Original Post in the Unofficial Transcendence Forum
I find this really useful, but the real discussions seem to be happening here now - so I hope it's ok to copy it over here and update it maybe a little
Here is a quick description of the various sovereigns in the game.
Note: You may not want to include all of these in the Captain's Primer...perhaps some should be left more mysterious...
Charon Pirates [augmented humans]:
A loosely organized group of pirates/privateers that prey on commercial vessels. Individual groups have a high degree of autonomy but they pay tribute to the larger organization.
Outlaws [augmented humans]:
A loose criminal organization involved in smuggling, drugs, extortion, etc. They have close ties to the Black Market stations.
Centauri Warlords [augmented humans]:
Armed warlords who prey on defenseless stations. Originally from the Centauri system (near Sol) but now spread-out to many parts of the Commonwealth.
Fanatical group that opposes the Corporate Hierarchy and seeks to redistribute their profits.
Salvagers [enhanced humans]:
Each salvager ship is a miniature community and most salvagers live and die without ever setting foot on a world larger than an asteroid.
Heliotropes [augmented/enhanced humans]:
A quasi-religious organization founded on principles opposing entropy and energy-death. Heliotropes are generally hostile to other humans.
Sapiens [pure humans]:
A small group relegated to the most inhospitable systems. Sapiens use radiation and other biohazards as their weapon of choice against the "devolved".
Sung Slavers [enhanced humans?]:
Sung Slavers form a powerful but mysterious civilization beyond St. Katharine's Star. They enslave humans of all races and use them for organ transplants, drug manufacture, and processing power. They are particularly skilled at cyber technology. [Are they connected to Luminous?]
Marauders [augmented humans]:
An off-shoot of Charon Pirates.
Death Drugs Cartel [enhanced humans]:
The cartel produces genetically tailored drugs needed for hyper-clonal therapy, a life prolongation technique. Because the manufacture of the drugs involves the growth and exploitation of an ancephalic clone, these techniques are banned in Commonwealth space. No one knows how long human life may be prolonged with these techniques, but many believe that the original founders of the cartel are still alive. If so, they would be over two-hundred years old.
Order of Penitence [Simples]:
The Order of Penitence began as a voluntary campaign of voluntary extinction. Although it was never popular, its charter was twisted by extremists to promote forced human extinction. They are a feared cult of fanatics who seek to destroy as much life as possible before their alloted time expired. They worship Oracus.
Ringer's Collective [neo-humans]:
Ringers began as a colony of miners around Saturn. They have adapted their biology to live in space. Today, their knowledge of science and technology (specially those related to space) is extensive.
Ferian Miners [zoanthropes?]:
Almost nothing is known about Ferians since they avoid all human contact. They mine rare and exotic materials and trade with Ringers.
Xenophobes [enhanced humans]:
Xenophobes have a closed society which thrives in the depths of space. They do not tolerate other life forms.
Ares Orthodoxy [neo-humans]:
The Ares Orthodoxy is colonizing dozens of systems beyond Jiang's Star. They use clone banks and intensive training to create a utopian society without dissent. They claim to be guided by Domina, but almost no one believes that.
Luminous is an autonomous, distributed AI. Its goals and desires are completely unknown.
[No backstory yet--other than that they are settlers of some sort]
[No backstory yet--other than that they are a military dictatorship of some sort]