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100 Spacer Superstitions


People are superstitious by nature, and when you combine dangerous work with a lack of control over their circumstances, those superstitions become even more powerful. Given the nature of their work, it's unsurprising that spacers who travel the voids between worlds have slews of traditions that they insist be maintained by all onboard their vessels in order to maintain good luck for their voyages between the stars.

Some of these superstitions trace back to the old beliefs and practices of world bound sailors. Others came about only after vessels went to space, and found themselves in an environment even more hostile and unpredictable than the waters of the seas. While the specific superstitions will vary from world to world, ship to ship, and even from one spacer to another, these are some of the more dominant superstitions one is likely to run across if they spend any real amount of time trekking across the blackness beyond the sky.

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  • Bells are banned on many ships. While this is not an issue for most spacers, as alarms are often digital these days, there are still some ships that carry old-fashioned bells for formal occasions that happen onboard. If these bells ring outside of their designated duties, however, it's said to herald the death of someone onboard the ship. This goes double for a bell that rings without a striker inside of it, as this may be taken as confirmation that the bell was rung by the hand of a spirit.
  • Lies scrap ships, or so the old saying goes. Telling lies to your shipmates is said to curse a voyage, and the more immediate the lie the worse the damage it can do. This has led to several ships hosting so-called "honesty dinners," where shipmates sling roast-style insults as well as genuine, heartfelt praise at one another. This tradition brings a crew together, but it also reinforces the idea that one should not be punished for speaking their mind, or conveying facts. This carries through in times of crisis or emergency, ensuring that the crew is more concerned with solving problems than they are with assigning blame, or lying about what's happening to cover their own culpability.
  • Whatever you do, never insult your ship. Whether it's referring to your ship as a tub, a bucket, a pig or any of a thousand other pejoratives, it brings nothing but ill luck to your voyage. Spacers who let an insult slip (particularly in a time of stress or danger) will often do some kind of preventative maintenance, or add in a little extra polish, as a way to apologize to their vessel. Those who aren't members of the crew who would dare insult a ship they're on, however, might find the crew quickly turns aggressive toward them, making this a habit that's branched out beyond spacers themselves.
  • Knot charms are an old spacer tradition, and they come in a wide variety of shapes, sizes and styles. While old-fashioned ropes aren't used as often in these days of mag locks and hard light fasteners, these woven charms are still hung in the galley, off spacers' berths and even worn round spacers' wrists in complex patterns so the wearer always has high-strength paracord on-hand in a very literal sense. Mostly made as a way to kill time in the long hours of transit, spacers often give these charms as gifts, or as tokens to commemorate particular voyages.
  • Spiders are considered crew mates by a surprising number of spacers. While no one likes to be surprised by an unexpected arachnid, it's considered a bad omen to kill a spider while one is on a voyage. As the spiders traverse their webs, so too does a vessel weave through the stars. Additionally, spiders kill and eat any other unwanted insects, keeping a ship's interior neat and tidy. Spiders shouldn't be deliberately brought onboard a ship, however; only stowaways are considered truly lucky.

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File Last Updated:
September 14, 2022
This title was added to our catalog on September 17, 2022.