleaters have a physical presence, but can also possess other creatures in a manner similar to the Caal. They can shift their physical shape into any form, and are some of the most dangerous creatures known in physical or magical combat. Their presumed homeworld, Fieras VI, has been the site of a three-way battle for control waged by Humans, Bugs, and Shapeshifters for over two centuries now.
Soul Web: The network of gestalt-intelligence nanotech-based entities which reside in the bodies of human-Horadrim Hybrids and give them most of their special powers. Also sometimes referred to as a Life Web.
Space Suit: An airtight, pressurized garment designed for use in a zero-gee, gravity-free environment. Technically, this term applies to any suit useable in open space, but is best used to apply only to suits which are suitable for use outside a ship in tethered or untethered spacewalks.
Spiker Gun: A heavy weapon that can be a large rifle or a built-in system in some suits of power armor. A spiker gun is basically a short-range weapon that uses a very powerful, tightly focused magnetic field to contain a cloud of plasma into a narrow jet of gas, with an effect similar to the shaped-charge warheads on pre-space anti-tank missiles. In a Spiker Gun, the magnetic field extends far beyond the muzzle of the weapon, keeping the plasma confined as a narrow beam for well over a hundred meters before it begins to spread.
Survival Suit: A specialized, simplified space suit designed solely to provide life support and oxygen to a person for a limited period of time. Many one-size-fits-all survival suits are stored in cabinets along the corridors of most warships and many civilian spaceships, for use in the event of an accident or combat damage that results in a loss of atmospheric pressure. Survival suits have very limited supplies of oxygen and water, no food, and usually no provision for going to the bathroom.
Tanj: Acronym for There Ain't No Justice. All-purpose expletive.
Technocracy: A shadowy group of Mages who secretly controlled science and technology back on Old Earth. With the coming of Gehenna, the Technocracy was forced to come out of the shadows and seize overt control over the planet, founding the Federation in the process. Now vulnerable in the open, the Technocracy leadership rapidly started squabbling amongst themselves, and eventually was reduced to controlling only the Internal Security service. With the fall of the Federation, the Technocracy was more or less destroyed.
Terraforming: The process of taking an uninhabitable planet and making it habitable. For a planet such as Mars, this means melting the polar icecaps to thicken the atmosphere, bringing in massive amounts of water and atmospheric gas chemicals (usually from cometary ices), and seeding the planet with genetically-engineered organisms (plants and algae to make oxygen, bacteria to break down chemicals in the soil and release nitrogen, and so on) to make the air breathable and the soil capable of supporting life. For a planet such as Venus, that would mean precipitating unwanted chemicals such as sulphuric acid and carbon monoxide out of the atmosphere with enormous atmosphere condensers, then introducing specialized organisms to break down other unwanted chemicals and introduce chemicals we do want in the air and soil. The process would normally take centuries, but by use of the supernatural abilities of Life Mages and Matter Mages, the process can be truncated to mere decades.
Three-Dee (3D): Slang acronym for “Dooms Day Device”. An experimental weapons system deployed by the Federation in the last days of the Vin Shriak War, it consists of a heavily-shielded Lance Torpedo that can be fired into a star, where a powerful gravitic warhead explodes, temporarily vastly increasing the gavitic pressures inside the star. The resultant supernova explosion will reliably destroy all life on any inner-system planets orbiting that star. Only a handful were ever built, and all were believed used against core worlds of the Vin Shriak empire. The scientist who invented it, Lassarus Severns, disappeared after a raid by a Resistance cell destroyed the facility that had built the only known 3D warheads. Officially, no empire currently possesses 3D weaponry.
Tiltrotor: An aerial vehicle that uses large helicopter-style rotors to take off and land vertically, but tilts or swivels those same rotors to provide thrust for horizontal flight, with wings to provide lift once airborne.
