What is SpaceDawn
SpaceDawn is a setting that is loosely based on the lore of Earthdawn and Shadowrun, extrapolated out into the future. It has a lot of Eclipse Phase, Babylon 5 and Mass Effect influence as well. It uses the Bulldogs! implementation of Fate. There are a lot of rough edges where I've just sort of pushed it together, as I'm not sure how much effort of creation I'm willing to put into something that is currently just a single adventure experiment…
The general "Ages" of the world as per ED and SR lore: “Golden Age” (circa 39,000 BC), the “Dragon Age” (circa 29,000 BC), the “Metahuman Age” (Circa 18,000 BC), the “Earthdawn Age” (circa 13,000 BC), and the “Shadowrun Age” (2011 AD).
Earthdawn is set in the waning years of it's age, with the magical levels having peaked (the Scourge) and while "stuck" for the moment all indication are they they will trend downwards and all will be lost to the vagaries of time and legend.
Shadowrun is set in the early parts of it's magical age, with the magic levels just beginning to rise. If we consider the official start to be around 2011, the Ghost Dance and the the 2062 Halley's Comet events combined to increase the oncoming speed of the magical rise thus accelerating the approach of the Scourge (the time period where the magic levels have risen high enough that Horror level entities are scouring what most would consider reality.). My own extrapolation is that by the mid 2140's return of the comet the Scourge was likely underway. However, technology is a weird equalizer so I'm also going to posit that the world population didn't surrender to the horrors until it became seriously overwhelming, likely using things like the manasphere limitations to withdrawn and have "safe" places to wait out.
The SpaceDawn that I am running is set in roughly the year 2440, around the time of the 5th return of Halley's Comet since the 2062 Surge event. This is being considered somewhere in the middle/waning years of Shadowrun's "Scourge". Earth itself would still be highly dangerous, as would the low earth orbits. I'm also going to posit that the rising magic levels meant that the manasphere kept expending and eventually engulfing the first "safe" colonies and infact reach/envelope the moon. Additionally, places like Mars and perhaps some of the more "habitable" moons in the solar systems also have awakened manaspheres at this time, partially due to the activities of colonists but also due to resonance and magic stuff.
Space is dangerous and unforgiving. Even with advances in technology travel is slow and fraught with danger. It will suck away mana as quickly as it will oxygen from a ruptured space suit. But that danger also is a measure of protection. Much like building Caers underground in ED, building them in space meant that few horrors could even get /at/ them much less in to them. Many stations were built in orbits about the Solar system, most near Earth which as noted in the expanding manasphere comment above proved less than ideal. However this also meant that magical beings were stuck with trying to build on Earth, combining modern and mythical techniques to ride out the storm.
Additionally, while teleportation isn't something that exists, and the manavoid prevents direct travel between manaspheres… Astral Space is… weird. And in particular the netherplanes where spirits are said to come from are even weirder, and they don't always follow traditional geometry in regards to how things connect so it's been possible for Horrors to get to places they shouldn't have such as remote sealed dome colonies.
Unlike during the previous low-tech scourges space travel and radio communications meant that colonies weren't as isolated as they used to be. Ships, some automated, some remotely rigged, a few even actually manned, continued to ply the farther reaches of the solar system, trading physical safety for magical security. Colonies kept in touch, provided limited trade with one another, and continued to do all the things people do… which meant name givers were responsible for almost as many lost colonies as the horrors were.