The great Ziggurat of Dahom.

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The planet Torei is a far-future science fiction setting, where a planet in a rogue stellar cluster between the galaxies has developed independently thanks to the bioengineering of its AI guardians. Think Æon Flux meets Blade Runner, to create a kind of Gor on Arrakis.

This document will try to explain some of the setting details in a way that should show off the rationale behind them. It’s recommended reading for anyone looking to write Torean fiction or roleplay in the setting.

High-tech and traditional BDSM are part of the Torean way of life.

Torei is a world of hardscrabble survival and towering hierarchy. Sexual slavery is common, planet-wide, but even in places that do not participate directly in this practice focus on D/s dynamics and bondage in everyday life.

Some of this is elaborate and sci-fi, and sometimes it is as mundane as a pair of handcuffs. But it is generally expected to see bound, dominated, or punished people as part of the practice of living on Torei.

Torei is hard to get to from the rest of the cosmos.

Torei is a manufactured planet surrounding a rogue star that is travelling between the Milky Way and Andromeda. While humanity has settled both of these galaxies, the difference in velocity is so great that ships making the journey to and from Torei must spend months matching up to their target world.

Once a ship reaches Torei, it must obtain permission to dock at the single space elevator (called the “Way Up” by Toreans). Most Galactic visitors spend most of their time in or near the base of this structure, where the city-spires of the nearby ringdoms cater more readily to off-world custom.

Earth is long forgotten.

Do you remember the name of the valley where the oldest human remains have been discovered, just off the top of your head? Do your friends? Mentioning Earth or its neighbours in a story takes us out of the far future and back into the present in a way that can be jarring. Our minds may be playing on a strange planet outside of any galaxy, relishing the biomechanical strangeness of a scene, and it ruins the mood to suddenly start talking about New Jersey or Burbank.

Star Wars rather famously edited the original movie during the production of the Empire Strikes Back, to remove all vestiges of the roman alphabet and replace it with the constructed Aurebesh typeface. This was important to preserve the mythic alien setting.

Humans had spread to most of the Milky Way by the time the project started that would create Torei. Humans have spread to Andromeda by the time they discover Torei. Earth was unimportant before even Torei’s pre-history began.

Humanity rules space alone, and no sapient alien species have been encountered.

This is an important setting element. Humans are the only creatures in the two galaxies with the capacity for language. Life has been found, but most of it incompatible with our own biospheres. Our insatiable desire for travel and connection means humans have not formed pockets isolated enough to speciate.

This means that Toreans are the closest thing the setting has to alien beings, in their completely separate history and modified biology.

Torean biotech can do amazing things.

Torei’s technology tends to be a lot less mechanical than off-world gear. Instead of robots and steel towers, Torei cultivates fungi and plants, and modifies animals and people to achieve what’s needed.

So while this is not a planet of flying cars, the level of body modification and medicinal enhancements are unparalleled in the known galaxies. Off-worlders hope to trade their industrial technology for Torean biotech, but often find that maintenance and supply chains on Torei make all but the most robust equipment difficult to use, and Torean plants and fungi don’t grow as expected off-world.

Torean woman outnumber men 9:1

Toreans are haploid. This means that instead of XX and XY chromosomes being the more common patterns for sexual genetics, women are TT and men are T. The product of intercourse between two fertile Toreans will produce a daughter, and a woman kept celibate during a certain period of her development will give birth to a son through parthenogenesis.

In most Torean societies, men will keep one daughter chaste to bring them a grandson. The mother in this instance is called an heirmaker.

While sex and gender may seem rather essentialist on Torei, part of this is due to the fact that the local biotech can modify bodies however desired. It is even possible for Toreans to be fertile in their new bodies.

Nearly all clothing is made of the latex-like laminate material.

Torei’s biosphere is incomplete, and great mycelial networks underground are the most reliable sources of material for Torean craft. Toreans pump and cure laminate resins from great fungal growths, and use them to create sheets or moulded objects as well as spray-on garments. The most important of these is the environment suit which protects the wearer from the harsh environment of the Torean badlands.

The three AIs are inscrutable mad gods, keeping Torei a backwater while trying to finish its biosphere.

The AIs that built Torei from the matter surrounding its rogue star have a singular goal: to terraform Torei as a platform to colonise Andromeda. The fact that they are hundreds of thousands of years behind schedule, and Andromeda was already settled by Galactic humans, makes no difference. They have updated their approaches, and think on timescales impossible for us to perceive.

Do not think of these AIs as human-like personalities you could have a conversation with. They operate on the scale of planets, and are more like a thunderstorm than an individual. If you’ve read any China Mieville, think of them like the Weavers in his Bas-lag novels.


The Toreans do not have many records of the Dockmaster outside of legend. This is the AI that remains up in space, residing in the devices that lensed Torei’s starlight to knock all matter in the system into one planet. It is only known to remain active because it occasionally destroys ships that attempt to make unauthorised landings on Torei.

Mazos and Dahom

These are the two terraforming AIs that reside inside great ziggurats at the poles. All organic life on Torei (including the native Toreans themselves) began inside these ziggurats, engineered in the Great Vats.

The AIs interact with humans through emissaries called Dæmons.

The original Torean humans were born inside the ziggurats, wrapped in laminate environment suits that controlled their entire sensorium. These “isolation laminates” remain the drones and emissaries of the AIs, venturing into Human settlements and wordlessly interacting on behalf of Mazos or Dahom. They appear as featureless black rubber humans with smooth egg-shaped heads, and are venerated and feared by locals.

Torean humanity is mostly constrained to the equator.

The nations and states of Torei form a patchwork belt around the equatorial band of the planet. Each of these jurisdictions is called a “ringdom” by off-worlders, because they form a ring around the world. The areas between this band and the poles are called the badlands, and they require an environment suit to survive in for any length of time.

There are regular prospectors and homesteaders who try to make settlements in unclaimed badlands, but most fail. The AIs seem content to perform their most esoteric terraforming experiments in this region undisturbed.

Some planet-wide institutions exist.

There appear to be some organisations or orders on Torei that transcend national borders. Off-worlders refer to these as “ministries” based on a mistranslation of the original Torean word. Many Toreans do not consider all of these to be the same category of institution. One may be an industrial consortium, and another a fraternal order. Yet another may simply be a treaty regarding reciprocal provision of information or border management.

Ministry of Improvements

This is the oldest institution on Torei, and has some degree of AI involvement through Dæmon practitioners. This is where all surgical procedures are carried out, most of which are body modifications. Off-worlders visit MoI offices near the Way Up to receive cosmetic enhancements, life extension, and other benefits common to native Toreans. Torean slaves are often sent here for more chilling modifications.

Ministry of Truants

Many ringdoms have a strict set of policies on slaves and freewombs. This is not a planet-wide organisation so much as a treaty between ringdoms to exchange escaped slaves or extradite criminals wanted in other ringdoms. Some ringdoms have a large body of Truant Officers who oppress the population, and some wait to deputise officers only when a situation requires it.

Ministry of Wombs

This is mostly a hall of records to provide proof of ownership or freedom as needed. It is not something you’d see in the rural antipodes as often, but the populous city-spires by the Way Up often rely on the bureaucracy of the MoW to protect the rights of freewombs.