Tong: Rough Chinese-culture equivalent of a street gang. The "Fighting Tongs" of China are more than just petty criminals and street thugs, they also combine many of the characteristics and societal roles of a community center or a charity mission. They are organizations that provide for the welfare of the friends and family of their membership, hold social events, and provide mutual protection against the predations of...other gangs. They also tend to beat the utter living crap out of each other on a regular basis over control of illicit activities such as prostitution, gambling, and drugs.
Torpor: The vampire equivalent of hibernation. A vampire who is staked through the heart, runs out of blood, or injured beyond their supernatural ability to heal will go into torpor. Vampires can also voluntarily enter torpor to hide or withdraw from society. Vampires in voluntary torpor are usually able to rouse themselves in the event of danger, but those who are staked or out of blood are unable to awaken.
Transit Beacon: A method of instantaneously transporting large groups of infantry or cargo between a starship and a planetary surface. A Transit Beacon utilizes the powers of a Correspondence Mage to open up a portal in reality itself from the starship to a planetary surface. Ships equipped with a Transit beacon have a pair of large antennas mounted on their exterior hull (usually on the bow or stern) which are used to precisely locate the transit point and focus the magical energy for opening the portal.
Triumvirate: A leadership coalition of three people who are political allies and agree to share power. The Earth Federation had a succession of three Triumvirates, each of which imposed a sort of stability on the Federation while it lasted. The Middle Kingdom is currently under the control of the fourth such Triumvirate to rule over a majority of humanity since the birth of space travel, which consists of the Asian-descended human Emperor Chiang, the mage Andrea Treschi, and the Horadrim Vin Dane.
Tunnel Drive: The standard Horadrim FTL drive. It uses an artificial gravity field to cut a cylindrical slice out of the fabric of space-time around a starship, then moves the entire cylinder through an artificial wormhole through another dimension (not Hyperspace, another dimension on top of that) directly to its destination with no apparent passage of time. This system can even be used in combat to disappear and reappear on the opposite side of an enemy fleet in mere seconds, or to travel from one star system to another faster than even a digital gate. The Horadrim have never shared this technology with anyone else; although InSec got their hands on some ex-Horadrim warships, they were never able to replicate the weapons or drive systems and build new examples of either.
Umbra: The extension of the spiritual realm beyond the physical borders of Earth. Mages of the Technocracy explored the Umbra in ships known as Umbral Dreadnoughts long before non-magical humans launched satellites or landed on the moon.
Vin Shriak: An alien race from a system beyond G2. Vin Shriak resembled short, pale, delicate humanoids, with moist, sluglike skin and large, dark, compound eyes. Following first contact with humanity, the Vin Shriak became convinced that humans had killed off the Vin Shriak Gods (possibly under the influence of advance scouts from the Caal), and declared a Holy War aimed at wiping out humanity completely. The Vin Shriak nearly destroyed the Federation before finally being driven off by an alliance of powers led by the Eastern Bloc and the Jurvain. The Vin Shriak homeworld itself was destroyed when a 3D device caused its star to go supernova, and the remaining Vin Shriak worlds were destroyed by 3D supernovae or conventional orbital bombardment. In the aftermath of the Vin Shriak War, the exhausted human and neighboring alien empires fell to squabbling amongst themselves, and the short but bloody war between then ended with the founding of the Middle Kingdom, incorporating nearly all of human-populated space.
Void Engineers: A Subset of the Technocracy, a group of Mages who carried out the first secret explorations beyond earth, both in the spiritual realm (the Umbra) and the physical realm (outer space). It was a group of Void Engineers in an Umbral Dreadnought who discovered the Horadrim homeworld and kidnapped several Horadrim children, leading to the Horadrim responding by sending the Bugs to invade Earth.
VR: Virtual Reality, a computer-generated landscape or environment, which users can interact with. VR environments have many uses. They can be used for training simulations, recreation, gaming, education, and even as a graphical interface for very sophisticated computer networks.
