Expansionist Stellar Imperium
Almost 50 years ago, a Starfinder scout ship ventured beyond the Hydra Nebula, deep into the unexplored reaches of the Vast. Upon arrival, the Starfinders announced the discovery of a star system with planets inhabited not just by unfamiliar aliens, but also by humans—a society apparently not of Pact Worlds origin. It also reported the existence of multiple large starships of unknown design, and the scout’s intention to establish communication. The Starfinder ship made no further transmissions.
This was the Pact Worlds’ first contact with the Azlanti Star Empire, a vast union of diverse races, worlds, and star systems under the dominion of humans who left Golarion millennia before the Gap. The Azlanti Star Empire seeks to bring all inhabited worlds under its hegemony, exploiting their knowledge, labor, and resources for the good of the empire. Its driving philosophy asserts that humans— specifically pure-blooded Azlanti—are the most perfect species and that their destiny is to conquer the galaxy and rule over all lesser species. The Star Empire’s fleet of starships is believed to rival the navies of the Pact Worlds and Veskarium combined, and its legions of gem-augmented aeon troopers ruthlessly conquer new territories and quell dissent.
Since that meeting, encounters between the Pact Worlds and the Star Empire have been few, but always hostile. No vessel reporting direct contact with Star Empire forces has survived the encounter, at least in officially recorded sources, and so far only the barest outlines of their society have been gleaned by spying on transmissions. Two diplomatic delegations sent by the Pact Worlds government were firmly rebuffed: the first vanished without a trace, its members assumed to have been captured or killed; the second destroyed outright as soon as it came out of the Drift in Azlanti territory. The Veskarium colony world of Najin-Korozayas, established only a decade before first contact with the Star Empire, was obliterated in an Azlanti attack soon after, its entire populace slaughtered or enslaved and its resources plundered. Since then, both the Pact Worlds and the Veskarium have kept their distance from systems believed to be in Azlanti territory, forbidding explorers or colonists from entering, and the Stewards keep a close eye on the region, lest the Azlanti decide to move in force toward the Pact Worlds.