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This guide will contain essential information for how contributing to the lore works, standards for lore documents, and more general advice for writing lore. I will choose to assume nothing of the people reading this guide, so let's start from the top. If you haven't already, you should read everything immediately relevant to what you're planning on adding onto.

Essential Information

Lore Leads have final say on all lore submissions. If a lore lead says something isn't fit for the lorebase, it is not fit for the lorebase. The lore leads here are the coolest bitch in town (torimaesua#0479) and the third-coolest bitch in town (TetraZeta#8776). It's also a good idea to consult with them about any changes or additions you want to make to the lore before you start making those changes.

Write lore that fits the setting. Yeah yeah I know, Captain Obvious. You'd be surprised! Read the HackMD and wiki pages (yes i know i need to clean these up ill get to it) for more details on any particular topics, and check the Setting Fundamentals section under Key Considerations for a quick rundown on some core setting elements.

Core Lore Tenets

All submissions must adhere to lore tenets. We have a small set of strict tenets that lore submissions must follow. A lot of these will seem intuitive to most but they're written out explicitly for the sake of brevity.

  • No -isms exist institutionally except for classism. Individuals may rarely hold bigotry and bias but this is always on an individual level and is only present because there is always strong variation between people and we don't want to restrict player character-building.
  • Factions and culture are never drawn directly across species lines. They may have strong bias due to species often having locational origin points (Many humans are from Earth, and most people from Earth are humans, but SolGov is not "The Human Faction"), but they will never be restricted specifically along these lines.
  • Humanocentrism is to be avoided, and to some degree this includes having them be the "generic" species. They have their own gimmicks!
  • Leave room for players to write things that are functionally canon. We love headcanon! and OC planets, genelines, factions, etc. Leave plenty of room for players to engage with the lore on their own.

Key Considerations

This section contains a number of key considerations for lore and document writing. It is strongly advised you aim for and follow these considerations.

Setting Fundamentals

  • Time Period and Tech Level: The setting is intentionally agnostic to our current calendar and series of events. In terms of tech level, it's loose, but generally lower-than-average for Space Station 13. Design accordingly.
  • Scale: There's going to be enough room in the galaxy for people to make up OP/SS (Original Planets/Star Systems) for any particular major faction. Explored space only spans part of our Milky Way galaxy.
  • Tone: Shiptest as a setting is generally on the brighter side. No grimdark elements, no pointless cruelty thrown in for the sake of making things seem dark or mature, so on. When serious things happen, they can speak for themselves.
  • Overall Themes:
    • Rebirth and recovery after disaster and trauma: main setting is handling the destroyed remains of former colonies, many/most species have a singular great disaster in their past they are past to some degree.
    • Balance of a silly world with serious emotions and character development: the old "Futurama and Bojack Horseman" adage of days past.
    • Keeping a close eye on the reasons behind sci-fi and ss13 tropes without fully subverting them for the sake of subversion: SolGov in its form here.


good sunday night reading

Make your player-facing writing short and sweet.

Lore of great length will only serve to intimidate new players and make the server more inaccessible, while additionally burying relevant information in irrelevant details. It is strongly recommended that you split documents into player-facing, contributor-facing, and 'master' documents. Not only will this make it easier for people to get relevant information, but it also aids with brevity.

Additionally, an arbitrary limit of five sentences per section will be loosely enforced on all player-facing documents. This is less of a hard-and-fast restriction and more of a challenge, to encourage writing easy-to-digest lore.


Categorization of information greatly assists in making sure the right people get the right amount of information.

Our system of categorization for lore information relies on two concepts: types of information, and scope of information.

Types of Information

We can sort lore information into four broad categories: player-relevant, contributor-relevant, narrative-relevant, and Fluff. These also correlate roughly with depth level of lore.

  • Player-relevant information affects a player directly. This is information that can be incorporated into a character's background and affects how that character will act.
  • Contributor-relevant information is guiding aesthetics, design, and equipment philosophy that will inform the creation and balancing of maps and assets.
  • Narrative-relevant information is overarching intent and direction behind a lore piece.
  • Fluff is information that does not majorly impact a lore piece.

These different kinds of information are, as their names suggest, relevant to different people. It is important that these different depths of information are then split into different pages or documents, as it will ensure that people can easily find the lore that is most relevant for their purposes. It is recommended that, once your 'master' lore draft is complete, that information relevant to players and contributors are filtered out into respective pages. Player-facing documents should go on the wiki, while Contributor-facing documents should go on HackMD.

Scope of Information

Sorting your lore into categories based on the scope of the effects of the lore is also be an important aspect of lore contribution. Determining the scope of your lore aids in discussion and review of your lore. Through this lens, lore can be sorted into three categories: Major, Moderate, and Minor.

  • Major lore has a sweeping effect on the universe of the setting. Its introduction requires careful consideration on and of significant parts of the rest of the lorebase, including other Major lore.
  • Moderate lore has an important effect on the Frontier or the universe, but their introduction does not severely impact the lorebase or gameplay.
  • Minor lore has little to no direct effect on the universe of the setting.


When discussing your documents or sorting them into categories, you can refer to them by their scope and their depth. For example, if you have a document meant for players to read to inform their backstories, but it is also relatively small and localized in impact, then you would refer to it as a "player-facing minor lore document". This is not a hard and fast rule so much as something you should be aware of for ease of discussion.

Page and Document Structure

While pages won't follow a strict checklist of things that must be included, most pages — especially ones that cover a similar kind of topic — will share some common sections. This section will cover the most common sections seen in different types of lore and good practice for each. Examples from various documents will be included.


Each lore page has an overview section, which provides a brief rundown on the subject of the page and provides pertinent information. This overview section serves as the introduction and tone-setter for the rest of the document. You need to use this section to hook in the attention of readers. This is primarily important for player-facing articles, as contributor-facing documents are for a more focused crowd who are there mainly for guiding principles and important information.

The Solar Confederation, officially The Most Serene Solar and Intersolar Confederation, is a polity based in the Sol system. The country is a federal republic divided into numerous cantons and territories, with federal level institutions based on Earth. The Confederation, sometimes referred to as SolGov, maintains a policy of armed neutrality; it has not fought in international conflict since early formation and avoids association with polarizing alliances. The Sol system has become the location of choice for numerous international organizations and institutions.
The Solar Confederation, Shiptest Wiki

It is good practice to use this section as a hook, especially when in-universe writing is allowed. Quotations can serve as a powerful tool here, allowing you to insert some extra flavor and free characterization into a document without risking the clerical tone (i have some things to say about that clerical tone but they aren't for this doc). It is also good practice to link related documents in the overview section.