Wannabe: Slang (and insulting) term for a Ghoul, a human servant of Vampires.
War Of Blood: The (sort of) secret and (mostly) covert war for control of Vampires (and probably humanity as well) that has been waged since the end of Gehenna between the forces of the Black Hand and Camarilla on one hand, and the Sabbat on the other.
Wastelands: Slang term for the many planets formerly colonized by the Vin Shriak that were left devoid of population at the end of the Vin Shriak War.
Weefle Runner: Slang term for an incompetent and amateurish computer hacker. Formerly a term specifically used to refer to one who sold or used bootleg software.
Werecreature: A supernatural human-animal hybrid such as a werewolf. Werewolves are by far the most common werecreatures, but wererats, wereweasels, weretigers, wererhinos, werecobras, werecrocodiles, and even werechickens also exist, as well as many others. The first werecreatures were created during ancient times by mages experimenting with human-animal crossbreeding. Modern werecreatures are the product of mating between existing werecreatures, including mating with non-magical humans. Increasingly rare due to battle casualties during the Federation's many wars, werecreatures are outcasts among polite society because of their unpredictable rages. Contrary to myth, werecreatures do not change into animal form during full moons (which would be amusing in space...especially since Earth's moon is no more), but can change form at will, or whenever they become enraged (which is quite often). All werecreatures have supernatural strength, stamina, and speed, and are among the most formidable fighters in the known universe.
Wolf: Slang term for a werecreature, especially werewolves. Other common terms include Poodle, Dogboy, Catgirl, Barker, Howler, Fur, Furry, crotch-sniffer, fuzzball, and furball. Use ANY of them to the face of a werecreature...and you'll most likely not have a face any more.
Wraithlands: The spiritual realm which exists parallel to the Earth itself. Many mages, vampires, and other awakened creatures can enter the Wraithlands at will or through use of their supernatural powers. In the aftermath of Gehenna, many Vampires fled to the Wraithlands. When the Bug asteroid devastated Earth in 2199, and Earth itself was evacuated, most Vampires left the Wraithlands for Enoch. The equivalents of the Wraithlands around most other human-populated planets are nearly empty, populated primarily by wraiths, lost spirit mages, and the occasional Vampire in hiding.
Wristcom: A comlink device worn on the wrist like an old-style digital watch.
Wu Jen: Ancient Chinese term for a sorcerer.
XES: Acronym for "Experimental Engineered Soldier", the XES units were cyborg soldiers build by InSec during the last days of the Third Civil War. An InSec-engineered coup attempt failed when it was launched prematurely, and the XES units were not quite ready for deployment. Subsequently, the handful of prototype XES units were sent on missions of random carnage and destruction through the old capital city on Avalon, and caused a phenomenal amount of destruction before they were finally destroyed.
Yakuza: The rough Japanese equivalent of the Sicilian Mafia. They are gangsters who run the underworld on New Tokyo and other worlds with large Asian populations.
Yangtze Cola: A brand of carbonated beverage popular throughout human space. It is flavored with ginseng and cola nuts, and has added caffeine, sugar, and ephedrine for energy. Its flavor is sickly-sweet and spicy at the same time. Yangtze Cola is slightly addictive, rots the teeth, and slowly dissolves the lining of the digestive tract.
Y-Rack: A little-used (but fun) attachment for a suit of power armor. A Y-rack is a two-barreled mortar/grenade launcher mounted on the back of a suit of power armor. It can be set to fire on command at specific targets; or to launch automatically at preset or random intervals, such as to fire smoke grenades to provide cover, or to fire incendiary and explosive grenades to cause chaos and destruction when on a marauding raid in an enemy urban center.
Zero-G: Zero Gravity, the condition of not being affected by gravity different than one's immediate surroundings. In orbit around a planet or in deep space, any object not currently accelerating under its own engine power can be said to be in zero-g. Also sometimes spelled zero-gee.