Plagenera is the current rendition of Maltese. It uses Star Wars elements more heavily to make it easier for players to adapt. The setting includes many familiar aspects from Star Wars, Dungeons and Dragons, Cyberpunk, and Modern Earth. Nearly anything can appear in the setting with some having a little twist and others being relatively unchanged.
The action while not particularly restricted will focus on one town, Maltese, on one planet, Plagenera. Characters will likely get jobs to find and recover things or stop someone else from doing a particular thing. In many ways it will run like Shadowrun or Cyberpunk, but the characters will work a little more within the law and the law will be a little looser.
Recovering and artifact from an ancient dungeon in Necropolis might play out like a classic dungeon crawl blasting hordes of undead. Recovering the artifact from an embassy might run more like a crime caper where it is very important not to be spotted and conflict must be avoided.
The universally skilled assumption is used, so characters can act as if they have any skill at the level of the attribute, with the exception of magic. Bonuses will even the playing field early on, but eventually real skill will more than make up for any bonus. Advancement will be slow, but steady so characters should see marked improvement while new characters won’t seem useless.
Every potential foe is also a potential ally, so how characters interact with The Empire, The UN, The Metro, The Ambassadors of the twenty local nations as well as nations from earth and other planets, crime syndicates, gangs, reporters, and even local cops will all be factors in how the game progresses.
The Cross/On The Cross; Maltese is at least partially named for the fact that from above it is shaped like a Maltese Cross over a pretty circular body of water. The cross, or being on the cross are part of a local vernacular that indicates the city, the streets of the city, poor neighborhoods and mean streets, being on the run or in hiding, and being poor or homeless depending on the context.
Noir: The setting while composing of science fiction, space opera, and fantasy should have a general Noir feel. The characters aren’t trying to save the galaxy, just doing a job. It isn’t personal and you shouldn’t get involved unless it’s your job; a Live and Let Die attitude combined with retro styles and a society where drinking and smoking are encouraged.
Road Warriors: Maltese is set near two primitive nations that have adapted Mad Max style gear and attitudes and make a living jumping travelers on the highways. While there are some patrols, in general interstate travel is done by armed and armored vehicles which while frowned on in the more proper parts of the city can frequently be seen in the outskirts.
The Nations: Each nation is independent, but has to pay a tribute to the Empire as well as the UN for their continued protection and mediation. The tribute isn’t actually voluntary and many resent it, but faced with the overwhelming firepower have little option but to tow the line and try to manipulate some influence or short the payment however they can.
Diversity: Obviously Earth and The Empire are both humanocentric. Humans were also dominant in several of the native nations, but there are many other species present and the UN often obsesses over equal treatment for the non-humans and creates strife increasing policies much like those that caused racial tensions on Earth. Depending on the make up of the character groups this could be a minor background detail or a significant factor in some sessions.
Religion: Many gods are still worshiped on Plagenera and representatives such as angels, devils, and demons are frequent visitors, but no avatar of a deity is known to walk the planet and divine miracles are only seen on occasion.
Magic: The Empire classifies all supernatural abilities as The Force, Earth scientists refer to all supernatural abilities as Psychic Phenomena, and the locals of Plagenera refer to all supernatural abilities as Magic. Regardless of the name the mystical forces are very real and a part of everyday life for many. Some corporations who don’t favor magic use pay to have magical dampers placed on their buildings significantly reducing potential magic use while others just hire a large staff of wizards and psychics to battle any unwanted intrusion.
Cybernetics: Never popular in the Empire there hasn’t been a huge cybernetics movement in Maltese, but many outlanders, wastelanders, and highwaymen seem to end up with them and they are quite popular in Tazos and to a lesser degree in Oz and Gao. Most people in Maltese that require cybernetics get synth-skin coverings to conceal them. As a side note; magic seems to be fully effective on cyborgs and they seem to see no loss of psychic ability.
Vehicles: Most vehicles are run on liquid hydrogen, although some are electric. The exhaust from running liquid hydrogen is water vapor giving places with lots of traffic a steamy humid feel and a bit of a blur to the air. Wheeled vehicles are still very common due to the lower cost to produce, but antigravity or repulsor vehicles are available for those willing to pay for the luxury.
Droids: Autonomous robots with moderate AI are very common and fill in many menial jobs. Generally restricted to those of means they often serve in many servant roles for those transitioning between middle lifestyle and the upper ends of wealth where live servants become a status symbol. Droids also serve many menial civil tasks like cleaning parks and driving buses.
Weapons: Blasters tend to be more powerful and hold more ammo than conventional firearms, but conventional firearms remain popular. Standard melee weapons are also in use, but powered melee weapons and even lightsabers are available. Lightsabers are simple considered melee weapons on Plagenera and not closely associated with Jedi or any other group.