Star-Chaser

What kind of trice-damned fool chases a fallen star?  
— Sencha, Blight-Trackers
  Star-Chasers are a specialized kind of scavenger that haunt the Surface in the wake of meteorite impacts, hoping to find and haul away a prize of meteoric iron and other celestial metals. Every year, the Star-Chaser watch the skies above Araea and hope that this time, they'll make it big.  
desert_ruins
by Jorge Jacinto
   

Chasing Stars

  Araea is frequently bombarded with meteorites and other, stranger impacts from the stars. While most contain little more than rock and ice, some contain metals and minerals - sometimes enough to make a man or woman wealthy. That is the hope that the Star-Chasers cling to as they mount every new crater to inspect the insight. It is a mix of prospector and treasure-seeker, high stakes, and frequent disappointment. But every one of them is sure that they'll make it.    
Meteorite Ticks   The things that fall from the skies are not always lifeless. Some meteorite contains celestial hitchhikers, like the Meteorite Ticks. These dangerous, alien creatures aren't a frequent hazard, but enough Star-Chasers go missing every year for there to be good reason for caution. It isn't certain how many die by mauling of the Meteorite Ticks or other star-spawn, but they're one of the most popular campfire stories.   Read more about Meteorite Tick
    Star-Chasing is not a common pursuit, but those who do it tend to go all in. They need to be excellent navigators and survivors to make it on the Surface, as well as capable enough to fend off wild beasts and rival chasers. Most are fearless, or foolish, undaunted by the horrors in their way to glory. They have to be ready to pick up and head out at the first sign of a fresh impact, often trading preparation for a headstart. Some dabble in Blight-Tracking with mixed success, while others hire the professionals for that part of the job.      

Structure

  Star-Chasers have no real organized structure, but they do tend to work in groups. Each band is different: some consist of families who have taken to the business, while others are bands of friends or even Exiled hoping to buy their way back. For everyone one veteran Chaser who knows what they are doing, there are ten rookies or enthusiasts.   But where there is profit, there are people. Small support organizations have begun to form in the settlements in the Outer Shell or on the Surface that cater specifically to Star-Chasers. Most are little more than scalpers, hoping to make a profit from the fools heading out into the wasteland in search of fortune. But every time a Chasers actually return with some great find, merchant guilds take notice. Some organize their own expeditions, lead by Blight-Trackers and well supplied, but such expeditions are rare.      

Becoming a Star-Chaser

 
So you just decided you'd wander around out there, in case you stumbled on some gold?  
— Sencha, Blight-Trackers
  Most Star-Chasers begin their career either by hearing about the vast wealth that is falling down onto the Surface every season, sometimes by sources like the 'Surviving On The Surface' pocket guide or lured in by friends and relatives already in the business. There's nothing in the way of Star-Chaser scholar or professional guilds: at best, they sometimes start informal associations were several groups trade tricks and good locations to wait for a meteorite impact. But this is rare.   In the eyes of most, Star-Chasers are mad bastards that are hunting a mirage of wealth they will never catch... Until they do, and then everyone wants to be their friend. The life of a Star-Chaser is many things, but 'boring' is not one of them... Or long.
The Surface   While most of humanity cower deep underground, the Star-Chasers brave the Surface. It is a dangerous, irradiated land of frozen tundras and blasted deserts, with monsters that have adapted to the most hostile environments on the planet. Even without other people trying to steal your claim, it is a dangerous place.   Read more about the Surface

Blight-Trackers and Star-Chasers

  For their part, Blight-Trackers view the Star-Chasers with a mixture of contempt and pity. Most new Star-Chasers have no idea what they are getting themselves into as they step out onto the Surface.   To the cautious well-prepared Blight-Trackers, the reckless abandon and 'make it up as we go along' attitude of amateur Star-Chasers is infuriating. On the other hand, those wise enough to know better make for steady business.   Read more about Blight-Trackers    
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Steel from the Stars

  The real prize that every Star-Chaser hopes to find is that of Starsteel. This celestial metal exists only in small quantities in Araea, as its only source is from meteorites. This makes the metal immensely rare - and equally valuable. Even a tiny amount of the rainbow-hued metal can make a Chaser wealthy for the rest of her life.   Read more about Starsteel  
Starsteel cover
   
One of the most significant hazards that Star-Chasers have to contend with are other Chasers. Not only is it a race to be the first to make a claim on an impact site, but also a battle to defend it from less-than-honest rogues.   Hauling the find back to civilization can still be the most dangerous part of any Star-Chase.
Kagarai_3
by Nicola Danese
 



Cover image: by Darkest Dungeon

Comments

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13 Feb, 2020 13:28

Well done! I love how the Star-Chasers and Blight-Trackers are similar yet so so different in fundamental ways. Well done!   I am wondering, has it ever been attempted to hire a group of Star-Chasers to hunt down and take out a Meteorite Tick to skin for its chitin? Given the attitude of a Star-Chaser, even though its got a high risk, that would seem to be a massive reward that would attract them.   Also, all things have a lifespan. So how many Star-Chasers either go out on their own or are hired to look for a Meteorite Tick that has expired of natural causes ... all to get that big payoff for the chitin?   Oh, and since the Blight-Trackers and Star-Chasers have such a dislike for each other ... has this ever broken out into open hostility before?

15 Feb, 2020 10:29

Thanks so much! :D   And not usually - if you want to hunt Meteorite Ticks, you'd usually try to hire some hunters instead. To Star-Chasers, ticks are an occupational hazard rather than a goal... Most of the time. They're pretty spooky!   Star-Chasers are nothing if not opportunists, so they would definitely try to bring that loot home. But in general, they're after the meteorites, more than the critters who might catch a ride on them.   Definitely! I might add some notes about that, too... But it's like the hostility between idiot amateurs and real experts in, say, wilderness survival. There have been fist fights, petty sabotage and lots of shouting for sure.   Thanks so much for reading and commenting :D I'll see what I can add to the article!

6 Mar, 2020 15:42

such a fun group! This would be an awesome character type to roleplay!

Author of the upcoming book Rise: Liminal Chronicles |
6 Mar, 2020 19:00

They are definitely a mad bunch! Just like PCs :D